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Photographer, writer pair up to create 'Wyoming from the Air'

Feb 3, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The new book captures state scenery in hundreds of aerial photos.

After the successful sale of their "Wind River County" photo book several years ago, French photographer Claude Poulet and writer Bayard Fox of Dubois have expanded their scope.

Their newest publication, "Wyoming from the Air," covers more of the state, from Yellowstone National Park to the capitol in Cheyenne. Fox said the collection of aerial photographs depicts energy development and cityscapes as well as wildlife, livestock and several of the state's mountains, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

"(It shows) the conflict between the beautiful environment which we need for tourism, and the energy development we need ... to finance our state economy," Fox said.

He tried to incorporate lessons about Wyoming's history and culture when writing the text to accompany Poulet's photos. For example, a shot of the Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark in the Big Horn mountains is accompanied by a description of the stone design, which is thought to have been built 500-800 years ago by American Indians with some knowledge of astrology.

"The picture shows the area really well from the air, but you need some information," Fox said.

The Medicine Wheel image on page 102 is one of his favorite in the book, he added, because most other photos he has seen of the landmark were taken from the ground.

"You really can't take a picture ... that gives the feel of it except from the air," he said.

Fox also is a fan of the book's cover shot of wild horses running in the Antelope Hills near Jeffrey City.

"It's a good image for Wyoming," Poulet agreed. "That's why we chose this one (for the cover)."

The photographer said it was difficult to choose which of the hundreds of photos he took to include in the book. He spent about 120 hours over the course of two years flying from Dubois, Cheyenne and Gillette to capture the images.

"It's a very different view," he said of the aerial perspective.

In France, Poulet said, most regions of the country have developed their own aerial photo collections. He was surprised to learn that a similar tradition didn't exist in the American West, so he contacted Fox about making another book.

"We'd like to do all of the Western states," Poulet said. "Maybe next is Colorado, we're thinking about that. And maybe more. This should be the first of a series."

It was appropriate that he start in Wyoming: Poulet has been spending a lot of time in the area in recent years, and he said he has fallen in love with the country -- in particular the Dubois area. He pointed out that Fremont County still has prominence in "Wyoming from the Air," which includes chapters on the Wind River Range, the Oregon Trail, the Red Desert, the Wind River Indian Reservation, the Wind River and the Absaroka Mountains. Aerial images of Boysen Reservoir and the City of Riverton also appear elsewhere in the book.

Poulet's favorite photo covers pages 138 and 139 in the "Ranching and Farming" chapter. Poulet laughed as he pointed to the shadows cast by a herd of Hereford cattle.

"It seems you have two breeds of cow, Hereford and black Angus," he said.

Copies of the book are available in Riverton at Meadowlark Books, Rocky Mountain Discount Sports, Linton's Big R, the Wind River Casino and at Pit Stop locations. In Lander it's at Main Street Books, Shirts & More and the National Outdoor Leadership School, and stores in Dubois include the Wind River Gear Shop, Water Wheel Gifts & Books, Two Ocean Books and the Country Store. The book also is being distributed throughout Wyoming and outside of the state. It is not yet available online.

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