Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Originally uploaded by Thorpeland
This past Saturday morning (after shooting bands till 1am), fellow photog Rocky Phillips and myself got up and hit the road at 8am headed North. Leaving Texas, crossing the Red River and into Oklahoma we went. Destination: Wichita Mountains! We'd been really excited about this photography road trip for some time. The chance to shoot interesting landscapes and a wide variety of wildlife would put a smile on any photographers face.

After the 3 hour drive we arrived hungry and headed straight for Meers Restaurant. Meers is pretty much a 100+ year old building, one of the last standing in this one time miner town, which now serves some of the best Long Horn burgers Ive ever had. Then again, I don't know where else Id find a Long Horn burger. I like them because the meat is much leaner than normal beef. Very tasty as well. Especially when you've been hiking in the local mountains and are starving! So Rocky and I chowed down and headed out to shoot.

First stop was Sunset Trail at the base of Elk Mountain. This zig-zag mile long trail winds its way up to one of the best views in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. The trail isn't overly challenging, as long as your not severely over weight or have bad knees. Really a fun hike. We reached the top in about 40 minutes and commenced shooting photos. We hung out up there for close to an hour, until we both felt we had a decent amount of good shots. Then began our hike down.

Something funny happened on our decent. We ran into a boy scout troupe headed up. We stopped and chatted briefly and the scout leader asked how much further. We told them about 10 more minutes to go. Then he asks me, "So, did you guys hike up here?" Thinking to myself I cannot imaging any other way i could have arrived in my current location I replied, "Well, I don't recall being dropped off by a helicopter". He just gave me an odd look and we moved on hiking down. Rocky found that little exchange pretty funny. We're still wondering what exactly he meant. lol

Once down we stopped at a large field where a heard of Bison (pictured) were grazing and playing. This was a joy to watch and photograph. We had to use caution though. Unlike normal cattle Buffalo are known to randomly charge if they feel you're too close. Thank goodness for zoom lenses and our car! hah Our shutters snapped away as these massive animals butted heads, jumped, rolled and pushed each other around playing. The weather has been getting warmer and as you can see in the photo, their winter coats are beginning to peel off. They are very powerful animals that move surprisingly quick. What a blast to shoot!

A few hours later, tired and running out of daylight, we hit the road for our three hour return drive. It was a full day, but it was fun and a Saturday well spent!

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