In addition to ranching full time, Skye Clark runs a successful photography business and fitness business. In the mountains of Wyoming you’ll find her running about 400 mamma cows alongside her dad. During the summer time she rides a cattle allotment on the national forest and takes care of about 600 head of pairs in addition to haying, fencing, irrigating and all that comes with summer ranch work. Fall is full of sorting, shipping, pregging and your typical fall work for Skye. In the winter, you’ll find her feeding cattle with a team of horses and start colts. Spring time for Skye brings calving, branding, fencing, etc. This is when she takes most of her pictures, her daily life or of the neighbors if she has the chance to can get away for a day. No doubt Skye is a Western Woman all around.
Skye’s photography goal is to show what it looks and feels like to be on a working ranch. Clark says, “I see things differently than most- or at least I’m told. I only shoot real and in the moment. No posing, no set ups. My goal is to document the real and raw. I want you to see what we see in our everyday life. To capture the “not cool” moments along with the ones that make the magazine covers. I have a deep love and appreciation for the real ranching and western way of life and I want that to show in my images.” View Skye’s work here.
WesternWomen.com sat down with Skye to ask her a couple of questions.
How did you first get involved with the Western Lifestyle?
Skye: I was born into it. I grew up on a small place. We always had cattle and horses. My parents were also outfitters, so hunting, packing and being around several hundred head of horses was our daily life.
What is your favorite part about the Western Lifestyle?
Skye: EVERYTHING! I love the outdoors and animals, so its perfect for me. I love bringing a newborn calf in out of a blizzard then seeing it wean as one of your best calves in the fall. I love the smell of a sweaty saddle blanket when you get done for the day. I love the friends and neighbors all coming together at branding time. I love the sound of the teams hooves on the snow and the jingle of the tug chains when feeding. I love the way the light hits the mountains in the fall and crisp air. I love riding a good horse in rough country and seeing bear, deer and all wildlife. I love the smell of a fresh cut hay field. I love it all!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Skye: Do the work most aren’t willing to do and create the life you want. Work for everything you have and want. Most of all, always treat people with kindness.
What do you count as your greatest achievement?
Skye: Hmm, well I don’t feel I’ve achieved anything great. I am 100% independent and self sufficient and have built a life I love. I made a lot of sacrifices early in life so that I could be debt free and live life how I want to now. I’ve had 6-7 of my images used on magazine covers, and countless featured in multiple magazines. I don’t think those are achievements really. So I guess just living my life how I want, on my terms. I’ve been self employed my entire life, and I plan to stay that way. No time clocks, no schedule. No being trapped inside. I guess that is my greatest achievement.
What advice or words of encouragement would you give to other Western Women?
Skye: Don’t be afraid to be you. Be willing to work as hard as the guys, but remember to be a woman at the same time. Don’t expect anything from anyone. Work hard for what you want and just enjoy this short life we have. Mind your own business and don’t gossip.
What do you never travel without?
Skye: My phone. And no, I’m not glued to it 24/7, but I primarily pack it to take pictures. I’m outside working and horseback most of the time, and it’s just not feasible to pack my big camera. The majority of my images are taken with my iPhone.
What do you do to unwind?
Skye: My daily life and work is so enjoyable to me I don’t really need to unwind. But I really enjoy sitting on my front porch in the evenings watching the sun go down and my dogs and whatever other wild pet I have at the time (currently its 3 raccoons) play. I love sitting around a campfire visiting or alone. I love jogging up the trail on an early morning in the dark and just moving with my horse and feeling him moving without seeing anything.