Photographer Chuck Haney knows many of the best spots to capture a landscape picture. But sometimes his best work comes from wandering the back roads without much of a plan.
While he was traversing eastern Montana working on one of his latest projects he had a few days that capsulized this. While driving in the middle of nowhere, he came across a church when a thunderstorm passed through with lightning creating just the right scene. He spent the night camped in a baseball field in the town of Medicine Lake and the next morning captured a photo of geese flying by as the moon was setting.
“I had no idea where I’d end up,” Haney said. “I captured all these great shots.”
Later he ended up at the Fort Peck Reservoir in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. There he took photos at twilight with a fishing boat on the lake and the next morning the entire sky turned red at sunrise providing the opportunity to capture even more shots.
“I felt so free and inspired,” he said. “This is why I’m a photographer. It was refreshing. I love wandering around and finding so many places where you find something new.”
Haney is a professional freelance photographer and writer based in Whitefish. He travels extensively taking photographs for numerous publication and has published several books.
Haney released two books this year with publisher Farcountry Press — “Flathead: A Photographic Journey” and “Montana Moments.”
The Flathead book uses some of the photos Haney has taken over the years, but also photos that he shot specifically for the book.
“It includes landscapes, cityscape and lifestyle,” he said. “It’s people doing things.”
The Montana book features work only by Haney. He notes that he has been involved in Montana books before along with other photographers but this is the first time in 20 years that his work has appeared solo in such a book.
“I shoot in all places that might not otherwise get photographed,” he said. “I was all over the state from one corner to the other.”
Haney will present a photography show of his work on Friday, Dec. 21 to benefit the North Valley Food Bank.
Featured in the show is photos from a trip to Ireland, photos exploring the beauty of eastern Montana and a feature on his local models though photos.
Haney travels to eastern Montana at least once per year and has spent significant time in the badlands, and while the photos are taken in the Treasure State he says they are often fresh scenes. He also wanted to include the models he’s worked with over the years as a “thank you.”
“People that live here don’t actually get to out to see that,” he said. “I’ve used hundreds of people as models — all local people. I think they’ll dig seeing themselves on the screen. It includes anybody who is an outdoorsy person.”
Haney’s Winter Solstice Celebration show is Friday, Dec. 21 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center downtown. The show is a benefit for the North Valley Food Bank and admission is by donation of food or purchase of a raffle ticket.
Haney’s new book “Flathead Impressions” will be available and he will do a book signing following the show.
To view more of Haney’s work, visit his website at www.chuckhaney.com.