A Day on the Trail

This is me trying to look epic as I photograph the top of Mount Scott.
This is me trying to look epic as I photograph the top of Mount Scott.

For New Year’s Day this year, I met up with a photographer buddy named Robert. He and I met in college 40 years ago.

Wow. Let me say that again: 40 years ago.

That’s right, my photographer buddy Robert, and our mutual photographer friend Scott, met at OU in the spring of 1984, where we shared a crowded Journalism School darkroom.

Robert and I decided a month ago that New Year’s Day would be a great opportunity to hit the trail, make tons of pictures, and maybe grab a nice meal on the road.

We met at the entrance to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwest Oklahoma at 9 a.m. It was cloudy and cold for our first trail, Elk Mountain, but we were undaunted.

As we hiked, we talked about photography, philosophy, jobs, family, and much, much more.

I’ve got a ton of images to edit and post on my travel blog, but for now, here are a few fun ones.

Among some of the great things we saw and photographed on New Year's Day was water flowing briskly over the Buford Lake Dam. According to refuge authorities, the lake was "built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps but was never added to the official maps of the refuge. Over time it was lost to history ... and was rediscovered after the wildfires of 2011."
Among some of the great things we saw and photographed on New Year’s Day was water flowing briskly over the Buford Lake Dam. According to refuge authorities, the lake was “built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps but was never added to the official maps of the refuge. Over time it was lost to history … and was rediscovered after the wildfires of 2011.”

My kit and my workflow when I am hiking and exploring are very different than when I am shooting news and sports. Since I make pictures for a living, wilderness photography is actually time off from photography, and as such I follow a couple of rules: carry less, keep it simple, and stop worrying about competing with other photographers.

And sure, my job is fun, but hiking, climbing, and exploring are fun in a very different way. The photography I do in the wild is meant to be zero-pressure, relaxing, something I don’t have to worry about.

By the end of the day, we’d watched the sun set from Mount Scott, and grabbed dinner at the Healthy Hippie (at Courtney Morehead’s recommendation) in Medicine Park. It was another great adventure.

I feel at home in the midst of the ancient granite of the Wichita Mountains, which I have been visiting since I was seven.
I feel at home in the midst of the ancient granite of the Wichita Mountains, which I have been visiting since I was seven.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.