I first had the pleasure of "discovering" the beauty of Oklahoma back in 2019, when a local Dallas/Fort Worth photographer - Jon Fischer - invited me to join him and some others on a trip to northern Arkansas that April. I've shared the story many times by this point, but I had only occasionally interacted with Jon through a local Facebook photography group, and I wasn't entirely certain he invited the right Michael... but I wasn't going to turn down the offer!
Wanting to get as much photography in as possible over a long weekend away from my job at the time, I opted to meet up with Jon in Broken Bow, Oklahoma before heading to our meetup point with the rest of the group in Arkansas the next day.
To that end, I owe Jon for introducing me to a location that has become one of my favorite "local" spots for photography; it's only 4-5 hours away from my house. That's pretty local in Texan terms!
In that 2019 outing we had plans of getting up early to shoot the Milky Way (Jon had missed sunset, which was pretty great, aside from my concerns that I was going to potentially drown... a story for another day). When we got up at 3am and opened the motel door, we were greeted by a thick wall of fog. So much for night sky photography.
Neither of us were too upset at the sudden prospect of a bit more sleep, and when our alarms went off the second time later that morning, we discovered the fog hadn't dissipated, which presented a great opportunity for me as I had never had the chance to photograph foggy scenes before (north Texas isn't exactly known for its moisture...).
Although we only shot for about an hour before we had to hit the road for Arkansas, I came away with a few photos that remain some of my favorites to this day. I'm also still going back to the archives of that trip and tinkering with some images here and there as I think there are others with some potential (and at least one or two that I desperately need to reprocess as my personal style has changed).
Ironically, considering the potential I saw for Oklahoma photography back in 2019, I didn't have a chance to return until the fall of 2021. I ended up spending two weekends camping near Broken Bow Lake, bookending a trip to visit family in Missouri, and also spent a night there again in December.
More recently, I escaped the Texas heat for one night at the start of this past June and encountered some great early-morning conditions once again, followed up by a hike along the river where I shot several abstract water scenes before hopping back in the truck and heading home.
I've barely scratched the surface of photography in southeastern Oklahoma and am looking forward to another visit I already have planned for this fall.
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