“Big Sky Country”, “The Treasure State”, “Land of the Shining Mountains”, and “The Last Best Place”. Its Montana…. And it has no shortage of nicknames or mountains with sunsets behind them that touch every high and low of it’s handsomely laid landscape. It’s known as home to many, but to me it’s my “soul state”.
2016 was the year of many life changes and so much growth. I changed jobs multiple times in search of my favorite career, left my teens and turned 20, got into my first (and last) relationship, and went to Montana for the first time in my life to stay with people I had never met, not knowing they would become family.
***I also got my wisdom teeth out right before the trip and 100/10 DO NOT RECOMMEND. 🤣
Have you ever felt like you’re in a movie? Like music playing in the background, with a narrator and the whole shabang? That was how I felt as I spent a month riding and exploring and just taking in the Big Sky Country one day at a time. I had many firsts and amazing experiences: My lifelong friend Ben asked me to be his girlfriend right there in Montana, I got to experience Yellowstone for the first time, started falling even more in love with photography, learned more about Natural Horsemanship and field irrigation, and also learned, very easily, to love a little red-headed Arabian mare named Cinny. Cinny belonged and still belongs to my family out in Bozeman, MT, where I stayed that summer. I fondly called her Cinny-Buns and made her a cookie monster as we played polo cross, did cross country schooling and went on trail rides while that dramatic and dreamy movie music just continued to play on.❤
I visited Montana for the second time in 2020, and was able to visit my dear friends who became family, and also to photograph the Pryor Mountain Mustangs (that’s another blog post). But last month I was finally able to capture the way Montana has always made me FEEL. We put Cinny, Tink, Atlas and Flicka out in the big pasture and said GO, and the way they did go! Running, snorting, bucking and tossing their heads like wild mustangs under that big wide open sky gave me some of those same feelings all those years ago. Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic like everyone else when it comes to the land out West, but how could you not be?
Its hard to find all the right words to describe Montana and the way it makes my soul, oh so very full. But if you ever make the trip to see Big Sky, you might find that it’s your “soul state” too. ❤
©Olivia Danielle Photography, 2021
All Images are property of Olivia Danielle Photography