Sunrise With Friends

November 08, 2014  •  1 Comment


I recently returned from a weekend spent with Tom Crews, Linda Stokes, Betty A, and Jackie Estes all of whom I met on Google+. We met up at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge located in Southwestern Oklahoma USA. I had met Tom earlier in June when we got together for a few days of shooting in Southern Oklahoma at Turner Falls and the surrounding area. We had a great time on that trip and for this one we were looking forward to meeting our new friends. Linda and Betty had both been in my primary circle on G+ for quite some time. Linda creates some of the most eye catching photographic art that I have ever seen and Betty creates some truly wonderful work for someone who is fairly new to photography. Jackie is a friend of Linda's and an accomplished photographer in her own right specializing in wildlife. And so with this group, Tom and I were looking forward to the weekend and getting to see a diversity of work from such an eclectic group.

I met Tom and Betty on a Friday after doing a real estate shoot for an interior designer in Oklahoma City. After getting my camp set up, we drove to Quanah Parker Lake for the afternoon/evening shoot. Shortly into our hike, we experienced what we all thought might be a dead rattlesnake but soon found that it had just been sunning itself. To our surprise, when the sunlight faded to shadow, the snake came alive making us all step back a few paces! Tom soon disappeared to discover his own compositions while Betty and I went down to the lake's edge for the sunset. Once dark settled in, we drove back to camp to start a fire and cook a meal before a few hours of good conversation and turning in. Sunrise would come early.

We were expecting Linda and Jackie the next morning and did not want to stray too far from camp, so the three of us went back to Quanah for the morning shoot. Linda and Jackie showed up around lunch, and we chatted for a bit while getting some equipment prepped for the evening. Afterwards, Tom and I went for a drive to explore some potential areas for the evening before we decided to head out to Rush Lake for the sunset/evening shoot where everyone seemed to wander off on their own.

At camp that evening, we built another fire and proceeded to have a wonderful evening filled with some great conversation, good food, and a bit of drink to top things off. A most pleasureable evening spent with new friends.

The following morning we went off to Quanah again for the morning shoot and a planned hike that didn't happen because I was running late. Regardless, we had a great morning with 3 of us on one end of the lake and Linda and Jackie at the other. Around lunch time, we all said our goodbyes and headed off to our respective destinations except for Betty who intended to stay out for another week or two before heading home. Though the hoped for Fall foliage was yet to make it's appearance, a great time was had by all and I personally look forward to our next get together.


The image above was made on our second morning together. Though there were no clouds in the sky for sunrise, we were not disappointed with the light show in the pre-dawn hour. For this image, I used a Formatt-HiTech 4 stop ND soft edge grad filter at the angle of the foreground to hold back the sky and the reflection of light on the lake surface. This enabled a longer exposure of 15 seconds to bring out the details in the foreground shadows which is what interested me the most. The red/orange in the grasses was quite real, a typical color for some of the grasses in this area during the Fall and combined with the blue lichens on pink granite, I thought the whole scene would make for a great image.

Nikon D700 / Tokina AT-X Pro 17-35/4 @ 17 mm. ISO 100 @ f14 @ 15 seconds. Processed entirely in Lightroom 5.

Until next time, may you experience great light and good shooting - TW



Betty A(non-registered)
Such a splendid beauty that warms my soul. I'll not go into long detail here as I've just done that on your G+ page. Thank you so much, Thomas. It was an honor and a wonderful time with you and the rest of the group camping together in the Wichita Mountains. Can't wait to do it again.
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