Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

A Few Thoughts About Portfolios

Monday, August 24th, 2015

A sampling from David Dermer’s portfolio. Dermer is a one of my senior students at Kent State who loves to shoot football. I encourage him to keep two portfolios: one general and one sports. Photos by David Dermer

Years ago, a photographer friend asked me to look over his portfolio. There were 40 or so well-organized, correctly exposed images—a solid, professional portfolio. But nothing in the pictures took my breath away. There was no edge to the work, no risk taken. But one thing did stand out: His portfolio looked just like him—an authentic sample of his work, his style and even his person.

I have viewed hundreds of portfolios and am often asked what a good portfolio should look like. Ask 10 editors from varying backgrounds, and you will likely get 10 very different opinions.

Don’t despair. Here are several staples most editors agree upon:

• Be authentic. First and foremost, your portfolio should look like you. Have the courage to present a portfolio that is an honest representation of who you are, what you do or would like to do.

• Keep two portfolios. Keep one for your belly and one for your soul. The first is for editors who make decisions based on formulas, void of intuition or recognition of potential. The second—the “soul” portfolio—is the one you show to editors with vision. This “authentic me” portfolio should contain only images that show your unique view of the world.

• Show your best work. Include your most recent work. It’s OK to show work from the past, as long as most of your portfolio is from this century. Edit mercilessly. Have the courage to let go of all of those “almost” pictures you risked your life to shoot. Remember: You are only as good as your weakest picture.

• Know the publication. Every publication has its unique character and personality. Choose a publication that does the kind of work you would like to do.

• Be accurate. If you can’t spell, use spell check, or find an editor or friend you trust to review your work before submitting it.

• Be personal. A name is better than “Dear editor” or “To whom it may concern” when sending a portfolio.

• Don’t try to pad your resumé. Most editors are not easily impressed. Don’t attempt to impress them with titles or where you have been. They just want to see what you have produced.

• Presentation is important. Should you call or write? Should you email or send a personal letter? Should you submit an online or print portfolio? It depends. Do our homework. See if the person or publication you are sending to has published preferences or presentation guidelines.

• Maintain digital and print portfolios. For online portfolios, there are several free sites, such as, that are easy to build and navigate. Whatever the format, include current contact information and references.

• Focus on the core. Formats and delivery methods will continue to change, but the core of a compelling portfolio should not.

daveDavid LaBelle is an internationally known photographer, teacher, author and lecturer. He has worked for newspapers and magazines across the United States and taught at three universities. He grew up on a frog farm in rural California, roaming the creeks and hills with his coon dogs. Many of the lessons he learned during those magical boyhood years have been applied to photography and teaching the essence of this art form. For more information, visit

No Need to Go It Alone

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Any time you don’t have the expertise, experience or equipment, consider the services of a professional guide. But do your homework before selecting one. Check with friends, guide associations or rating services for recommendations. © iStock/Avid Creative, Inc.

You may be the greatest outdoorsman who ever lived.You can out-fish, out-hunt, out-hike and out-paddle any man or woman alive.

However, even the great ones might need the services of a professional guide some day. The key is knowing when to hire one. Generally, there are three circumstances when hiring a guide or outfitter may be better than going it alone:

• When you have never done the activity before.

• When you are going to an unfamiliar area.

• When you don’t have the specialized equipment necessary for the activity.

All guides are not created equal, so it is important to do your homework. Ask for recommendations from trusted family members and friends. For more options, visit guide associations online, such as the America Outdoors Association at

Talk to several guides before settling on one. Be prepared to ask lots of questions, including about costs, deposits, guarantees, what’s included and extras.

Cost should not be your only consideration. Safety is important, too. Make sure the guide has the required licenses or certifications. For example, operators of for-hire saltwater boats are required to have a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license.

Don’t pull any punches. Ask for references and follow through by calling them. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau.

Be clear with the guide about your expectations. Ask about the chances of success for the trip you are planning.

Whenever possible, talk to the actual guide who will accompany you. That way you can judge his or her expertise and determine if your personalities are compatible.

Be knowledgeable about the type of trip you are planning. Compare what you know with what a guide tells you. If you know more than the guide does, it probably is best to look elsewhere.

Feel the Bite
Everyone has missed hooksets because it was difficult to detect the bite. For better feel, hold your rod tip low and at a 45-degree angle to the left or right of your body. A lighter rod provides better feel as well, if you don’t mind spending the extra bucks.

Picture This
Project Noah is a resource to explore and document wildlife sightings throughout the world. It features photos of animals, insects and plant life discovered by people while enjoying the outdoors. For more information, visit

Got a Tip or a Whopper?
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and
tell us the story behind the photo. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether  shing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.


Have Books, Will Travel

Monday, August 24th, 2015



Bookmobiles are alive and well in rural America

Mary Ryan’s bookmobile route in Crook County, Oregon, takes her past an old Pony Express station—rumored to be riddled with bullet holes from a long-ago shootout—past an abandoned Grange Hall and the original Les Schwab tire store. Sometimes she rounds a corner and finds herself at the tail end of a cattle drive or stopped in the middle of the road to let the cattle pass.

When she does get to her stop—65 miles out at the farthest point—it’s a sure thing there will be people waiting for her books, movies or music.

“A fellow across the road from the Paulina Store, if he needs research, he’ll come ask us to do that,” says Mary. “We don’t have a printer, but we can at least read it and show it to him. Or we’ll print it out at the library and bring it back next time.”

In this era of downloadable books, tablets, smartphones and computerized everything, you might think this is a scene out of 1955 because bookmobiles are relics of the past. But you would be wrong.

Bookmobiles are as popular as ever—in some places even more so.

“Technology can make a wonderful difference,” says Patti Johnston, president of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. “But the trend is that people use bookmobiles very traditionally. The idea is really about bringing those books out to me.

“It becomes very much a social center. People come to hang out. You become close to them. They tell you what is happening in the family, who has gone away to school. They’ll walk in to give you their books and they’ll say, ‘Oh gosh, you’re the first person I’ve seen all day.’ That’s the connection. You can’t measure it.”

In Washington, there are 27 bookmobiles, with some libraries operating more than one. In Idaho, where at least five bookmobiles offer Internet service and one has 3D printing capabilities, the number of bookmobiles has risen from seven in 2006 to 12 in 2013.

“I drive two days a week,” says Lynn Hayes, who operates the Sandpoint Library bookmobile in east Bonner County, Idaho. “We’ve had our bookmobile since 2000, and I’ve been driving since 2002. We are pretty proud of it. People love it. They are starting all of a sudden to be a big thing. It is like a family out there.

“We’ve watched a lot of people through the years. Some of the people have gotten older. We go right up to their vehicles to them so they don’t have to get out. The people absolutely love it. They panic if they think we aren’t going to be able to come because of a snowstorm. They are grateful for us, and we are for them.”

Georgine Olson is the library outreach services manager for the 7,400-squaremile North Star Borough in Alaska.

“We started out with an old van with wheelchair lift and used the lift to load the books into the van,” Georgine says. “We went out to rural communities and wheeled our carts of books into mostly restaurants. We also started taking the service to some of the senior residences and subsidized housing, and wheel in our carts and set up house in their community rooms. That’s kind of the pattern we stuck with until about 2007, and that was when we got our first bookmobile. It was a local conversion. Some of the staff called it a converted beer truck. When it was time for the vehicle to be replaced, we went out and got a real bookmobile.”

The North Star Borough bookmobile holds as many as 1,000 items, which are refreshed on a monthly basis. In March, 135 people accessed the bookmobile.

Georgine visited 49 homebound people and delivered 1,115 items, including 200 specific requests.

“We’ve spent lots of time looking for potato chip chocolate chip cookie recipes when a group of seniors in a home remembered them and thought they might like to do it,” Georgine says, laughing. “Even when we had the modified beer truck, people would come on and talk to each other and catch up—who had puppies and who had kittens, which kids lost teeth, which kid was finally learning to do his times tables.

“Libraries are more and more seen as community centers, not just a place to get books or research material and study.”


Driver Mary Ryan never knows what she will encounter on her rounds through rural Crook County, Oregon. Her bookmobile is nicknamed Captain Crook.

In Central Oregon’s rural Crook County, the patrons Mary sees may live 30 miles from the nearest neighbor. At her stop in Post, the general store is the only business there. In Paulina, it’s just a church and community center.

“Everyone is very friendly,” she says. “Everyone waves when you go by. They’re always very glad to see you.”

Mary stocks the bookmobile with many of the same things you’d expect to find in a library, but she keeps half of the shelves stocked with books that don’t have to be returned.

“On that half, we have a book exchange,” she says. “In order to sign up for a library card, children need their parents’ signature. And since the parents are so far away, that can be difficult. We don’t want anyone to go away empty handed, so we swap out donations—fiction, nonfiction, picture books.

“Some ranchers mostly like the paperbacks. They are the ones who are a little nervous about getting back to the bookmobile. When the calves come, they don’t know what their schedule will be.”

While librarians see bookmobiles used in the traditional sense, there is also a move to change with the times, both inside and out.

Some libraries are adding bike-mobiles to their services. Dubbed in various places bibliocycles or book bikes, the tricycles or bicycles are custom designed to carry several shelves of books. These are generally found in more urban areas.

Other libraries are moving away from the large, full-scale bookmobiles of the past to smaller vehicles, such as transport vans, box trucks or small RVs.

“When they unload the books—known as lobby stops in the library world—they pull up to a spot, such as a community center or church, and bring the materials inside,” says Patti. “We’re getting away from calling them bookmobiles and are instead calling them mobile units or mobile services. In fact, right now there is a big schism. When someone says, ‘Do you have a bookmobile?’ they say, ‘No. But oh, we have a van that goes out.’ That’s what we would consider a bookmobile. We’re trying to broaden that out so when we say outreach services, bookmobiles are part of that. It’s a change in semantics.”

Regardless of the size or shape of the bookmobile, inside the technology is making life easier for librarians. For example, they no longer hand write everything, but can enter the information directly into a laptop on board.

“Now with cell phone use, we have My-Fi that travels with us, a Wi-Fi connection no matter where we are,” says Mary. “We can check out in real time. In Paulina, we’re not able to pick up the signal, so we’re able to buy a booster that works pretty good most of the time. If someone has a question, we can hook them up to the catalog. We don’t have to wait until we get back. We have a laptop that goes with us.”

But for all that technology has made life easier, some folks are perfectly happy with the old way.

“I hear so many people—even though they are computer savvy—they still love to pick up a book,” says Lynn. “I hear it so many times, especially your older folks, but even your younger ones. They’ll take out 20 books, come back the next week and take out 20 more.

“There is a lot of reading going on, and I am pleased with that. I just love to see the moms coming on and encouraging the kids to read.

From Teacher to Toymaker

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Retired teacher Louise Wackerle of Eatonville, Washington, has made toys for children for decades.

Growing up poor in the 1940s in the tiny, remote mountain town of Ashford, Washington, Louise Wackerle learned a hard but simple truth early on: If you needed something, you had to make it.

When their house was falling down, Louise, her mother and her stepfather built a new one from lumber her stepfather cut in the sawmill he owned. When her stepfather died, Louise and her mother finished the house by themselves.

The story was the same for the few toys Louise owned growing up—all made of wood by her mother’s hands.

“We didn’t have money to buy things, so if you needed something, you made it,” Louise says.

Eventually, toymaking became something Louise and her mother would do together. Even though her financial situation changed as she established a successful career as a middle school science teacher, Louise kept her woodworking hobby alive.

Throughout the years, she bought tools and taught herself to use them. Today, the 77-year-old makes wooden toys—cars, tractors, logging trucks, airplanes, puzzles, pull-along moveable animals and more—for children in Eatonville, Washington, each year.

Louise never had children of her own, but the small woodshop in her house is proof enough that she has plenty of children in her life. The floor is covered in a light coating of fine wood dust. Boards and pieces of wood are stacked neatly behind the door, and tools and half-finished projects are scattered about tabletops. The room is a testament to the hours of work she puts in to make children happy.

“God gave me a talent to do this stuff, and so you need to share if you can do that,” she says.

Cruising At 80

Monday, August 24th, 2015

At 80 years old, Bruce Seamons of Burley, Idaho, pictured here with an autographed basketball from the Idaho Youth Ranch, is the oldest working referee in Idaho.

From Seattle to southern Utah, strangers on a basketball court often greet referee Bruce Seamons by his first name. Startled, the Burley, Idaho, resident asks the usual question: “How do you even know me?”

“They tell me, ‘Everyone knows you, Bruce,’” he explains.

Having celebrated his 80th birthday last April, Bruce is the oldest referee in Idaho. He has officiated junior high and high school basketball and soccer games for decades.

“I’m refereeing the third generation of kids,” he says.

After completing his 32nd season of basketball and 15th year of soccer, Bruce estimates he has run more than 6,200 miles while officiating more than 2,500 games.

“I’ve loved basketball ever since I played in high school,” Bruce says. “Plus, it’s kept me in such good shape that I can still fit into the same size clothes I wore in high school.”

He referees soccer in fall and basketball in winter.

“This past season, I did 110 basketball games and 49 soccer games,” says Bruce, who travels to 29 schools in the district, from Castleford to Ketchum and Raft River to Glenns Ferry.

After the high school basketball season ends, Bruce refs the Idaho Prep and Amateur Athletic Union tournaments in spring and early summer.

“I’ve done AAU summer tournaments and camps from Seattle, across Idaho and down to southern Utah,” he says.

When the AAU season ends in June, Bruce has about seven weeks off in summer before the soccer season starts.

“I visit my brother in Montana, and we ride horses in the wilderness areas,” he says. “By August, I’m ready to start calling games again.”

Bruce became a certified referee through the Idaho High School Activities Association when he was 47.
After retiring at 65 from his job selling agricultural equipment, Bruce had more time for basketball. He sometimes worked six or more games a day. Bruce estimates he runs about 3 miles per game. He has learned to pad his feet.

“You make your feet fit the shoe by layering your socks in a certain way,” he says. “I always buy my shoes a half-size too big, then wear a spandex sock and a regular sock over that. My feet don’t get sore.”
One year, his Achilles tendon began to bother him.

“I realized that if I had a heel lift, it took the pressure off,” says Bruce. “A few times when other refs have told me their tendons were starting to ache, we found some cardboard and folded it in layers for a temporary homemade lift. Their heels felt better.”

Bruce has stayed fit without being fanatical about a dogged exercise regimen or diet or going to a gym.
“You can do a lot at home to maintain muscle tone,” he says. “When you’re watching TV, just sit in a chair, put your legs together straight out, lift them and hold for a few seconds. You can feel your core stomach and leg muscles tightening.”

Bruce relies on minimal exercise equipment: an exercise ball, a Pilates chair and a stationary bike.
“I’ll do either the bike or ball or chair about 10 to 15 minutes a day,” he says. “I just take one supplement that supports cellular regeneration.”

After decades of officiating, Bruce has become accustomed to angry fans disagreeing with his calls. At times, he has called a technical foul on rude coaches and ejected them from a game.
“One junior high coach I had to ‘T’ later apologized to me for his behavior,” he says. “You’d be surprised at what adults call you.”

His wife, Afton, refuses to go to games because of rude fans and disrespectful coaches.

“My last game was watching the College of Southern Idaho women’s team,” she says. “I couldn’t stand to hear fans yelling and criticizing him. Usually, it’s because they don’t understand the rules of the game.”
But appreciative fans outnumber the nasty ones.

“Fans have told me they know I treat all the players fairly when I call a game,” says Bruce, who passes a yearly skills test. “To me, a foul is a foul, and traveling is traveling for every player.”

Coaches often tease Bruce about his longevity.

“I feel great,” Bruce says. “I can see myself doing this at least another five years.

“They sometimes tell me, ‘Bruce, one day we’ll carry you off the court in a pine box.’ I just remind them in that case to not forget my whistle.”

Caution: Road Race Ahead

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Participants start near Ely and race 90 miles on a closed section of highway.

Participants start near Ely and race 90 miles on a closed section of highway.

Silver State Classic Challenge takes over a stretch of Nevada Highway 318 for a weekend of racing

A need for speed draws hundreds of drivers to the small town of Ely, Nevada, every September to participate in the Silver State Classic Challenge. This year’s race is September 17-20.

The first Silver State Classic Challenge was in 1988. It has since become an international draw and economic boost to the local economy, and it spawned a sister race on the same stretch of highway called The Nevada Open Road Challenge held each May.

“Both the Silver State Challenge and The Nevada Open Road Challenge have had an immeasurable impact on our community,” says Ed Spear of the Ely Tour and Recreation Board. “Currently, we are seeing a $1.4 million impact.”

The 90-mile open-road race is run on a closed section of Highway 318. Racers start at timed intervals to allow for a clear course.

Shutting down 90 miles of a state highway isn’t easy, especially for the first-ever legal open-road rally of its kind in the United States in half a century. In 1988, the president of the White Pine County Chamber of Commerce, Ferrel Hansen, and other organizers needed powerful support. They went to Robert Alan “Bob” Cashell, former lieutenant governor of Nevada, to ask for his help.

Armed with evidence of potential economic opportunities, organizers garnered Bob’s support and that of three additional counties, making history as they received approval from the state of Nevada to close the highway.

That first race drew 50 drivers.

As with any successful event, the open-road challenge grew in popularity. By 2000, the event was drawing more than 200 racers and attracting competitors from across the world.

Fast cars are on display at the Silver State Classic Challenge in Ely, Nevada.

Fast cars are on display at the Silver State Classic Challenge in Ely, Nevada.

The event attracts a mix of automobiles in part thanks to positive publicity in well-known publications, such as Motor Trend and Auto Week.

In 2001, the race was accepted into the Guinness World Book of Records for highest speed on a public highway and fastest road rally.

In 2012, during the event’s 25th year, driver Jim Peruto broke both Guinness World Records with an average speed of 217 mph and a finish time of 24:49 minutes driving a modified 2006 Dodge Charger. The fastest time recorded during the original race in 1988 was 162.58 mph by driver Jim Liautad Jr. in a 1988 Ferrari Testarossa.

As drivers converge on the small community, they make a big impact on the local economy. They patronize local hotels, restaurants and other businesses, and support local clubs and fundraisers.

“The drivers and their crew are among the most generous groups of tourists that come to our community,” says Ed.

The road race also has garnered the attention of many celebrities through the years, including John Schneider, Marsha Mason and Jim Caviezel, all of whom have participated.
Putting on such an event requires a substantial number of volunteers, but Ely is never short on helping hands.

“I think it’s because of the friendliness and camaraderie of the drivers that draws such an outpouring of volunteers,” says Wayne Cameron, White Pine County Chamber of Commerce. “The drivers treat everyone with such respect.”

Take the Slow Boat

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015


When exploring Western waterways, slo-mo may be the way to go.

The Outdoor Industry Association estimates 20 million Americans enjoy canoeing and kayaking. Participants are drawn to these activities for many reasons, but most appreciate the quiet, solitude, and the ability to discover and explore areas unreachable by other means.

Whether you are a first-timer or an old hand, here are five tips to ensure your paddling experience is a safe one:

Do your homework. Get a map of the area. Study the water route, and identify possible hazards and takeout points. Just before leaving, check current weather and water conditions.

Go prepared. At the very least, you should take along life vests, a first-aid kit, an extra paddle, sunscreen, bug repellent, a cell phone, a map and drinking water. The American Canoe Association offers a great guide (click to view) to help you find the perfect life vest for your adventure.

Leave a travel plan. Make sure somebody back home has a detailed itinerary of your trip. Don’t forget to let them know when you return, so they don’t worry unnecessarily. Also, leave a copy of your float plan in your car.

Anticipate obstacles. Submerged objects and sweepers on corners are the most common hazards. Also, stay alert for motorized watercraft; turn into their wakes to avoid being swamped.

Know your limits. Waterways come in all shapes, sizes and technical difficulties. The upper portion of rivers tends to flow faster and have more potential dangers. Lower rivers are generally wider and slower flowing. Match your skill level to the waterway accordingly.

Presentation is a Key to Catching More Fish
Getting your bait where you want it is every bit as important as the bait or the lure itself. The better your presentation and accuracy, the more fish you will catch.
As with most endeavors, practice makes perfect. Start with overhand casts. Practice trying to hit targets, such as buckets, boxes or rings. Start with large targets, then try your hand with smaller ones.

Once you’ve mastered overhand, try sidearm and underhand. And don’t forget the flip and pitch techniques.

Outdoors 101: Keep Your Knife Healthy With DOCS
Dry—Water and metal don’t mix. The same goes for metal and sweat. Keep your knife dry to avoid rust.

Oiled—A little 3-in-1 oil or other lightweight oil goes a long way toward keeping your blade and moving parts in good working condition.

Clean—Moving parts also work better when they are clean.

Sharp—As most outdoor enthusiasts know, a sharp knife not only cuts better, but it’s also safer than a dull knife.

Fish Slime Clean-Up Tip
Disposable alcohol wipes are great for removing gunk and grime that inevitably accumulates on the handles of fishing rods and other gear.

What Day is It?
August is National Catfish Month
August 10, National S’mores Day
August 31, National Trail Mix Day

Show-and-Tell Time
Send us your favorite outdoor photo, tip or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the coast with his wife. He feels fortunate to have the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.

Negative Space for Positive Pictures

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
This picture of David’s father—dwarfed by the vast, wide-open land around him—is very much about a man and the space he desires, rather than the gun he is shooting near Conch, Arizona. Photo by David LaBelle

This picture of David’s father—dwarfed by the vast, wide-open land around him—is very much about a man and the space he desires, rather than the gun he is shooting near Conch, Arizona. Photo by David LaBelle

If you have ever spent time around artists, it’s likely you have heard the term “negative space.”
They are not talking about photographic film, which produces a negative that is used to make a positive print, nor the space between our ears we often fail to use.

Negative space is the area of a photograph that is not the main subject. It can be sky, water, a blank wall or even the space between subjects. It can be powerfully important to the overall feeling and success of an image.

Like a garnish of parsley on a dinner plate or soft background music during a romantic movie scene, negative space complements and leads us to the positive space we want viewers to see.

Just as a few seconds of well-timed silence can be an effective and powerful communication tool for emphasis in a radio broadcast, the use of negative space can create a deeper visual experience.

Recognized as a valuable and effective compositional element, negative space can lead our eyes through a composition, usually gently.

It is all about relationships: how elements are placed or organized in a frame in relationship to other elements.

Architects, engineers, graphic artists and interior decorators all use negative space. They understand that it can create a feeling, an experience.

Just as we don’t want to clutter every corner of a room, we need not clutter every corner of a photographic frame. The absence of visual clutter helps us gravitate to our primary subject and their relationship to the world around them. As abundant white space is often used to give life to a layout, negative space can bring energy, even implied motion to a photograph. It can give subjects room to travel or show where they have been.

Remember: space and tone create mood. Besides, where someone is in relationship to their environment is often more interesting or important than showing what they are actually doing.

Photographic composition is a lot like organizing our living space, our lives and even our relationships. It’s all about the decisions we make, how we choose to arrange the numerous elements—negative and positive—and the energy in a given space.

In a sense, deliberate photographic compositions are like microcosms of our lives, the choices we make, how we arrange our priorities. Sometimes our photographs are mirrors of our chaotic, over-scheduled lives, with not enough attention given to the need for negative space that helps us see the positive things that mean the most.

In a world growing increasingly more cluttered with noise—audio and visual—it is nice to have a little space, a little visual silence to dream. It gives us room to imagine.

daveDavid LaBelle is an internationally known photographer, teacher, author and lecturer. He has worked for newspapers and magazines across the United States and taught at three universities. He grew up on a frog farm in rural California, roaming the creeks and hills with his coon dogs. Many of the lessons he learned during those magical boyhood years have been applied to photography and teaching the essence of this art form. For more information, visit


New Life for a Family Relic

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Emmett Boden of Malta, Idaho, sits atop a 1954 Farmall tractor that he restored—with the help of family and neighbors—from a worn out, rusting hulk that used to sit idle on the family farm.

Emmett Boden of Malta, Idaho, sits atop a 1954 Farmall tractor that he restored—with the help of family and neighbors—from a worn out, rusting hulk that used to sit idle on the family farm.

Once a trusted workhorse, the 1954 McCormick Farmall tractor at Carl and Loralee Boden’s farm in southeastern Idaho had become an unused relic facing a bleak future.

Two winters ago, the Boden’s son Emmet intervened.

“Dad encouraged me to restore it for my senior project,” says Emmet, 20, who graduated in 2013.

Emmet kept a journal detailing the tractor’s restoration.

“When we started, it looked pretty rough,” says Emmet. “It took about 200 hours to restore it. We all worked together on it.”

After Emmet and his siblings came home from school and Carl got home from work, they headed to the shed, built a fire in a wood stove to stay warm and went to work on the tractor.

Emmet’s siblings stripped decades of grease from the tractor before it could be primed and painted.

Neighbors helped with mechanical expertise, because there wasn’t an owner’s manual for it.

“Some of the retired farmers around here knew all about the mechanics of this type of tractor,” says Carl.

To obtain parts, Carl scoured the Internet and went to a tractor salvage shop or improvised some parts.

Emmett’s brother Brodee put in new electrical wiring.

Emmett finished the tractor with a coat of red paint.

Carl laughs about the restoration costing more than the original tractor.

“The tractor cost about $1,800 new and $2,100 to restore, but it was all worth it,” he says.

With the tractor restored and shiny as a new penny, the Bodens almost hate to use it on their farm.

“We don’t want to see it get scratched up or dinged from working in the fields, but we’ve used it—carefully,” says Carl. “It’s a good tractor that will run for at least 20 years.”

Auto Enthusiasts Give Life to Museum

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
The Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum is host to a  variety of makes and models of classic cars, including this metallic purple 1938 Studebaker State Commander.

The Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum is host to a variety of makes and models of classic cars, including this metallic purple 1938 Studebaker State Commander.

Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum offers visitors a unique historic experience

The most simple way to define a museum, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a place where things are collected.” There are other, more in-depth definitions, but none includes words such as sound, feel or experience.

Hood River’s Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum believes in experiencing its collection and experiencing history.

WAAAM, as it is better known, offers visitors the opportunity to witness first-hand the sputter of an early 1900s Franklin Model D with its brass finishes, bright blue paint and carriage-style seats; the throaty bellow of a 1931 Model A with its spindly, spoked tires and the world famous rumble seat; or the elegant curves and sleek front end of a 1929 Packard Super 8 Phaeton.

Regardless of age, every car, truck, motorcycle and plane on the grounds—and the 2.5 acres of indoor hangar—is operable. WAAAM Director Judy Newman says one or two may need a little more care and work than others, but there is a reason each vehicle has a drip pan sitting below. These vehicles are not just shells of the cars they once were. They simply lay dormant, waiting for a volunteer to turn the key, push the ignition switch or turn the crank and let them loose on the nearby airfield.

“One of the great things about the Northwest is that there are about 42 major air museums that are scattered about, and counting, says employee Stephanie Hatch. “They’re always popping up all over the place. Each of us tells a little different part of the story. WAAAM does some of the early stuff and general aviation—the airplanes that taught America how to fly, and the cars that got us to the airport.”

There are Studebakers, Pontiacs, Dodge Brothers and everything in between—including a sleek, metallic purple 1938 Studebaker State Commander—that rest among neon signs and a 1950s-era backdrop in one hangar. The signs and lights in the many displays such as this one give viewers a better sense of the time when these classics roamed the streets.

“There’s a reason we’re called WAAAM,” says Stephanie. “When you walk in through that front door and you see even the first building in the collection, it kind of hits you just what is here. Once you finish scraping your jaw up off the floor, you decide, ‘I’m going to actually go and visit more.’”

Second Saturday Experience
WAAAM offers not just a glimpse into the lives of the more than 130 classics donated or on loan from patrons, but often the chance to actually take a ride down memory lane.

One aspect of the visitor experience WAAAM prides itself on is the idea that history comes alive in this living museum. Here, guests see classics come to life with a bang, sputter or roar as the engines finally wake. They can then enter the vehicles and feel what the ride was like so many years ago.

Christina Pomrenke and her children get a lift from WAAAM volunteer John Krecklow in a 1931 Ford Model A during the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum’s Second Saturday festivities.

Christina Pomrenke and her children get a lift from WAAAM volunteer John Krecklow in a 1931 Ford Model A during the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum’s Second Saturday festivities.

To truly get the WAAAM experience, guests are encouraged to visit on the second Saturday of the month. During summer, volunteers—and the lucky few guests who arrive early—begin moving selected cars outside for a spin. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Second Saturday festivities include changing selections of automobiles that are fueled up and taking visitors for a loop around the on-site airfield, guest speakers, tours and an inexpensive lunch in one of the hangars.

“We like to pick a couple different things, usually a Model T and a Model A and then some extras,” Stephanie says of the Second Saturday activities. “People really like that they get to ride in the cars. That’s a big thing. It draws a lot of folks in. We always like to say any day is a good day to visit, but there’s a special lure to being able to ride in a car and see an airplane take off.”

While many visitors enjoy the sites and sounds of the planes in flight and the engines roaring, others may want a somewhat quieter experience.

The museum offers a children’s learning and play area. Here, little ones can sit in a small helicopter and play with the controls and headsets. They can enter a miniature submarine and look out the portholes, or they can play with the toy cars, trucks and planes on a large wooden play table.

Afterward, the family can head to one of the hangars that becomes the dining facility for the day. When the hangar door is open, everyone can watch the cars cruise by, or look skyward and see the pilots flying their planes.

WAAAM’s Volunteers
The staff on hand during such popular events is primarily volunteers. The museum does have three paid employees, but volunteers handle much of the work.

“A nonprofit with not many employees, we couldn’t do it without the volunteers,” Stephanie says.

About her own job, Stephanie says, “I could be doing just about anything most days. There’s not really a job description other than, ‘Yes, I can do it.’”

That attitude is what helps keep the museum popular with guests and volunteers alike. In fact, just being at the museum and getting to chauffer guests on Second Saturdays is enough to bring in some volunteers.

“My favorite part of working here is playing with all the old cars,” says John Krecklow, one of WAAAM’s many volunteers. “My paycheck is playing with these old toys!”

Volunteers maintain the vehicles, offer guided tours, staff the lunch area during special events and provide the occasional anecdote to curious visitors. There is one volunteer whose job is to ensure all the vehicles’ tires are properly inflated The task sometimes takes up to four hours.

With so many vehicles on hand, there rarely is nothing to do.

“There’s never a shortage of things to do here,” Stephanie says. “If you think about it, anybody who has a fleet of anything, it takes work. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. We like to keep it alive; to keep it moving. We get it done, and we keep it going.”

Something for Everyone
Judy says the favorites seem to depend on when guests began to drive. Those who were around the early 1920s and 1930s-style cars tend to gravitate toward them. Younger crowds, however, tend to want to see the muscle cars.

Stephanie believes the variety of vehicles is part of the draw of WAAAM.

“A lot of people appreciate the scope and diversity of the collection,” she says.

The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Second Saturday activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For information about the museum or volunteer opportunities, stop by 1600 Air Museum Rd., Hood River, look online at or call (541) 308-1600.