Behind the Lens

Part 2 of a 3-part series
By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, January 16, 2020
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Bud Chenault

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Erin Sweeney

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Cody Schlehuber

The News is fortunate to have a handful of great photographers who are willing to share their shots with us.

Recently, a reader called to say he would be interested in knowing a bit more about the people behind the names.

We loved the idea. This is the second of a 3-part series.

Featured this week are Bud Chenault, Erin Sweeney and Cody Schlehuber

BUD CHENAULT

It’s fitting that sports photographer Bud Chenault hails from Texas – specifically from Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, which was the subject of the book/movie/TV series “Friday Night Lights.”

Chenault moved to Dallas to escape the oil fields in lieu of an internship at Texas Instruments. That internship turned into a 43-year career. Wife Becky is from Billings and had moved to Houston with her family as a young child. When Becky’s father retired in 1979, he bought a house in Nye and the Chenaults began visiting each summer. It wasn’t long until Becky and the couple’s three sons began living in Nye all summer. In the late 1990s, the family bought a home along the Stillwater River to retire to. Becky and the boys made the permanent move in 2001 and Bud was to follow the next year.

“Then the tech bubble burst and my departure was delayed for nearly 10 years…hell of a commute,” said Chenault. “I’m still not here full time and spent most of 2017 and 2018 back in Dallas doing some consulting at TI.”

Chenault had always taken a lot of pictures and that increased with his sons began playing sports. He also loves wildlife photography, in addition to sports, lifestyle and environmental portrait work.

“I’m still trying to figure out my niche, I guess,” said Chenault.

CODY SCHLEHUBER (Sensory Photography)

Schlehuber is a professional photographer and owner of Sensory Photography who works full-time as a designer for Montana Silversmiths. He is a native, having been born in Columbus and lived in Stillwater County for most of his life.

Schlehuber holds a bachelors of arts in media arts animations from the Art Institute of Colorado.

“Most of my work locally is seniors, families, product, outdoor and most recently in the past two years, as the main sports photographer for Columbus High School,” said Schlehuber.

He found his way to photography after spending four months in Guatemala photographing and filming people in the sports fishing industry. That sparked his desire to work in the outdoor industry. He spent two years filming TV shows for PSE Archery that aired on The Outdoor Channel. In the spring of 2008, he returned to Montana and founded Sensory Photography in the summer of 2008.  

“Since, then I have been professionally photographing seniors, sports, families, outdoor weddings, product, commercial, landscape, and wildlife photography,” he said.

ERIN SWEENEY (Sweeney Photography)

If the ability to make others feel at ease is a necessary element for a photographer to possess, it’s clear why Erin Sweeney is not only a popular artist, but one respected by her counterparts.

A sweet and unassuming beauty, Sweeney was born and raised in Billings. She started photography while at Billings Senior High and continued with it at Northwest College.

She earned an associates degree in photographic communication in 2001. In 2005, she married Cody Sweeney and the couple moved to Columbus in 2006. They have an 11-year-old daughter.

Sweeney specializes in wedding photography and her work is teased frequently on social media. Senior photos are another of her specialties.

A lesser known aspect to Sweeney’s photography is the work she does for Columbus Fire Rescue (CFR), where her husband serves. Most CFR photos you see are Sweeneys.

A slight blonde with an infectious smile, Sweeney most often goes about her work quietly.

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