Pic of the Week 9/24/21
“Mt Roosevelt Sunrise”
Location: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Date taken: 9/19/21
© Ben Jacobi
After 24 days in quarantine, I was finally able to get out in some real nature! Now, the Wichita Bluffs are nice and a great place to take a walk in town, but its just too close to the city. Too close to urban development to truly get lost. At the end of quarantine, I was more than ready to get back outside. I could feel the mountains calling for me and soon I would be breathing in their crisp cool air again. I am, of course, referring to the Wichita Mountains. Now, I would love to go visit the high peaks of Colorado and the like, but baby steps…
Ashlee and I awoke early enough to arrive at the refuge just before sunrise. Since I was a little rusty in nature photography, I opted for a simple and easy sunrise shoot. There’s an infamous old tree off Scenic Highway 115 in the refuge. Right outside the secondary entrance to the Holy City. For years people came to photograph this tree. Now the tree has succumbed to the elements and has collapsed. But this tree still has an appeal to many photographers—me included. All that remains of this tree is a tattered trunk with sprawling branches reaching towards the sky. They almost look like arms stretching out looking for assistance. As the years go on more and more of the tree will be lost.
For now, it would serve as a nice framing element to my subject, Mt Roosevelt. This is a unique mountain that has a bulbous summit. Like many of the other mountains in this area, the tree line stops midway up the mountain where the porous gabbro rock transitions to the Mount Scott Granite. This creates a nice view of the unusual summit. It also means the granite will catch the sunlight just right. My goal was to capture an image of the sunrise light reflecting off the craggy summit of Mt Roosevelt. I have always been intrigued by this mountain it stands a little over 2200ft above sea level at the north end of the Holy City. Like a centurion it stands guard occasionally obscuring Mt Sheridan and Nipple Peak. It’s a very obvious mountain.
Our temperature could not have been better that morning and the air was so clean and crisp. The sky was completed devoid of any clouds, which meant that I wasn’t going to get the best sunrise photo, but I was just happy to be outside again. When the sun broke the horizon, soft morning light gently rested on the face of Mt Roosevelt. It was an obvious composition and an obvious shot, but it been so long since I heard the click of my camera’s shutter. Naturally, I would have liked a more dramatic sky but overall, I am quite happy with the composition. I’ll likely retake this photo in the future when the conditions are more favorable.