This Photo, #9

This Photo, #9

Lone Tree, Oklahoma Panhandle, April 2021

Image File MGC04924.ARW

Lone Tree, Oklahoma Panhandle

Driving across Oklahoma for my first visit to Black Mesa – the most western, the most remote, and the most elevated point in Oklahoma – I could see why some people have considered this part of the state barren and even worthless over the centuries…  But the landscape fascinated me with each mile I traveled.  The seemingly never-ending plains, the occasional rolling hills, the distant windmills, the tall grasses and the wheat fields – all were new to me, and I enjoyed every every scene and every moment.  I made several stops to look with my camera, and made notes of many places worth a return visit.

I drove by this tree, alone on the prairie, and argued with myself (the light is wrong; it’s the wrong time of day; I could stop on the return trip, etc.) for about a half-mile, but the photographer-self won:  I stopped the car and went back.

After parking on the side of the highway, I pulled out the camera and the telephoto lens, mounted it on the tripod, and crossed the highway so as to fill the frame with the tree, the grasses, and the sky.  I was intent on composing the photo to emphasize those elements – expressing my vision of the lone tree.

Oh?  The nest in the tree?  Yes, I saw it, but did not “look” at it – composition of the landscape was my concern!  After making a few exposures, I moved the tripod to the right about 20 feet and recomposed.  When I looked up from the camera, a female Northern Harrier was taking flight from the nest!  I was stunned and did not photograph her as she flew – I only watched her fly and marveled at her grace and beauty, and gave thanks for the moment, and apologized for my disturbance…

Tech data: Sony Alpha 7RIV, Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 lens, Manfrotto 055 tripod with Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head; 1/640 sec, f/11, iso 400, zoom set at 83mm.

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2015 Favorite Photos

2015 Favorite Photos

Selecting favorite photos from the past 12 months is a fun exercise, and also an opportunity to see where my interests have taken me.  And, sometimes a way to measure one’s growth.  Mostly, however, these are the photographs that bring a smile to my face when I remember pressing the shutter release…

So, here we go, roughly in chronological order:

Trout Lily

This is one of my favorite flowers, as it is one of the first signs of spring in Arkansas.  This one reminds me of a sea creature…Trout Lily 1767


Devil’s Den State Park, Arkansas

After a short hike on the Devil’s Den Trail, you will find yourself at Twin Falls – unless it is the dry season.  This is the west falls, with photographer for scale…

Devil's Den-02417


Wild Rose, Cherokee Prairie

Cherokee Prairie, near Charleston, Arkansas, continues to be one of those locations I return to regularly.  This wild rose was past its prime, but I liked the patterns, color, symmetry, and its friend.  I hope you notice the antenna that mimics the flower petal lines…

Cherokee Prairie-02591


Colorado National Monument

In June, I traveled to the Eastern Sierras of California to attend Derrick Story’s photography workshop.  (You can read about it here.)  The road trip included a one-night stop at the Colorado National Monument, near Grand Junction, Colorado.  I would definitely camp there again.

Colorado NM-02747


Great Basin National Park

From Colorado, my next stop was Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada, home to 13,063-foot Mount Wheeler.  This mountain stream was near my campsite…

Great Basin NP-02862


Yosemite National Park

From Bridgeport, CA, where Derrick’s workshop was based, I drove into Yosemite National Park via the Tioga Pass, highway 120.  Road construction stopped me from driving to the Valley; while stopped for the roadwork, I made this photo…

Yosemite NP-02967



Mono Lake, California

This has got to be one of the most unique places in the U.S., and I made hundreds of photos there…

Mono Lake-03277


Antique Airplane Fly-In, Oologah, Oklahoma

Closer to home, some friends and I visited Will Rogers’ Birthplace Ranch for the annual Antique Airplane Fly-In.  Dozens of planes and antique autos were on display, and their landings and departures were a sight to see.  The whole day was fun!


Autumn, Arkansas

Our “fall colors” were not the best this year, but we always try to make the best of it.  😉



Natural Dam, Arkansas

This rock shelf creates a natural “Dam” with an 8-foot tall waterfall.  I am not the only photographer to visit, and – like many others – I have made hundreds of images over the years.  Just a few days ago, this was the scene just before sunrise on a cold, frosty morning…

Natural Dam 05909


“Frost Flowers”

Although I had heard of this for many years, it was only a few days ago I made my first photos of Frost Flowers.  Sometimes called “Frost Ribbons”, apparently they happen on cold, frosty mornings, when vegetation still has moisture in its stem.  The moisture freezes, and forces its way out forming these ribbon flowers…

Frost Flowers 05964

Best wishes for a Great 2016:  Sweet light, peace, and joy…

Frontier Rendezvous

Frontier Rendezvous

As a young man, I read many books of western exploration and adventures.  In school, the history books fascinated me with stories of Fremont, Bridger, and others.  In September, a small frontiersman rendezvous was held nearby at Dwight Mission, and I accompanied other members of the Fort Smith Photographic Alliance on a Saturday to the gathering.

Axes and woodpile

A wood pile and axes at the frontier rendezvous, Dwight Mission, Oklahoma, September 2013



Snoods, 18th and 19th century hairnets, available for purchase, frontier rendezvous, Dwight Mission, Oklahoma, September 2013


Mirror Reflection

One of the tee-pee tents is reflected in a mirror hanging in another tent on the grounds at the Frontier Rendezvous, Dwight Mission, Oklahoma, September 2013



Fur Trap

Fur trap hanging outside a tee-pee tent at the Frontier Rendezvous, Dwight Mission, Oklahoma, September 2013



Throwing the Axe

A rendezvous frontiersman reenacts throwing an axe at a target during a competition, Frontier Rendezvous, Dwight Mission, Oklahoma, September 2013




The day was a lot of fun for all of us.  The rendezvous/reenactment was a relatively small one, and it was the first time held at Dwight Mission, but the spirit of the time was obvious in all the participants.  (I even tried my skill at the axe throw, but with little success.)

If anyone has the opportunity to be involved with a photography/camera club, I encourage you to do so.  Most groups will have outings such as this, as well as classes and workshops, competitions, and social gatherings.  If you are in the Fort Smith Arkansas region, the Alliance is a great place to visit!

The photos here were taken using the Sony Alpha 77, the Sony 16-50 lens, and the Tamron 70-300 lens.  In many cases, I also used a polarizing filter.


Looking into the Past

Looking into the Past

We’ve written before of visiting a small portion of historic Route 66 in Oklahoma.  Extremely interesting to look back and remember the past – the 1930’s and 1940’s, when thousands of farmers migrated to the west, or the 1950’s and 60’s, when a TV show, “Route 66”, epitomized our romantic idea of traveling on The Mother Road, as John Steinbeck called it.  Sometimes melancholy, we look at what was, and think of how time and “progress” moved away from the road, and its people.

A year ago, I visited Bristow for its “Route 66 Car, Truck, Bike, and Tractor Show” on Labor Day Weekend.  Here is my post relating to that:  “Route 66 Revisited”.  The point of this rambling is that I returned again this year, Saturday, August 31.  Here are some photographs from the visit.  Hope you enjoy them.

69 Dodge Charger RT, restored to near-new

69 Dodge Charger RT, restored to near-new



Hood of the 69 Dodge Charger, with Bristow's Main Street in the background.

Hood of the 69 Dodge Charger, with Bristow’s Main Street in the background.



1964 Corvette Stringray

Another highly desirable car from the 60’s, the 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, and still highly desirable today!



Ford Model A.  I thought it appropriate to have "Firehouse" in the background...

Ford Model A. I thought it appropriate to have “Firehouse” in the background…



Cars and trucks from the 50's and 60's lined Bristow's Main Street...

Cars and trucks from the 50’s and 60’s lined Bristow’s Main Street…




Side panel of a red 1966 Ford Mustang.  Yes, I had one like it...

Side panel of a red 1966 Ford Mustang. Yes, I had one like it…



Well known along Route 66, the Rock Café in Stroud serves a great lunch.

Well known along Route 66, the Rock Café in Stroud serves a great lunch.



Road Sign, welcoming travelers to the small town of Davenport, Oklahoma

Road Sign, welcoming travelers to the small town of Davenport, Oklahoma


If travel photography interests you, or if just sight-seeing travel is your thing, try to see what’s left before it’s gone – or replaced by new tourist attractions, in an imitation of what used to be…


Sony Alpha 77, Sony 16-50 lens, Tamron 70-300 lens

Route 66 Revisited

Route 66 Revisited

Two years after our Route 66 day trip, I journeyed to the little town of Bristow, site of the “Route 66 Classic Car Show.”  I had searched for a destination and found the car show, and decided to check it out.  Gayle was unable to go with me, so I didn’t plan an extended outing, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to revisit the Mother Road.

Bristow, Oklahoma, is a small town, but on this day, it was full of cars, people, motorcycles, and tractors.  The car show was bigger than I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bristow Classic Car Show

Main Street in Bristow was full of classic cars, both restored and custom.


1956 Ford Thunderbird

A 1956 Ford Thunderbird sits on Bristow’s Main Street during the Route 66 Classic Car Show


1966 Ford Mustang Coupe

A 1966 Ford Mustang Coupe on display at the Bristow, Oklahoma, Route 66 Classic Car Show. As an 18-year old, I drove one just like it!


I left Bristow, and headed back toward Tulsa.  But, there are always photographs.  These mailboxes were just off the highway, and I had to stop.  They speak of rural Oklahoma, and simpler times gone by.

Mailboxes along Route 66 in Oklahoma

A rural Mail Center, along Route 66. It could be any location; where I grew up, the families still get their mail similarly – 2 miles or more from home.


I also stopped by the Rock Creek Bridge, and the Tee Pee Drive In, near Sapulpa.  The drive-in theater has not seen a movie in a decade or more, but still stands as a reminder of other times.

Tee Pee Drive In near Sapulpa OK

Near Sapulpa, Oklahoma, the Tee Pee Drive In Theater still stands, only a few faded letters remain on the sign


Rock Creek Bridge

The Rock Creek Bridge, near Sapulpa, is about a quarter mile from the Tee Pee Drive In. It is unique being one of few brick paved bridges remaining in the country.


These photos were taken September 1, 2012.  I used a Sony Alpha 77 camera, and Tamron lenses – mostly my favorite, the 17-50 f/2.8 zoom.


Route 66

A couple of years ago, we spent a day traveling from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Oklahoma City, via the remains of old Route 66.  In some areas, there is still highway; in others, we have to travel on newer roads that parallel the old.  We plan to do more, but for now, here are a few images from that day.

Many of the attractions from the old days are still in place – as well as new ones for the tourists.  It is interesting to note that many people, some from around the world, come to see what was known as “The Mother Road,” even those that are too young to have ever traveled upon the road…

The 5 and Diner restaurant, Tulsa

A neon sign lights up the Tulsa night at the 5 and Diner restaurant, reminiscent of a 50’s diner

Coca-Cola Sign refurbished in Stroud

In Stroud, a Coca-Cola sign has been colorfully restored on the side of a downtown building.

Hickory House Mural

Mural painted on the wall of the Hickory House Barbecue Restaurant in Sapulpa depicts Route 66 scenes and history

Chandler Interpretive Center

The Chandler Interpretive Center is an interactive multimedia museum, with film clips of Route 66 stories, viewed in seats from period cars, theatre seats, and even a motel bed.

The Old Cotton Gin

The Old Cotton Gin, it has also been a restaurant, an antiques store, and a second-hand goods store.

Having lived in California for several years as a child, I remember traveling Route 66 to visit family in Oklahoma.  Before there was an Interstate 40 highway, we drove through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and into our home state of Oklahoma.  Nostalgic?  Perhaps, but I also appreciate the history represented by the remnants of old Route 66…

These photographs were created with a Sony Alpha 77 camera, a Tamron 17-50 lens, and often a circular polarizing filter.  I edited the raw files with Paint Shop Pro.