Just got back from a camping and ranch vacation in Wyoming and had a blast. Did a ranch photoshoot and had to get up at 5:00 each morning to catch the sunrise on pounding herds of horses and wranglers–cowboys and cowgirls. Dramatic stuff. Did the same a sunset to catch that ‘golden light.’ In the towns we met old cowboys that looked like they just stepped out of True Grit. Handlebar mustaches, battered cowboy hats, and well worn shit-kickers.
Alone the way I was fascinated by the names of towns, canyons, cafes. Examples: Dirty Annie’s; Crazy Woman Canyon; Dead Man Creek; etc. I jot these kind of things down, as well as descriptions of the characters we meet, to use as fodder for writing. I could never make up some of these names or characters. People watching in a local cafe and drinking the local (strong!) coffee and chatting with the waitress is great material for dialogue and character description.