Lone Tree, Oklahoma Panhandle, April 2021
Image File MGC04924.ARW
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.