Sunday Photo-Drives : Oxley and Tall Grass

The last few Sundays I’ve been trying to go somewhere local to take photos and explore my home state a bit more. Here are some of the fruits of my drives so far.

First is Oxley Nature Center, if you’ve been to my blog before you may have seen a post or two about this place. It is a local park and nature preserve, with hiking trails and visitor center. It is setup as an immersive experience to highlight our local flora and fauna. Here are a few images from Oxley Nature Center.

 

Second is a drive up to the Tall Grass Prairies Preserve north of Pawhuska, OK. The preserve is a Nature Conservancy conservation preserve, their goal is to restore the native grasses along with bison, birds and other native species. This is one of my favorite places to head to when I’m needing a breather from Tulsa. Here are a few images from the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve.

Update 5-8-2017: I’ve reedited the image “Osage Prairie” to reflect more of a romantic feel that I was wanting to achieve.  I believe I was able to reach that goal.

 

A walk at Oxley

The Mary K. Oxley Nature Center located in Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK is a gem of a place to go and be lost for twenty minutes two hours or an entire day. Trails that crisscross or lead off in one direction through the woods, along creeks and following the edge of a lake. You’ll discover a myriad of birds, possibly some deer and an armadillo or two or three. Along with all of the fauna there are also all the flora that comes along with being in the woods in Northeastern Oklahoma. Here are a just a few glimpses at what you’ll find.

The Mary K. Oxley Nature Center located in Mohawk Park is located at 3452-3676 Mohawk Blvd, Tulsa, OK 74115. You can contact them at (918) 669-6644.

Why I ♥ Oklahoma?

Sometime ago I was asked, what is there to like about Oklahoma? Well there are a lot of things, but more importantly I don’t just like Oklahoma, I love Oklahoma. Now that’s not to say there aren’t a few things, well maybe more than a few, that I wouldn’t change. But its my home, where I was born and raised, and I can say that. We do have a few things to learn here at home, a few things to change and improve on. But I still love it here, now it was almost 100* today, and well I’m a fat man and it’s not very good to people of the larger variety in the summer, but that’s on me. Anyways, I caught a couple of images of Oklahoma that say why I love it here. They are simple, however I think they say a lot.

If you click on the images below you will be taken to my 500px page where they are available to be purchased as stretched canvas prints or digital downloads.

Oklahoma afternoon Sea of grass

Now I know you could find images like these in other states, but these are not from anywhere else but my home, Oklahoma!

1st Oil Well in Oklahoma, near Chelsea, OK

I was out driving near Chelsea, OK and came to the site of the 1st Oil Well in Oklahoma. It wasn’t all too impressive, but I thought it was neat just the same. This un-assuming site is a small square notch in a field where cattle graze now. After passing it on my way to the east side of Spencer Creek campgrounds, I thought I would stop when going back by.

Moon or not to Moon?

I had traveled north to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, north of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. To try to capture the “supermoon” not sure if that title was entirely accurate. I had left around 5 pm and the moon rise was to be about 9 pm. I wanted to get up there in time to do some scouting to try to get the best vantage point. The main image I was wanting to get was one of the moon as it just crested the horizon, when it was the biggest. However the haze and clouds prevented the moment when it crested the horizon from being seen. As well as hampering the amount of light that the moon produced. So shifting gears I tried to capture the moon illuminating the valley that I was just above. However the light being produced wasn’t sufficient for that. So with the clouds and haze being a factor I tried to use them to my advantage. I think I was successful at that, the clouds provided a nice veil to catch the light a created a nice wash of tones and colors. For the moon itself, I did a series of exposures trying to get the moon as detailed and full as possible.

These are the images I was able to capture tonight up at the Tallgrass. Its worth trying agin, maybe on a clearer night.

Moonlit Clouds

The moon brought out a variety of colors and tones that created a nice wash. I thought this might look good as a large print on canvas. If I did print it, I would need to lighten it about 20%-30%, since you loose about that amount when printing.

Moon

Well all I can say is I sure could use a bigger lens, I guess we all could.

HorseShoes at the Dunes!

A week ago I had gone out to the dunes of Little Sahara State Park in Oklahoma with some friends. When were not out on the dunes, tearing it up and not killing ourselves, wink-wink! You could find us back at our campsite resting and recovering, and playing a the occasional game of kings horseshoes. Not to brag, but I do not through a mean game of shoe, and that’s why after a through or two I decided to relegate myself to the job of photographer, go figure. I omitted the images of the guilty, but here are the resulting tragedies of gallant attempts at the throwing of the Shoe.

Don’t try this at home kids, this is for professionals only, and drunk guys!

Little Sahara State Park, Oklahoma

I had tagged along with some friends out to Little Sahara State Park, in the western part of Oklahoma. I went out to spend sometime with friends, and get some shots of the park and the dune riding, check on both accounts. I ended up using some editing techniques that I usually don’t do. For one I really pushed the exposure, contrast and saturation of each image. With that being said, I do like the out come. Let me know what you think.

Sand Dune and Clouds at Little Sahara State Park, Oklahoma

Sand Dune and Clouds at Little Sahara State Park, Oklahoma

In this shot I was trying to capture the drift coming off the top of the main dune, as well as capture the clouds for some context. That meant waiting, waiting for the clouds, then waiting for the drift to be large enough to be noticeable. However trying to balance the exposure and the contrast all in camera was proving difficult. So I knew at the time I was going to be doing some fairly heavy post work on it. I increased the contrast trying to even out the exposure, then increased the saturation in blue, azure, yellow and orange channels, for obvious reasons. Then I worked on the clarity and over all sharpness. Hope you like, let my know what you think.

Clouds over Little Sahara State Park, Oklahoma

Clouds over Little Sahara State Park, Oklahoma

I was up on top of a dune, and taking a break between my friends jumping. I thought look up, and this is what I saw. With this one I looked at the clouds for a very long time, watching how they were moving across the sky and coming together. I wanted to capture something that reflected the motion and the energy of the sky. I hope I was able to achieve it. Let me know what you think if you would.

So I think, if there are any lessons from this they are, its important to take your time, and not to rush it. When you are aware of the elements and how they change overtime, then you are able to predict when the moment will occur for a best shot. This only comes with shooting in a given area over and over. Taking the time to learn the environment that you are shooting in the most is invaluable. Also, looking at things in a different way, in a new perspective I think is oh so very important, it helps to keep your images fresh because not only are you shooting the same things in varied ways but then you begin to shoot different things all together. Don’t just be better, be different. By working at being different you intern become better because you continually push yourself to not only try new ways of shooting but to shoot new things all together.