Along the Water / by Bill Frakes


It's my favorite time of day during one of my favorite times of the year in one of my favorite places.

I'm sitting alongside the Platte River in Nebraska, listening to far away train whistles sliding through the crisp, clear, chill of early morning air, piercing the cacophony of calls from 500,000 Sandhill Cranes getting ready to take flight when the sun creeps across the horizon.

Sandhill Crane Migration 2015 Grand Island, NE

The water and the scene bring my thoughts to my absent friend, Bill Epperidge. Epp was one of a kind. A great documentary and sports photographer. He was the guy during some Life Magazines greatest years.


One night sitting in our Olympic Village cottage in Lillehammer, I casually mentioned to Epp that I had met Bobby Kennedy when I young.

He asked when and where. Epp had an incredible memory.He remembered the trip and found the image of a young me in a room with a group of kids and RFK in 1967.

Bill and I became great friends in the 1980s, and I got to spend the better part of two decades with my name right next to his on the masthead of Sports Illustrated.One of my photography heroes and a truly lovely guy.

He was a great storyteller, and a wonderful companion.

He loved fishing, and I just read a fine book, On the Water: A Fishing Memoir, that I think he would have loved.


My colleague from the Miami Herald Carl Hiassen wrote the forward.  I have huge respect for the wide range of work Carl has crafted during a long and prolific career.  Another guy who always makes me think, and smile.


It's interesting how life takes you in small tight circles.