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  • "I don’t think of myself as a hero. I just look for what I think needs to be done and go out there and do it. I’m like anyone else, I want to leave my kids with an opportunity and a vision, and to feel challenged every day to go out and make that happen.” • Duke III @ranchlands
  • Seasonal swings, arcing under tight backs and calloused hands, chords strummed and stacked, a quiet rhythm, cracked and crackling into the waning autumn light.
  • Woods and David. Throughout my time on the ranch the father son duo would appear periodically, little Woods offering me his hand and leading me out to the chutes to visit with the new calves or to aid in his search for chocolates that might have spilled out of @charles_post's pockets while he was playing dodgebull in the holding pen. Though our encounters were relatively brief and without a need for many words, Woods often reminded me of the finer qualities of ranching in the American West. An unwavering and continually deepening connection to family and to the land, to animals and to seasons, to life and to death; and perhaps most important, the curiosity and desire to see each more fully, constantly probing, examining, questioning and engaging. Grateful for the time spent learning from and witnessing the strength and collective evolving wisdom of this family, and hopeful that their mission to bring ranching into the 21st century through a land management style - which leans heavily on a stewardship ethos and holistic understanding of the land - will be successful beyond Woods and my wildest dreams. Here's to the future of @ranchlands and beyond #stewardsofthefuture
  • Jake and Deuce
  • "Our management style is unique because it's designed around family surviving economically, ecologically, working with nature, in harmony with nature. [...] The reality of it is that we have a huge opportunity to take care of the land by emulating the way bison used to graze, by taking organic material, making soil out of it, creating opportunities for young seedlings to propagate and grow, minimizing bare soil. Essentially doing all the things that bison and wildebeests, the great ungulate herds of the world used to do." • Duke III breaking down the idea of the working landscape, a cornerstone of the @ranchlands mission. At the heart of this idea lies the constant pursuit of balance between man and nature, the practical existence and applications of ranching coupled with an awareness that there are both harmful and restorative ways to work the land. Each day with Duke and his family is guided in part by their quest to better understand the complex interrelationships between the wild and the domestic, the traditions of ranching and the potential for stewardship and conservation on a large scale across the American West.
  • "I love what I do. I'm motivated each day by the forces outside my window. Living on a ranch and being responsible for the well-being of the animals, the wild animals, the domesticated animals, it's a real honor for me. When you love something and when you have an opportunity to teach that to people that you love, your family, your kids, there's nothing greater. Whether that's the names of the grasses, or that's how we harvest water into the ground and keep it from running on the surface of the ground, or that's why manure bugs are important, or talking about throwing a loop, or how to minimize stress on a an animal, whatever it is, it's something that's going to stay with them and it's going define who they become." • Duke Phillips III • father, rancher, poet, steward, cowboy and the visionary behind @ranchlands #mancrushtuesday #waitmancrushtuesdayisarealhashtag? #whateverdukesawesomeiadmirehimalotisallimsaying
  • Again the seasons stripped us bare. The dull teeth of winter's first wind come gnawing in the night. Bleached bones and the memory of summer faded, twisted branches of nostalgia grasping at what was always now.
  • Not necessarily "best friends" but definitely work buds #farmdoglyfe #rideordie #moderncowboy #dukeIVistheman @ranchlands @filson1897
  • "I turn my shoulder, tuck my head, and it rises against me like a wall. I remember again what I have always known. This land is where the wind is born" • the final line from one of Duke III's poems. a poem which has haunted my imagination, trotting circles around the ragged round pen that marks the outer edges of consciousness, speaking at last, the words unspoken • #renaissancerancher #stewardpoet @ranchlands @filson1897
  • In the heart of the American grasslands, under the shadow of the eastern slope of the Rockies, there has emerged a quiet and unlikely breed of stewards. Saddled and stoic, sweat stained and sun hardened, the men and women of @Ranchlands are seeking to redefine what it means to be ranchers • "Ranching is uniquely American. It wasn't imported across the sea like Easter or Christmas. It's the cornerstone of our culture. " Explains Duke Phillips III, his words measured and patient. "We are cattlemen, we are cowboys, we are ranchers - but if we're going to survive, we have to come to see ourselves as conservationists as well" •

Deeply grateful to the Phillips family and the @ranchlands crew for allowing us to chase them around with cameras for a few days this spring. I never cease to be amazed by the power of family and land to connect, ground and elevate our conceptions of what is possible. Rooted in the spirit of the American west, but nourished by a love of family and the natural landscape, the mission of ranchlands is simple, exciting and perhaps most importantly - as they are proving each day - it is both sustainable and attainable •

Thanks to legend @charles_post for bringing the vision to this shoot, to @max.lowe for season the creative pot extra tasty like, and to @rachel.pohl for impromptu yoga smiles and tasty surprises, and to @filson1897 for handing us the reigns on this one
  • Eye of the dragon
  • Snow and ice have moaned and groaned, shifted and settled and passed over stone; the wind she has has scoured and surely swept, far away any traces of the place where we slept; and still it creeps in my bones at night, the cold and the thrill of her harsh delights; count the stars I won't dare, but thank them i will, for each return I might make to those wilder hills.