This is where I will be posting photos as I learn to take photographs that I like. Most will be taken while I wander outside on our 40 acres just outside Skiatook, OK. I expect to post many photos of dogs, cats, chickens and horses, as well as insects and plants.

Background to My Life - Beautiful Horses - Elle & Blaze c. 2011

It has been just over one year since Hawken and I took a photography class from Doug Henderson to learn how to use my camera and capture the images our eyes could see. Thanks, Doug, for your enthusiastic guidance into a new (to us) and intriguing world of creativity! Doug’s website (posted by permission of Doug, himself) is and his blog can be found at Please visit and enjoy!

Elle - My Beautiful Morgan Horse (#5) 2010

I guess there is more I could tell about myself that someone might find either interesting or informative. I grew up with 4 siblings between Richfield Springs and Schuyler Lake, 2 small towns in New York State. We hiked and ran and rode our ponies up and down the hill behind our house, swam and canoed in Canadarago Lake, explored water life in the lake and in the pond and stream on our property, and grudgingly worked some in the garden. In season, we picked wild strawberries, blackberries, black & red raspberries, thimble berries, gooseberries and red currants as well as several varieties of apples from what must have been a small orchard sometime in our home’s past. Much of the time we heated with wood, either as a supplement to the furnace or as our main source of heat, so that meant we also went up into our woods with our father and his chainsaw, tractor, and wagon to gather the wood we would need each winter. Usually (always?), I rode a pony or horse up and down the hill and tied him or her nearby while I worked.

Erika & Kyle with Patches, Bonnie Jean with Thunder c.1973

In the background we always had a variety of domestic animals, cats, dogs, chickens, Muscovies, pigs, sheep, cattle, rabbits, even turkeys. Their care and their antics formed a huge part of our entertainment. To this day I enjoy watching and interacting with animals.

I Used to RIde - A Lot - Me on Jay, My First Morgan Horse c.1981

I spent time in Japan, many, many years ago. I still can understand and speak a very little Japanese – 日本語をまだすこしだけ分かります。息子といっしょに勉強しています。

At a Temple - One of the 88 Sacred Places in Shikoku c.1983

Also, we homeschool our children. My husband and I have 2 boys, one born in 1994 and the other born in 1999. I wish they were able to spend more time wandering our 40 acres, but they ride in to work with us daily and go about their schoolwork in the office with us. We don’t just take the boys to work with us, we also take 3 dogs. Buttercup, a 7-year-old (in 2011) Dutch Shepherd, is Bridger’s dog. Zookie, a 2-year-old Great Pyrador, is Mike’s dog. And Missis is a 17-year-old Dalmatian. We got her when Hawken was about 3 years old and she was about 2 years old. When we get to work, we are greeted noisily by Maximus, the shop cat, who apparently misses us when we are gone. While we do have horses and ponies, they are really mine and have not become as essential a part of my family’s life as I might have expected. This is partly my fault, as they are really not trained and I have neglected that training, and partly due to the inclinations of my children. Let me just state for the record that an untrained horse or pony was no deterrent to me riding it when I was a child!

Patches (Yes, My Patches) with Hawken & Mike c.1997

18 comments on “Background

  1. Lisa W says:

    I’m excited to see all your photos! What camera/lens are you using for most of the pics?


    • Kyle says:

      Lisa, thanks :o) I am using a Canon Rebel XS with a kit lens, an 18-55mm zoom lens. Most of the time it all works just fine, but sometimes I want a wider angle lens. More often I want a longer zoom or a macro. A faster lens would be nice because I end up shooting in low light conditions fairly frequently. -Kyle


  2. Hello,

    Being photographers we think this is a great idea. Keep on working.

    We also thank you for your interest in our straw bale hotel.

    We wish you a happy 2012 and success with your blog.

    Greetings from Switzerland



  3. reesephoto says:

    Thanks for visiting my site and keep snapping.


  4. Bonnie Chapman-Van Alstine says:

    I so enjoyed reading your blog. You are truly a talented young women and it was such a pleasure to have shared in your “growing up years!” We had such a grand time with the horses. I remember riding over the mountain to what I remember was the Burdt Farm. I remember it being some sort of mountain motel. I had so much fun doing that ride. I remember swimming in the lake at your house with you and your sisters. Lass tearing my skirt as I rode my bike down your driveway and I wasn’t supposed to be at your house! I definitely got in trouble for that! But I remember some of the best times of my life, sharing it with you. Thanks to continue to share your life with me, even though it is from afar, you make me feel like I’m right there with some of the beautiful photos that you take. Keep up this great talent girlfriend!


  5. Kyle says:

    Thank you so much, Bonnie! I wish we had some photos of us from then, you on Molly, me on Sir Royal (at first)… Remember Sir Royal ducking under Molly’s head and knocking me half off? Was it your bike or one of your brothers’ bikes that I rode on the handlebars on Marble Road? That was way scarier than racing my Shetland against your mare. What was she? I loved to “ride over to Bonnie’s house,” as often as I was allowed. 🙂


    • Bonnie Chapman-Van Alstine says:

      I had a photo of you on Sir Royal, Teresa on Cherakee and Myself on Molly at the farm. I’m not sure what happened to the photo though. If I ever find it, I will post it for you. But the times back then, were carefree and fun, to say the least!


  6. The Pal Guy says:

    Your blog looks great. I will be back to see what photos you have taken. Cheers


  7. fairasta says:

    You take lovely photos! 🙂
    I’m studying japanese but I’m not that fluent, or good at reading the hiragana-kanji-katakana system yet xD I wish I could have lived on a farm the year I was homeschooled :3 looking forward to more of your photography!


    • Kyle says:

      Thank you, Silvia. I enjoy taking photos 🙂
      Which grade were you home for school? Did you enjoy it? I would think it would be disconcerting to be out of school for just one year and then suddenly back in school. My kids like continuity, and prefer to stay home. Every year I ask them if they want to go to school, but the answer has been no. Well, my 18 year old is headed off to college this fall! So he will be in school in a big way 🙂
      Glad you dropped in and please come again,


      • fairasta says:

        Haha xd
        I was homeschooled for grade eight. During that year we went to Italy for three months – my parents had me homeschooled mostly for that reason. It was a great trip!
        Homeschooled to college is a big step! :O


      • Kyle says:

        What a great experience, to go to Italy with your family! Do you have siblings who also went?

        One reason my son chose to apply to smaller colleges is that he wanted to have less of an adjustment. From a class of 1 to a class of 20-30 should still be manageable :o)


  8. I just love your blog (and banner!) I’m looking forward to seeing all of your photos you share! 🙂


    • Kyle says:

      Thank you 🙂 Did you notice that my banners rotate through different photos? I spent a lot of time making them, entertaining myself to no end, and I wasn’t sure if anyone else would notice.


      • I did notice that they rotate with different photos! I was very impressed. I wish I could do that with mine. I can imagine how much time that took. The font goes so well with your blog name “Back Forty”.


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