A Chance Encounter on a Rainy Day in May

Chuck Drummond – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400

I just learned that Chuck Drummond passed away this last Friday at 79-years-old. I met him once, and he was very kind. My deepest sympathies go out to the Drummond family, who I’m sure are still mourning.

This last summer my family and I embarked on an epic roadtrip that took us through Oklahoma. Pawhuska was a little out of the way, but we made sure to detour through it so that we could visit The Mercantile, the restaurant/coffee shop/bakery/gift store owned by Ree Drummond, who is also known as The Pioneer Woman.

For those unfamiliar, Ree Drummond became famous for her cooking blog, where she shared recipes used to feed her family and the hungry ranchmen, which turned into books, television shows, product lines, and The Mercantile, among other things. She lives on a large ranch in rural Oklahoma. Pawhuska was barely on the map before Ree became famous—now it’s still barely on the map, although it certainly has seen a significant resurgence, and it can become quite busy with tourists. Yes, for The Pioneer Woman fans, Pawhuska is a destination.

I’ve written about Pawhuska before, and I don’t want to rehash that; instead, I want to share a serendipitous encounter while in the small town, which I’ll remember for some time to come.

We awoke to steel grey sky and light rain. After getting ourselves put together, my family and I strolled around the small town of Pawhuska, which was almost deserted—the weather seemed to scare people off, or at least keep them indoors. We explored the streets, and I captured photographs with my Fujifilm X100V using the Kodak Tri-X 400 Film Simulation Recipe—black and white seemed especially appropriate for the weather. Eventually we made our way inside The Mercantile for breakfast, something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives—to say that it’s good is as big of an understatement as saying the Grand Canyon is big; both are true, but neither truly describe it.

Mercantile – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”

While waiting for our food, an old man wearing a cowboy hat walked in by himself. He appeared weathered and worn, but in good spirits, with a smile on his face. My wife stated in a whisper just loud enough for our children to hear, “Look, there’s a real cowboy.” A true ranchman. An iconic stature of the American west. He sat at a small table near ours.

My wife knew right away who he was. This was Chuck. Ladd’s dad. Ree’s father-in-law. When the waitress came by, my wife asked if it would be alright to say hi to him. “Oh, sure,” she answered with a wink, “he loves the attention.” So my wife stood up, walked to his table, and introduced herself.

Chuck grinned, and he, too, stood up. He shook my wife’s hand, then he shook mine. He noticed my little girl’s cowboy boots, and made a comment to her about how nice they were and that he liked them. The waitress asked if she could take our picture, so with my wife’s phone she snapped one with Chuck, myself and my wife standing together. It was all very quick. Then we sat back down. Our food came, and we ate. His food came, and he ate alone, although other people also recognized him and he would pause to shake their hands and maybe take a picture. Chuck was a celebrity of sorts.

Our encounter was brief, but memorable. His kindness was obvious. His cheerfulness contagious. We met a genuine cowboy in rural Oklahoma. Just now I showed my daughter the picture I captured of Chuck Drummond (at the top of this article), and asked if she remembered him. “Oh, yeah,” she stated without hesitation, “that man said he liked my boots.” We’ll forever remember this chance encounter on a rainy day in May.

I’d yet to share any of these pictures, which were all captured on that drizzly morning in Pawhuska. I hope that you enjoy them!

Open All Year – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Zoltar & Aliens – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Empty Cup of Tea – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Smoking Area – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Do Not Lock – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Gas Pipes – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Rooftop Access – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Now Open Windows – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Reserved for Ree – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Raindrop Windshield – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Tree & Wet Seats – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Empty Crosswalk – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Mercantile Parking – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Charlie’s – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Inside Looking Out – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
5¢ Biscuit Co – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Love Mugs – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Coffee – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Super Easy – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Mercantile Shoppers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Jo & Charlie – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Ranch Truck – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Power Wagon – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Bull – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Dog & Table – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Chair & White Table – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Couch by Windows – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
MMM MMM MMM – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Yum! – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Yum, Too! – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Jitter Juice – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”
Breakfast – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Tri-X 400”

Film Simulation Challenge –Roll 4: Classic Negative (with Ree Drummond)

Back in August I introduced the Film Simulation Challenge, which is where you pick one film simulation recipe and shoot either 24 or 36 frames before changing settings. It’s kind of like loading your camera with a roll of film, and you are stuck with whatever film you loaded until that roll is completely exposed. This challenge is the digital equivalent of that analog issue. I thought it would be a fun experiment to encourage photographic vision while sharing the joy of Fujifilm X cameras.

The “film” that I loaded into my Fujifilm X-T30 was a 36 exposure “roll” of my new “Classic Negative” film simulation recipe. This recipe is the closest that I could come to matching the new film simulation of the same name that’s on the X-Pro3, but I have to admit, it’s not a complete match. The Classic Negative film simulation changes depending on the light and how you expose it, which is different than the other film simulations. I don’t think it’s possible to create an exact match, but hopefully my “Classic Negative” recipe is at least in the general ballpark. Or, if it isn’t, I hope that some of you appreciate it nonetheless.

My wife, Amanda, is a big fan of Ree Drummond (also known as The Pioneer Woman). She’s a famous blogger, author and television personality best known for her cooking recipes. She has a store, restaurant and bakery in Oklahoma, which my wife and I visited two summers ago. Ree has a new cookbook, and she’s been traveling the country doing book signings. Amanda insisted that we go so that we could meet her, and so we did! We stood in line for almost an hour in order to have a thirty second conversation with her. It was a very quick meet-and-greet that seemed like it was over before it even began. What you might not know is that Ree’s a pretty good photographer, and I was able to suggest that she create a photojournal book of her ranch that features her black-and-white photographs. She replied that she needs to get the pictures off her SD Card first.

I made 36 exposures using my “Classic Negative” film simulation, and most were of this event, especially while waiting in line. The lighting inside the bookstore was terrible, with some crazy mixed artificial lights, and this recipe wasn’t a good choice for it. I did reprocess in-camera the RAW image of Ree Drummond, and I’ve included that at the bottom of this article. I used a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens for these pictures. I hope that you enjoy!


Frame 1: Pink Sleeve – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 2: Sunset 218 – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 3: Changing Nature – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 5: Sweetaly Gelato – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 7: King of Books – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 8: Waiting For The Bus – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 9: 15th Street – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 15: Brick Chimney – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 18: A Roof – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 19: Waiting In The Waning Sun – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 22: Rick – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 24: No Trucks – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 26: Salt Lake Neighborhood – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 28: Ree Drummond – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 30: Open – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 31: Happy Amanda – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 32: Bank On It – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”


Frame 33: Brews – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Classic Negative”

Reprocess of frame 28:


Ree Drummond – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – PRO Neg. Hi

See also:
Roll 1: Kodachrome 64
Roll 2: Kodacolor
Roll 3: Eterna

Visiting Ree Drummond’s Mercantile & Ranch in Pawhuska, OK


Drummond Ranch – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2

This last summer my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Ree Drummond’s mercantile store and ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Ree Drummond, who is also known as The Pioneer Woman, is a famous television host, cook, author and blogger. She’s practically a household name! Her home, which just happens to be one of the largest ranches in America, is just outside of Pawhuska, which is where you’ll find her restaurant and store.

Pawhuska is a quintessential rural country town in northern Oklahoma. It once boomed, but an oil bust, the Great Depression and Dust Bowl left lasting scars on this small town. Less than 5,000 people call Pawhuska home, but it does have one famous resident that has breathed new life into the area, and it has become a mecca of sorts, a tourist destination for fans of The Pioneer Woman. People travel from all over the county, even the world, to visit The Mercantile.

You might be wondering right now what any of this has to do with photography, as Fuji X Weekly is a photography blog, other than I captured some photographs of this place while visiting. Well, a lesser known fact about Ree Drummond is that she’s a pretty good photographer. She’s captured some amazing photographs of Oklahoma ranch life. In fact, her store and ranch are decorated with her pictures. You’ll find some of her photographs in her different books. I know that she’ll never read this article, but if by chance she ever does, I would strongly urge her to publish a photoessay book showing life on her ranch, which might include 40-50 of her best black-and-white photographs. The art world has yet to recognize Ree’s pictures, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a talented artist or that she shouldn’t share her pictures with the world. I do believe someday her prints will find their way into an exhibition somewhere, and she’ll receive recognition for what she’s done with a camera.


The Merc – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2

We visited The Mercantile, which is an old brick building in downtown Pawhuska, in the afternoon, browsing the store that’s packed with unique items. Some of these things feature Ree’s designs, while other things fit her style but aren’t designed by her. It’s a fun store to walk through, and my wife found many things that she wanted to purchase. After that we went upstairs to the coffee shop, which includes a great space for sipping hot drinks and eating tasty pastries and just relaxing. The Mercantile was busy, but it didn’t feel overcrowded, and we took our time soaking up the experience.

The Drummond family opens up The Lodge for tours from time-to-time, and it just so happens that it was open for tours while we were there. The Lodge is located on their ranch several miles outside of town and down some dirt roads. This is where the cooking show is filmed, and it serves as a guesthouse for visitors. It’s a beautifully restored and decorated ranch house. Visiting it was an intimate experience, as it felt like stepping into their home, even though this isn’t their main house. My wife pretended to host the show, and we got a good laugh out of that. We were able to pet a few of their dogs, which are seen in the show and books and were just hanging around the building. We even saw some of their horses, and my 10-year-old daughter, who loves horses, got to pat one on the nose. It was a good time and well worth the dusty drive to get there and back.

That night we returned to The Mercantile for dinner in the restaurant. The food was every bit as delicious as we imagined and then some! The atmosphere was just as enjoyable as the food. It was one of the best meals we had on our road trip. Ree’s restaurant really was ridiculously good!


Kitchen Window – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2

We spent the night in Pawhuska. We awoke the next morning to rain, but that didn’t stop us from returning to The Mercantile in the morning for breakfast. As delicious as dinner was the night before, breakfast was even better! I can understand why Ree is a popular television cook, as her recipes are incredibly tasty.

Before coming to Pawhuska we had read on the internet that The Mercantile and restaurant can be extremely crowded with long lines, and that sometimes you have to wait for hours. We didn’t experience any of that, but as we were leaving town we did notice that the line for the restaurant was becoming quite long. I would suspect on weekends or busy travel days, during peak hours, that it can get extraordinarily crowded. My recommendation would be to come during the middle of the week and be there either early near when they first open or late just a little while before closing and you’ll miss the gobs of people.

The Pioneer Woman experience was a highlight of our summer vacation. It felt like we were invited guests and not strangers. We ate delicious food. We toured their guesthouse. We purchased some merchandise. We didn’t want to leave, but it was time to go. We took with us some good memories. Oh, and I captured the photographs you see here.



Pioneer Woman Table – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Singing Cowboys – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Headless Three – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Chair Shadow – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Backwards Gear – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Window Seat – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Blackberry Lemonade – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Berry Creme Brulee – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Devil’s Food – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Drummond Ranch Horse – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Mercantile Treats – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


The Lodge Porch – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Kitchen Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Chairs By The Window – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Ranch View – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Cowboy Boots – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


The Lodge Kitchen – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Dog & Cow – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Drummond Ranch Vista – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Foal Shy – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Country Horses – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2



Mercantile – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F


Cafe Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F


Wet Tables – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F


Bakery – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Light Fixture – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F


The Pioneer Woman Store Corner – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Pat – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Cup of Joe – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F


Rural Cows – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Two Horses In The Grass – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Horse Gate – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Horse & Hand – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Drummond Ranch Overlook – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Drummond Ranch View – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2


Walter – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2