Happy Trails

Dave and Wiley

A couple of years ago I was along on a group ride through Colorado where we came upon the coolest outdoor gallery of chainsaw sculpture near Mancos. There was no one around to ask about the work but we did spend an hour or so walking through the place and admiring the creative genius of the artist. As we rode away but I had already decided that I would get back there as soon as it was feasible. We finished our trip a couple of days later and I broke away from the group to return to Cortez and Mancos to photograph the sculture as well as an abandoned auto wrecking yard I had spotted on the road out of Cortez.

When I returned I met the sculptor, Dave Sipe, and spent several hours with him as he showed me around his studio and shared stories of how he had come to Mancos several years earlier. I really loved his whimsical, tongue in cheek approach to his work and decided that I wanted a piece for my own art collection. I loved his buzzards, one of which is in this image, and originally that was what I planned to purchase but when he showed me the Wiley Coyote Happy Trails piece I knew that it was the one for me. I agreed to his price and asked that he allow me to take his photo with my purchase to which he happily agreed.

I really like to shoot portraits of people in their element and this image of Dave fits perfectly into that idea. I love the color and imagery that surrounds Dave and the fact that everything in the image is hand crafted by him. His expression captures the playfulness and enthusiasm for life that infuses every piece that he makes and speaks volumes about his zest for life.

I have returned a couple of more times to see Dave and to see what he is creating; the last time was three years ago when we were taking a motorcycle ride to see Mesa Verde. On that trip I did purchase one of his buzzard sculptures which watches over me as I type this post. I haven’t been able to get back through Mancos since then but I hope to return next year if everything goes as planned with my photography business.

I chose to use Topaz Adjust to process the image because I knew it would emphasize the colors in Dave’s work and lend an air of whimsy to the final portrait.

4 thoughts on “Happy Trails

  1. I hadn’t heard of Topaz Adjust until you mentioned it. Downloaded their trial version. Loving it so far. Might land up buying it. Learn’t something new from you so I decided to drop in and say Thank You 🙂

  2. If you haven’t done so already, try their newest product, photoFXlab. It ties together all of their plugin’s into one handy package. You can get more info and see the demo
    here—> http://www.topazlabs.com/photofxlab/ . Nice picture! I’m trying to talk my wife into letting me get a bike to drive and shoot- I can only imagine the excitement and fun that would be…. Tom

    1. Yes Tom, I already have photoFXlab.

      Have you ridden recently? If not the first thing I recommend is to find a MSF Motorcycle Safety Foundation certified beginner’s class and take it. I am a certified MSF RiderCoach and I cannot stress enough the need to take this course. No matter what your skill level is; you will learn more in the 3 days of training than you can even imagine. If you are a new rider or interested in getting a bike the course will help you decide if it is what you really want or not. Beginner courses furnish the bike for you to learn with, as well as the watchful eyes of the instructors who will spot your mistakes and teach you how to correct them. The added bonus will be that your wife will see that you are willing to learn safe riding skills before you purchase a bike and she may then be more comfortable with your decision.

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