As an owner operator for Baxter Trucking, LeRoy Baxter transports honey bees throughout the West, from Montana and Wyoming to California and South Dakota. His routes take him through Big Sky country, past mountainous vistas and along the Pacific coastline.
Along the way, Baxter documents the scenic beauty he sees with his smartphone camera. For Baxter, who’s driven OTR for 22 years, taking pictures on the road has enhanced his CDL trucking job all the more. Here are some great shots he’s taken and what he has to say about his photography.
How did you learn photography?
Years ago, when I first started trucking over the road, I would take pictures, put them in a scrapbook and make notes on where the pictures were taken. For Christmas one year, my wife gave me a camera that took panoramic pictures. I got into it for a while but phased out of it because the pictures were expensive to develop.
I started getting into it again when I joined Facebook five years ago. People seemed to be interested in the photos I posted. I said, “If I’m posting pictures, I might as well be posting good pictures.” So I started practicing.
What do you look for when you’re shooting?
Lines. The simplicity of the lines inspires me. I strive to capture that in my photos. I like taking black and white pictures most of all. They bring out the crispness of the lines and the different tones of colors.
What do you love to shoot?
The Tetons and the Crazy Mountains of Montana. They’re so impressive. They never fail to give me a different look. The way the sun hits them, it’s never the same. As truck drivers, the landscape is one of the things we look at the most. It always fascinates me. I always want to know what’s on the other side of whatever I’m looking at.
How has photography enhanced your trucking job?
Photography has helped me experience my journeys out here even more. As drivers, we’ve looked at that same country a million times. But in taking pictures, I notice a lot more than I used to. It makes me look forward to the seasons. Each season offers something new and different.
Why do you take pictures?
I used to take them because I wanted to show people what I was doing. Then it snowballed into people enjoying what I show them. I get pleasure out of that. I want people to see the same beauty I’m looking at and experience the same happiness.
Do you learn anything from taking photos?
I probably take 300 or 400 pictures a week. Most of them aren’t very good, but every once in a while there’s one. From those, you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. It takes lots of practice. I experiment with light and times of day. Over time, I’ve gotten better.
All photos by LeRoy Baxter
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