Pic of the Week 9/11/20
“Cypress on the Mountain Fork River”
Location: Beaver’s Bend State Park, OK
Date taken: 9/7/20
Cypress on the Mountain Fork River
The three-day weekend is somewhat of a rarity for me, so when they come, I try to get the most out of it. This year my family, my fiancé, and myself made the long drive to the forests and mountains of southeast Oklahoma. The destination? A cabin in the piney woods of Broken Bow, OK. We would be spending Labor Day weekend hiking, shooting photos, lounging around the cabin, and just enjoying ourselves. I was also excited to get Ashlee some much needed R&R. She’s been working so hard this semester and she really needed a break. Since I was working and Ashlee still had class on Friday, we decided to head up Saturday morning to enjoy the drive.
We had a wonderful time on this trip, but I wasn’t able to do as much photography as I had planned. It all worked out though and I sacrificed my photography plans to accommodate family time, my first kayaking experience, an escape room (which we kicked butt on), and eating delicious food. But, on our last day there we got up early to shoot sunrise on the Mountain Fork River. On the drive to our sunrise location, I noticed the eastern and southern sky were covered with a layer of thin clouds. This meant we likely wouldn’t get great sunrise light, but we continued on to our location. We pulled into the Nature center parking lot and began making our way down to the river. Ashlee went upstream to photograph a Great Blue heron and I went downstream to photograph the fog on the river.
While it is always nice to have a peaceful morning to myself, I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it was the lack of good light, but I was haphazardly shooting off frames. Don’t get me wrong, I was still intentional with what I was shooting, I just didn’t feel inspired. Ashlee and I met back up and we drove to the next location. Our drive took us past the RV campground area and to the entrance of an old Forest Service road. Now it was a hiking/biking trail that followed the banks of the Mountain Fork River just below the old park dam. Ashlee found another subject to photograph at the dam, but I continued down the trail in hopes of finding a good composition. My hike led me past some interesting rock formations and a couple of creek crossings. As I got farther down the trail I started to see more potential in this location. With that knowledge, I returned to my vehicle to get my hiking bag and all my photography gear.
I met back up with Ashlee and we proceeded back to my spot. All around us plants were glistening in the early morning sunlight. This contrasted nicely against the saturated soil, combined with the interesting formation of the bald cypress trees we were not short on subjects to shoot. I walked along the bank of the river and found this scene looking across to the other side. Thankfully, I brought my longer lens so I could bring it in closer. I decided to use my 10 stop neutral density filter to blur the running water of the river. A strong side light illuminated the leaves of the cypress trees across the way making them gleam in the early morning light. I also used a wider aperture to separate the closer trees (my subject) from the other trees (background). All these factors resulted in an almost “painterly” feeling to the image that really captures the dreaminess of the area. Sometimes its hard to believe this is in Oklahoma.
While I didn’t get to do much of the photography I had planned, I did manage to capture photos of our engagement announcement. Since we're both photographers, we thought we could do these images ourselves. Not too bad considering there was no one behind the camera. Aren't we just adorable!