Drylands is a photo that takes you into the past, where toughness and grit were required for survival. The whimsical skies serve as wistful memories while the old homestead lays protected from the harsh winds of the plains by surrounding trees, which were surely planted as a windbreak and to keep from being exposed to the harsh elements of the southern plains. Taken in southern Kansas, only the rumbles of thunder kept me company as I captured this beautiful moment.
Oklahoma sunsets are legendary and they are especially beautiful after storms move through when the land is soaked and the air is full of the smell of rain. This particular shot was taken near Turpin, Oklahoma towards the end of the day as the sun was casting a golden glow on the land. The road leads inward towards a lone clump of trees that seems to have been surrounded by a small pond of water from the heavy rains, and a barbed wire fence splits the scene and stretches into the horizon.
Some sunsets are just better than others. Especially when you have a full sky full of mammatus and golden light. In this shot from southwest Oklahoma storms had passed and I was on my way back home but was greeted by an incredible sky. So I found a place to pull over and composed the shot with a fence and the spring Oklahoma landscape. You never know what you are going to see when you go out chasing, but there's a pretty good chance you are going to see nature doing its thing in the most spectacular fashion.
After thunderstorms had moved through near Haskell, Texas a rainbow appeared as it usually does whenever the misty aftermath takes the place of powerful thunderstorms. What was pretty cool about this picture is the golden light that was cast over the harvested wheat and the appearance of a small sunflower kind of poking his head up into the photo. I named the photo "The Promise" as an ode to rainbow's part in the old testament after the great flood and the warm light that promised a peaceful end to a stormy day.
The weather can be so strange and entertaining. In this photograph a storm is barreling to the east at the edge of dusk and appears to have a strange fluorescent glow emitting from its core. It's pretty common to have colors within a thunderstorm but this one is probably a bit more neon than normal. This shot is taken looking north so you have the evening sun behind the storm with softer light than you would find during a clear day, and the rain particles are catching the light and casting a tinge of purple hue which completes the look. This shot was captured near Walters, Oklahoma earlier this spring.
In late May 2015 a storm had rooted itself just north of Canadian, Texas and stayed in one place for the better part of four hours. I wanted to get away from the crowd a bit on the main highway east of town so I moved into town and was going to head to the south to get a better view. Just as I got into town I was passing over the current day bridge and noticed an old bridge off to the north and it was something that I just had to capture. I walked along the side of the road to get a better angle and was told by the local firefighter I needed to move because of the traffic and the situation with the storm. Just before I moved out I captured this image with all the greenery below with the storm in the background. What a day.
Summer storms moved in during the late evening hours on August 7th bringing a beautiful display of lightning. I captured a few in the distance then moved closer to see if I could land some good strikes and I think I caught a few good ones. The storm moved super slow, I think it may have been moving a good 5 mph if that. It didn't have a lot of rain with it so it made for great conditions to capture a few shots.
This shot is of three separate bolts, but two of them were one right after the other in the matter of milliseconds and the image basically looks like one mega bolt came down. If you look close at the ground you can see the separation which isn't much. The cloud structure was insane.
In this shot a single bolt came down in the sweeping rain and it was a sight to see. Other than being a bit on the warm side the show was spectacular. Quite a nice surprise in the depths of summer.
A long time ago as the land was being settled and when precipitation was plentiful they used to have a saying "Rain follows the plow." And it was fully believed that if you broke sod on the plains the land would be blessed with plenty of rain and crops would always yield more than anyone would ever need. And why wouldn't it be believed? From the time farmers began to til the soil in the 1860's up until the 1920's there was no reason to believe it wasn't true. Then the drought hit in the early 1930's and poor techniques of the day only expedited the process causing winds to carry the dirt in tremendous duststorms across the plains states. So when I captured this photograph it's what I had in mind, taking me back to those days when my grandparents and great-grandparents lived through one of the toughest times in history. I set the photograph in black and white to present it as a shot from the past, and the storm behind was a good reminder to be thankful when we are blessed with life giving thunderstorms.
Pure Oklahoma is one of those images that speaks to people because it's so relatable in everyday life here in the Sooner state. I captured it on a warm summer day as a cold front was moving through northern Oklahoma near Enid, and the storm took on a life of its own because of the color. I composed it with a windmill and water truck as the dirt was blowing. It wasn't the easiest photo to take because the wind was blowing at least 50 mph and it was one of those get in, get the shot and get out type of deals. I knew as soon as I sat down to review my photos from the day that this would be one that would stand out and it has become one of the top photos in my catalog.
The Texas plains can be a tough place. It's brutally hot in the summertime, it can be bone chilling cold in the winter. The storms are as severe as it gets in the spring and that's if you're not in the middle of a drought. This photograph kind of captures that essence. It just looks like it's in the middle of a tough place, all weathered and worn. But I'm sure if the walls could talk it would tell stories of pride, liveliness, perseverance and heartbreak. I can only imagine the last days this place was occupied as a home and someone loading up the old truck outside to start life over again somewhere else and shutting the doors for the final time.
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