Boomtown, USA

Boomtown, USA

I’ve been slowly but surely piecing together all my favorite photos from Williston under the title Boomtown, USA.

The title also happens to be the new tagline the city adopted, which is an interesting decision on many levels.

This new batch of photos comes from a night on a rig with Raven Drilling, which is based out of Watford City. The shoot was a while back for our Talkin’ the Bakken magazine that just came out last week, hence the delay in finally posting some shots.

Earlier in the week Andrew Burton of Getty Images dropped in the office and found Raven earlier and passed along the contact. They let me on as well and turns out he came back for another round the same night.

It was a good experience because I love shooting with other awesomely talented photographers.

Raven’s manager also had one of the great lines I’ve ever gotten when I called him a few days after Andrew’s visit.

As I’ve mentioned before, rigs are tough to get on in the Williston Basin. So when I called he said, “Man, you guys are like homeless people—one of you get a free meal and the rest come along.”


While there I had a ton of fun with the crew. These oilfield guys are really great and love having fun. It’s not as an exciting of a job as it might look. They change bits on the drill every hour or more once a certain depth is reached.

Otherwise they’re off doing other odd jobs for long shifts. The Raven crew we were with was on their last day before a long break of a couple weeks, so it was nice to learn about where they’re from and what they were looking forward to the most.

It also loosened them up even more.


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