Pic of the Week 11/11/22
"Mount Wall Sundown"
Location: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reduge, OK
Date taken: 10/29/22
It has been over a month since my last Pic of the Week and I know I say this a lot, but I have been exceptionally busy this past month. Allow me to explain. Since April of this year Ashlee and I have started our photography business Jacobi Creations, LLC. Our goal is to inspire others to go outdoors, educate the next generation of nature photographers, and conserve the natural spaces we all enjoy. Through this company we plan to host photography workshops and offer the sale of original photographic artwork to businesses and individual collectors. We are proud of this website, and it is worth checking out Jacobi Creations
With all the prep-work that went into establishing the website and online art store, photography (and this website) got put on the backburner. Another reason I stayed busy is we were preparing for our largest art show of the year in Denton. We spent three days at the 2022 Denton Arts and Jazz Festival sharing our work with a new audience and growing our new business. Now, things are finally getting to a point where I can catch up on this site. More importantly, we’re getting into hiking season, and I am so excited for the opportunities this fall/winter will bring. P.S. if you missed the 2023 Jacobi Creations Calendar pre-order, I still have some available just in time for the holiday season.
I have had this location reserved in my back pocket for several months now. On a mildly warm summer afternoon Ashlee and I decided to drive up to the Wichita Mountains to scout out some new photography locations for the upcoming cooler months. Although we only hiked a few miles on this one, we did manage to uncover four locations. Three of which were viable, and we will revisit another time. The one location I was most excited about was the unique view of the summits of Mount Wall in front of an interesting pattern of trees. Mt Wall is a long cigar shaped mountain that rests on the northern side of the refuge. It is an especially challenging mountain to photograph due to its long and narrow shape. You must approach it from a specific angle to any sense of depth.
One possible image, I scouted using Google Earth. But I needed to see it in person to confirm it would work as a composition. We pulled into an unmarked parking area along hwy 115 just south of the Parallel Forest. I knew the general direction we needed to travel but wasn’t sure how we would get across Cedar creek. We perused the bank until we found a suitable crossing of scattered boulders, luckily the drought left the creek level lower. A quick scramble up the rocky hillside and we were on our way east looking for the Mount Wall view in the canyon. The hike to the location was typical of the lower grasslands and basins in the Wichita mountains. Scattered prickly pear, barrel, and thistle cactus pepper a blanket of tall prairie grasses only to be interrupted by the occasional cobble stone rock and the more common buffalo chip.
When we reached the canyon, I could see my shot lining up. Now with all the time in the world, I was able to carefully place and record my favorite composition of the image. The sun angle was harsh, the wind was blowing, and the sky was completely void of any texture, but the natural reverse “Z” pattern of the trees leading up the hillside and the juxtaposition of the foreground rock and two peaks in the background created a pleasantly balanced shot.
I would have to return at a better time with more ideal conditions. It took another five months and three more attempts before I captured a shot that I liked. After all, this shot would only work with good clouds in the sky. Just a few weeks ago, Rusty Lee (a friend and fellow photographer) and I met up for a hike in the Wichita Mountains. We scouted out some more excellent photography locations that afternoon and for sunset I decided to try the Mt Wall canyon shot again. This time it paid off! We had a wonderfully textured sky, gorgeous and dramatic side light on the mountains, and even some soft reflected light in the foreground. The combination of light and atmosphere created a fantastic color palette of yellow-orange, greens, and bluish purples. Without that light and sky, the whole shot falls apart. It is amazing what happens when a photo location you scout works out and you capture something truly memorable. We watched as the eastern sky burned all the way through sunset and fizzled out to a cold steely blue. The elk were bugling, and coyotes were calling signaling to us the end of the day. I have many more photographic locations I’m scouting this year and hopefully I will have many more excellent images to share with you all. Thanks as always and enjoy!
Mount Wall SundownIn the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, the final rays of sunshine touch Mount Wall's western peaks. © Ben Jacobi