On our way to Arkansas to enjoy the fall colors, Ren and I stopped at a small city park, Sequoyah Park, to stretch our legs and take the dog for a short walk. This is a pretty little park near downtown, and the trees were in fine color, so naturally, I took some photos. It was on a Friday morning so we pretty much had the park to ourselves. I thought the contrast between the trees, the grass, and the clouds made for some interesting compositions.
Scott looking to make sure his shot was perfect; taken by Ren.
We were afraid we had missed the peak of fall colors, but, here in the Cherokee capital, it seems we might have chosen the perfect weekend to do our seasonal color trip. This park runs right along the Tahlequah Creek which runs into the Illinois River just east of the town. There are two historic WPA bridges crossing the small creek which gave it a great composition.
Ren often looks for the shots with her phone’s camera so I can see what she’s talking about. This is one of those shots.
One of our favorite places in Oklahoma and Arkansas is the Talimena National Scenic Byway. We have taken it many times, but this year we decided to just do the mountain range this amazing drive between Talihina, Oklahoma, and Mena, Arkansas. The Ouachita National Forest was where we found ourselves searching out many waterfalls.
Little Missouri Falls on the Little Missouri River in Ouachita National Forest taken by Ren.
Our total mileage was 557 miles to find some amazing colors and waterfalls. Most of the mileage came because we had driven so much within the National Forest, but the trip one way was approximately 215 miles to get into the forest. All in all, you don’t always need to travel to distant or exotic locations to get a good photo. Sometimes you just need to look around you and imagine the possibilities
One of my finished photos of the park.Safe Travels
Most of my photos come on our travels, but we can’t travel every weekend. For various reasons, we have been staying closer to home recently. When we can’t travel I try to find good subjects for photography in my local area.
Keystone Lake is just a few miles upstream from Tulsa on the Arkansas River. With Oklahoma subject to periodic droughts, the Keystone Dam is often not very impressive, with just enough water flowing to generate power, but Oklahoma has been pretty wet this year, and there have been very heavy rains upstream, so they are running a lot of water through the dam right now.
We got up early to try and get a photo of the Moon setting over the dam, I had the location planned correctly, but I messed up on the timing. The Moon was setting just as we drove up, and I could not get the camera set up in time to get the shot. Still, we had some interesting light, and there was a strong mist from the dam that developed into a heavy fog. We stayed for a few hours and I took pictures in the changing light. Ren is very understanding and patient with my early morning photo jaunts.
The area below the dam was filled with birds, thousands of them. The Pelicans were passing through on their annual migration. As the sun was rising they began to feed.
As we were leaving we found that most of the flock were on the lake side of the dam. It was hard to tell in the fog but the lake was covered in Pelicans for as far as we could see. This photo only captures a tiny portion of them.
While I did not get the photo I was after, I am still pleased with the photos that I did get.
So often Scott is the photographer between the two of us. I tend to be the scout; the one who finds the moments and places in time for him to capture with his Sony A6000. However, there are times I feel a need to take photos. Unfortunately, I take photos with my Sony A5100 so rarely that I forget how what buttons do what on it. I have been trying to be better at this, but it is just so much easier to take photos using my Samsung Galaxy 9.
I decided one Saturday morning during the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market it was time to pull out my actual camera and practice taking photos. Normally, I meet my daughter Amber at the coffee shop just feet from my apartment, but she was unable to walk the market with me this Saturday so I had no excuses; it was going to be a perfect morning to take photos and I really needed the practice.
Grabbing my fabric bags to put produce in and camera bag, I set out at just before sunrise to decide where would be the best place to start snapping photos of this magical event. Our local Cherry Street Farmers’ Market starts up every spring on the first Saturday of April and ends the third Saturday in October from 7:00 am until 11:30 am. The street for three blocks is shut off to traffic and people wonder about cheerfully. It is where the community comes together to purchases their weekly produce, samples the treats, and celebrate the beautiful Oklahoma mornings.
Our farmers’ market is not like what you will see in the movies or on television, it is only has four, maybe five vegetable vendors, maybe two or three artists, a couple of food trucks and a smattering of prepared food vendors. It is pretty small, but it is perfect for our square mile community. We all like it this way because most of the vendors know what each customer is looking for and they even know our names! Often my daughter will pick up my produce when I am not able to attend the market due to Scott and I traveling and the vendors know that she is mine and shopping for me. Yes, I do love our farmers’ market.
One of my favorite things about the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market is that there is live music being played every weekend. One weekend it will be the Falsey Twins who play the blues, another weekend the piano man will be banging on his upright piano (an actual wooden upright piano) while his wife belts out a ballad, and yet another weekend there will be an old-timey musician playing causing everyone to break out in shared song and dance. Everyone seems to enjoy the music, no matter the genre; they are extremely generous when they toss money in the bucket of appreciation.
Most importantly, the best thing you will find at this little Saturday farmers’ market are the people who have made it possible. There is so much work that goes into putting on such an event. Someone has to get up before 5:00 am, set up the closure signs, get vendor spots set up, take care of the city permits, and all the other things no one really sees as they wander through the market tasting, buying, and enjoying. They are amazing people who are dedicated to being on our little bit of heaven every Saturday from April until the middle of October no matter the weather. Yes, they are what makes this event so magical.
I was able to take so many wonderful photos that September morning while the morning light was still low and making everything golden. I am not able to tell you what my settings were on the camera, but I can tell you that it is days like this that get me excited about taking photos and maybe making someone smile. Even though the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market is gone for a short while, I can look back and remember the magical morning I had.
Thanks for spending time with me today,
All photos in this post were taken by me and are my property
Cedar Hills State Park is a Texas State Park located on Joe Pool Lake within the Dallas metropolitan area. When Ren and I lived in Fort Worth it was about a half an hour from our home, which made it convenient when we wanted to get outside during the week without a long drive. Back when I was first learning photography Cedar Hills was often where I went to practice.
Being a new photographer, I went through a period where I was obsessed with sunsets, and Joe Pool lake often had some spectacular sunsets.
At this time I was using an old Nikon D70 I borrowed from a friend. While it was an older camera, it was still capable of some very nice photos.
Some of my favorite photos were taken with my phone, proving that it is not the quality of the gear that makes a great photo.
Later when I upgraded to my Sony camera we still came here often and I kept trying new things.
This is a composite of several photos looking North across Joe Pool Lake at the Dallas Love Field airport.
If you are learning photography, don’t be too obsessed with gear at first. As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. The best way to learn is to get out and shoot as often as possible and keep trying new things.
Located on Highway 64 ten miles northwest of Taos, New Mexico, the Gorge Bridge is 1280 feet long and spans the Rio Grande River and is one of the highest bridges in the country. Sources disagree over just exactly how high the bridge is above the river, with some saying 600 feet and others saying 650 feet. The gorge is particularly deep in this area because the river flows through a continental rift zone. This is an area when the continental plate tried to tear it’s self apart millions of years ago, then stopped before the separation was complete.
It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is both a National Monument and a State Park. The bridge is something of a tourist attraction with parking available along with restrooms and an observation deck. The bridge has a pedestrian shoulder so you can walk across it if you like.
Ren and I visited in August. We had not heard of the bridge, but the manager of our hotel told us we should go see it while we were in the area. I’m so glad we listened. This was my favorite part of the entire trip. If you are in the area it is well worth seeing, and if the Bus Stop Ice Cream and Coffee Stop are there, you should absolutely treat yourself. Ren loved the frozen coffee.
These photos were taken with my Sony A6000 using the SEL1850 lens. The panorama above was stitched together from 3 photos.
*Looking South From The Bridge *Safe Travels
Ren and I were camping at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area (Sulpher, OK, area) and our campsite was right on the Lake of the Arbuckles. I woke up just before sunrise and there was a heavy fog over the lake. I paused just long enough to put my shoes on and grabbed my camera. Moments like these don’t happen nearly as often as I would like, and they don’t last long. Fifteen minutes later the sun cleared the horizon, and the light was entirely different and far less interesting.
You have to be ready to catch these moments when they happen. If you hesitate you will miss the shot. A few weeks ago Ren and I were driving down a country road in Missouri when we topped a hill and there was a band of mist rising from a creek, and the sun was just rising while the rays were filtered through the trees and hitting the mist; the effect was amazing. Ren was driving and I told her to turn around. It couldn’t have been two minutes before we were back to the spot, but the effect was gone. Landscape photography is like that.
You cannot control when all the elements will come together. The best you can do is get out to amazing places as often as possible, and give yourself as many chances as possible to get the shot. There is certainly an element of luck, but if you are not out there ready to take the shot, you will never have the chance to get lucky. The lazy man has no luck.