Category Archives: Photography

Capturing Oklahoma’s Big Sky: How Audrey Dodgen Sees HOME

"It's like 'Vivian Leigh plays Laurie in Oklahoma!'" ~ Photo by Audrey Dodgen
“It’s like ‘Vivian Leigh plays Laurie in Oklahoma!'” I told Dodgen during a Twitter conversation ~ Photo by Audrey Dodgen (low-density rendering; see website within article for full resolution prints for sale)

“Clean lines, compelling color palettes, refined sense of balance, and the greatest subject matter on earth.”  Thoughts like these run through my mind as I work my way through Audrey Dodgen’s portfolio.

An editorial and commercial photographer who calls Oklahoma her home, Dodgen describes a gravitational pull that seems to draw her back to our state, regardless of where she goes walkabout for a period of time.

“I was born and raised here, and while I’ve lived other places, I keep coming back here. It’s not perfect, but it’s my home, and I love it like no other place,” she wrote during a social media discussion.

A sense of place, the air of familiarity, the peace that recaptures your soul when return home…emotions paralleling these phrases are interlaced within Dodgen’s images. Perhaps most especially a collection entitled “HOME” she has been recently compiling.

If you’ve ever longed to stop your vehicle, breach a barbed wire boundary, and walk among sweet, freshly cut hay bales, her shots have captured that experience for you.

If you’ve ever driven I-40 across downtown Oklahoma City and wished you had time, or the right equipment, to photograph the Scissortail of Skydance Bridge, no need. She’s done that for you with a degree of perfection I could certainly not reach.

And, if you, like Dodgen, ever leave Oklahoma and need a piece of “home” to take with you, her website can most likely fix you right up.

Nice work, Audrey Dodgen. Thanks for standing under our big sky and taking it all in.

“Every Point on the Map” or Why My Heart Has the Flutters

Have you ever had an idea spark at some point in your brain, move from the incubation stages slowly and deliberately, then continuously remerge in your consciousness until it demands to be reckoned with?

I would imagine those types of ideas are the fabric from which “Bucket Lists” are constructed.  They’re the kinds of ideas that send little currants of electricity down your spine, or through your teeth.  They’re the visions that, when played out in your head, give your heart a little flutter, or awaken the butterflies in your stomach.

They’re the kinds of ideas that aren’t uttered aloud until you can own them.  And, until you can own the results of your utterances.

One such result might be that by uttering your idea aloud, you’ve implied some kind of social contract with the person who heard you.  Or, perhaps a contract with yourself.

Some people blurt their ideas in the early stages, before they’re fully developed.  Others harbor them covertly until they’ve weighed every risk associated and every aspect or contingency.  I fall more into the second camp.  And that’s why it’s not until NOW that I’ve decided to publicly announce a project I’ll be starting in February called, “Every Point on the Map.”

Every Point on the Map will be a ten year journey to visit each one of Oklahoma’s 593 townships or cities and have a meaningful conversation with one person in each place.  My daughter will be traveling with me, documenting the journey through two types of digital video and with two different cameras.  Every Point on the Map is something of a “bucket list-type” idea that has been incubating for a while, and by virtue of writing this beginning post – to me – it’s like forming a social contract with Oklahomans at large.  To me, it’s like the beginning of trying to introduce the idea.  And, to introduce you to the “why” behind the idea. Continue reading “Every Point on the Map” or Why My Heart Has the Flutters

Mission Statements for the Essence of Parent-Daughter Living

Friends, our contributor group is a special collective of talented, loving, thinking folks.  In our short time together, I’ve become very endeared to them. It might be because when people write, you see their souls.  And, reading their souls each night has made me feel close to them – even though I don’t spend much time with them.  In a few weeks (or perhaps longer), one of our contributors will be revealing a project he’s been working on; it’s a contest of sorts, and is a cool thing.  He’s given me permission to preview a few of the images attached to this project.  They are simply photos, with life statements for parents regarding their daughters.  I hope you enjoy the preview glimpse, and I look forward to when he’s ready for the “big reveal.”   – Red Dirt Kelly, on behalf of [michael]

Continue reading Mission Statements for the Essence of Parent-Daughter Living

Silent Sunday: Relay for Life at South Intermediate H.S., Broken Arrow, June 3, 2011

Thank you to Mark Rusling, Melissa Davis and Preston Power of the Tulsa Digital Photography Group, for sharing their work this morning.  Our thoughts go out to all victims, survivors, families and friends of those affected by the vast number of cancers in the world.  May your Race bring you the Cure you are seeking. All the best ~ The Red Dirt Chronicles Writing Team Continue reading Silent Sunday: Relay for Life at South Intermediate H.S., Broken Arrow, June 3, 2011

Silent Sunday – The Work of Rachel Apple: Maud, Oklahoma

Our photographer this week is not new to the Red Dirt Chronicles.  When the site rolled out in August of last year, she put together a collection we featured in our header section for several months.  She’s also served as a photographer for a few of our essays, and put this self-portrait together as a fun entry for our “RDC Best Red Dirt Inspired Photograph.”  Rachel is a senior photography major at the University of Oklahoma School of Art and has completed her studies for an Art History Minor.

During a recent course, she shot a landscape assignment by traveling to Maud and doing a series in black and white using a large format land camera on 4X5 film.  We hope you enjoy your trip through Maud as seen by Rachel’s lens. Continue reading Silent Sunday – The Work of Rachel Apple: Maud, Oklahoma

Silent Sunday: The Work of Joy Franklin

About twice each week I check on “Expedition OK,” Joy Franklin’s photography blog.  These past few weeks have provided us with photos of her kitty, four-wheeling’, a Rattlesnake Festival, and much more.  Two of my favorites were the University of Science and Arts “Droverstock” festival and some quiet moments looking over love letters written by her grandparents.  Here is just a taste of that work.  See the bottom of this post for more information about Joy, her blog, and how to follow her on Twitter. Have a great Silent Sunday ~ [kelly]

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso


Continue reading Silent Sunday: The Work of Joy Franklin

Silent Sunday: Poetry and Flowers

Today I’m providing a photo or two from one of my gardener friends, Alice Woodrome.  I’m also sharing a poem written by a family friend, Marvellena Scott, for her husband, Kermit.  Both of these guest contributors clearly have the wisdom and beauty of more years of life and love behind them than I.  I’m so glad to share their work with you today.  Happy Silent Sunday ~ Kelly

Taken at the Dallas Arboretum a few years ago - By Alice Woodrome of Oklahoma City.

Together Still

by Marvellena Scott

Let me hold your hand as we go downhill,

We’ve shared our strength and we share it still.

It hasn’t been easy to make the climb,

But the way was eased by your hand in mine. Continue reading Silent Sunday: Poetry and Flowers

Silent Sunday?: Vroom, Vroom! Images by George Thomas

1957 Chevy Nomad - photo by George Thomas. All images in this post are copyrighted by the photographer and are not to be used without his express permission.

I love it when one photographer mentions another, and they in turn mention another, and so on.  That’s the beauty of Oklahoma.  Talented people, willing to share the love.  That’s how we found our photographer for this week.  George Thomas is a resident of Stillwater and was referred to us by Michael Stano, our featured artist last week.  George spent a good deal of his life right in the heart of the automotive area of the U.S., then came to Oklahoma with that experience to share.  And, to love through his lens…at car shows.  This week, we’ll be featuring photos from his Flickr account taken at the Perkins Car Show in 2010, and the Stillwater Elks Car Show in 2009.  However, he has many more and we encourage you to visit his site to view more of his work.  This particular selection is ONLY cars…but his tastes and shots include a wide range of interests.  Have a great Silent Sunday, and we hope you find yourself behind the mental wheel of some of these absolutely beautiful specimens! Continue reading Silent Sunday?: Vroom, Vroom! Images by George Thomas

Silent Sunday: The Work of Michael Stano

Route 66 Bridge Over Lake Overholser ~ by Michael Stano (all images in this post are copyrighted exclusively by the featured photographer)

When highlighting Oklahomans for our Silent Sunday series, I’m always amazed at the variety of backgrounds covered by those who are also excellent photographers.  Such is the case with Judge Michael Stano, or…Michael Stano the photographer, of Stillwater.

I like signing into his “Zenfolio” website just to hear the relaxing threads of music accompanying me while searching through his images.  I also like the way his “Photographer” section begins the story of how he was introduced to his first camera.  Here’s an excerpt:

A way of seeing….

While in Cub Scouts, which must have been in the mid-50s, I used plans in Boys’ Life to build a pin-hole camera. The camera “body” was a Folger’s one-pound coffee can. The “lens” was a nail hole poked through the can, and the “shutter” was a piece of electrical tape over the hole. The inside of the can was painted black, and there was a sheet film holder made of cardboard. I don’t remember if I actually took any photos with the Folger’s can, but I was obviously interested in photography at an early age. Continue reading Silent Sunday: The Work of Michael Stano

Silent Sunday: Spring Over Red Dirt Country

Last night the "super moon" provided a big show for millions of people. Here's just one shot from our back yard, taken by Rylee Roberts.


Easily 100,000 or more pink tulip bulbs are now up and blooming along Western in the beautiful Chesapeake Energy flower beds...turn onto 63rd Street, head east, and see even more of them!

Continue reading Silent Sunday: Spring Over Red Dirt Country

Silent Sunday Afternoon Edition: 3/6/11 ~ Jessica Wolloscheck, Senior Portfolio

Jessica’s words about this series: This album was put together my senior year of college while studying photography.  The inspiration was derived from a box of old family photographs I found. The end result was a series of self-portraits in which I wanted to bring to life the Valium, drug, and alcohol abuse of women during the 60’s and 70’s.

Editor’s note: Next month is Alcohol Awareness Month.  We’re publishing this series now in order to provide a short moment of time to think about whether or not you, your loved ones or someone you know could take advantage of the multiple free screenings or help and resources that will be available beginning April 1st.  Thanks, Red Dirt Kelly

Continue reading Silent Sunday Afternoon Edition: 3/6/11 ~ Jessica Wolloscheck, Senior Portfolio

Silent Sunday: Ghost Towns, Delapidated Properties and Abandoned Structures ~ by James Corbridge

Introduction: Some of you have seen our “Oklahoma Blog” ring badge on the far right lower section of our front page.  I search through the members at times to see what people in Oklahoma are doing.  This was the way I found some photos by James Corbridge that made me reflect, appreciate times past, be sad for communities lost, and wonder what happened to some of them.  Although James’ repertoire is extensive, I’m just publishing a few shots from a particular section of his Flickr account with his permission today.  Thanks, James, for traveling around and bringing the images to us. ~ Editor, Red Dirt Chronicles

Of his time in Picher, OK James wrote: "I licked my lips. I should not have done that. From that point on, the taste in my mouth was like sucking on coins and everything smelled like a piggy bank. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, but my head felt strange. The sun was blazing hot and my hair was soaked in sweat. I forgot all about all of these things when I saw the structures in the distance. Before I knew it, I was running across the toxic mounds of mining waste. I realized that I could not see the car or hear noises from the road. As much as I wanted to inspect the ruins, I stopped running and took a photo where I was. I turned and followed my footprints back. For a moment, I got lost. The footprints were not my own."

Continue reading Silent Sunday: Ghost Towns, Delapidated Properties and Abandoned Structures ~ by James Corbridge

Silent Sunday: 2/20/10 ~ Sissy Osteen’s Work

I was inspired to enjoy photography by my father, Benoit, who took photos and developed them in the darkroom. He really loved the Polaroid camera and I remember how fascinated I was when he would pull out the photo and rub the solution across. I took pictures most of my life. My sister, Roxanna, was an artist in every way. When she picked up the camera, I put it down. I knew I could not compete. When she died on 2004, I picked up the camera again and determined that I would be the eye for both of us. I believe that taking pictures can help anyone develop an ability for capturing details that others may not necessarily see, bringing into view a new perspective of the subject portrayed. To facilitate that for myself I always sit next to the window, watch the changes in light and shadow and look behind me when I shoot.

Flowers are a fascination and joy to me. They are like jewelry and contribute color and beauty to the landscape in their own time. Close up, they exhibit an almost unnatural variation in color, texture and even movement. Landscapes and architecture are another favorite as they often combine soft and hard textures in a complete package. I think the contrast between what nature creates and humans construct is interesting. Charleston, SC is one of my favorite places to photograph because of the history, but visiting Italy is a photographers dream. Everything in view is a picture.

These pictures are a combination of my favorite flowers and architecture. Additionally, I took the last picture from an airplane as I realized we were flying into a storm. Someone even asked if I took it through the window of the plane! I hardly knew what to say.

~ Sissy Osteen

Continue reading Silent Sunday: 2/20/10 ~ Sissy Osteen’s Work

The Walls of My Home Have Become My Refrigerator Door

Earlier this week I wrote a post about a whiteboard on my refrigerator. I was surprised to realize that what used to be covered in childhood art created in elementary school or in spontaneous ways at home was no longer there. “The art studio (refrigerator)” is being used for its purpose now, and that’s about it.  I remember just last year sorting through all of Rylee’s school paper piles; we pulled out the neatly stacked and tied piles representing each year…she kept the selections she loved the best, and the rest got recycled.  Rylee is 19 and my eldest is 23.

I realized, however, that with the emerging of the refrigerator door and sides of the appliance (they’re nearly clean now) came the decorating of the walls in my home and made me think of a tall wine cooler.  Both my girls are artists. Rachel studies art in college and Rylee is studying to enter an artistic vocation.  There are samples of their work all over my home.  Here, let me take you on a tour:

This is an image by Rachel I see when I wake up in the morning. It is on my west bedroom wall. The morning light plays with the sketched lines influencing the image to range from dreamy to wistful.

Continue reading The Walls of My Home Have Become My Refrigerator Door

Silent Sunday: 2/6/11 ~ Images From Other Oklahoma Websites We Like

Zach Gray is a really special asset to Oklahoma. From Ada, he currently resides at Stillwater. Both his blog and Flickr site are something else. If you'd like to see photos of the Bedlam game that have a great perspective (as good or better than some of the major sports outlets), visit his Flickr site by clicking this photo. If you'd like to visit his blog, you can get there by visiting his Flickr profile. Zach, your work is beautiful!
We've not yet introduced you to Dee Nash and her "Red Dirt Ramblings" blog about her garden. This photo caption from her site mentioned that she and her watering can were waiting for Spring. Click this photo to visit her site and her "Ramblings." Dee does a great job and we're glad to have her as part of the Red Dirt family-hood. (We've added her onto our blog roll today so you can find her if you want to go there from here.)

Continue reading Silent Sunday: 2/6/11 ~ Images From Other Oklahoma Websites We Like

Silent Sunday: 1/16/11 ~ Bridges Over Oklahoma County Creeks and Rivers

Mark “The Howard” Hinderliter is one of our RDC contributors who also drives around the state.  A lot.  He’s a geotechnical engineer and does soil and sub-surface testing for various projects that invariably lead him across the creeks and rivers of Oklahoma.  And, underneath the bridges to take photos.  A few weeks back, some of our readers were having a conversation about the funky creek names in Oklahoma.  Here are a few of their comments:

Dog Thrasher Creek. I don’t remember exactly where it was but around Pawhuska to Drumright-Pawnee area of Oklahoma..

‎@Mike – somewhere (I think close to Woodward?) I drove by Skunk Creek.

One of my friends, (name omitted), told me that on road trips with her grand-kids they played a “game” of sorts where they would try to decide why a creek got its name. I’ll try to send you a pic of Hog Shooter Creek soon. We have some great names in NE Okla.

There’s “Suck Creek” but that’s down around Chattanooga.

Anyway, you get the picture…then Mark chimed in and said he had photos of several creeks in Oklahoma…and, well, there’s our Silent Sunday “trip” for you today. He wrote about these photos he loaded for you, “The great old bridges of Oklahoma display a lot of different designs but they are being replaced. Enjoy these pictures, but be grateful you won’t have to drive across them anymore.”

Unnamed Creek ~ Haskell County

Continue reading Silent Sunday: 1/16/11 ~ Bridges Over Oklahoma County Creeks and Rivers

Silent Equestrian and Western Sunday: 1/09/11

Thank you to  Jeanie Eaton and her Rural Expressions concept by for selecting some of her work to share with us this morning.  Her venues consist of, Lazy E Arena, Feather Creek Farm, Tulsa Expo , Claremore Expo and various Breeding Farms across the state.  The events consists of : Hunter Jumper, Dressage, Barrel Racing, Rodeo, Eventing, and Breed Shows.  Jeanie is the webmaster for Oklahoma Dressage Society and Co-Organizer for Tulsa Digital Photography Group. ~ Enjoy your Silent Sunday.

Continue reading Silent Equestrian and Western Sunday: 1/09/11

Almost Silent Sunday: 1/2/2011 – Boe’s Sunrise Stories

I’ve known Boe Parrish since he was the Children’s Minister at MetroChurch back in the early 90s.  I first saw him providing a chapel service for the Oklahoma Christians Schools (OCS) elementary group.  The students were sitting on the floor in an auditorium, and he was standing on the stage sharing an object lesson with them in what I can only describe as a loving and regulated voice.  As I leaned against the back wall waiting for chapel to be over so I could take my daughter to the dentist, I asked someone his name.  Later, I began teaching at the OCS high school and saw him from time to time on campus.  A few years later I recall that he wrote a book.  Then I think I saw him on and off at Panera Bread in Edmond for several years, either having breakfast by himself or with a friend – sometimes praying, sometimes studying, sometimes listening. Later he was helpful in facilitating information about a former student who got hit by an SUV while out of state, then again…facilitating information about a dear friend who recently died.  Boe has been in the periphery of my life for a good long time now.

As I was preparing this post I kept thinking back to my memories of interactions with Boe.  My predominant thought is to recall him looking up, meeting my eyes, and smiling.  His smile hasn’t changed and is almost an institution in the City of Edmond.  It genuinely warms my spirit each time I meet the glance of his face.  Which leads me to the reason I’m sharing his narrative with you today…

Boe has been posting snapped photos of early morning sunrises in Oklahoma on Facebook for quite some time.  His folder now has over 40 of them.  He’ll post one about every week or so…sometimes a few at a time.  I always enjoyed them but never knew the context for which he was gathering these brief moments of outdoor beauty or why he shares them.  Now I do.  It seems that he’s somewhat of a transportation service provider to a couple of his family members…but I’ll let you read the story in his own words.  Then I’ll share with you a few of his “Simply Glorious” (his title for the photo folder in which he stores them) sunrises he’s enjoyed over the past year or so.  Okay, I’m sharing nineteen of them.  So, for your “Almost Silent Sunday” moment with the RDC, here are Bo’s Sunrise Stories, provided in his words and with his cell phone or camera:

Continue reading Almost Silent Sunday: 1/2/2011 – Boe’s Sunrise Stories

Why Thursday Evening Shout Outs and Kleenex Boxes Go Together

He’s professional without being uncomfortable.  He’s nice.  He’s creative and has a keen interest in helping reveal the beauty of life within his subjects.  In an attempt to reduce a personality and business of positive complexities into a cohesive concept, his website reads:

“There are two things you need to know about me. I enjoy life and I believe in creating images that make you feel something.”

Carl Zoch went into full-time photography business only a few short years ago.  He and his wife had to talk about it.  And think about it. And part of those discussions were about Carl’s desire to learn more and more about the subject of photography until he had exhausted his capacity to learn.  He is still not done.  However, his business and business model is beginning to take shape.

He only books 25 weddings per year.  He’s become well connected and referred within the photographer community of Oklahoma.  He is linked occasionally to other creative ventures or people such as Dusty Gilpin at Tree and Leaf (who, by the way, just designed our RDC T-Shirts).

And, his work is very good.  I invite you to spend some time reviewing his website at your leisure.  I like the background music he’s chosen for his slides, and I like his open and willing communication style when I e-mail him, asking to publish an image for our “Silent Sunday” features.  But I think more than anything today, I like him because he just sent the proofs of my daughter’s engagement photos to her in a slideshow…and because they made me cry.

Continue reading Why Thursday Evening Shout Outs and Kleenex Boxes Go Together

Silent Sunday: 12/19/10 ~ Tulsa Town, by Vlad Railian

This morning our Silent Sunday post is completely focused on Tulsa.  Because quite a few of our contributors live in central Oklahoma, we want to make sure and let Tulsa know they are in our hearts as well.  All images have been provided by Vlad Railian, an amateur photographer from the Tulsa area.  We’re certainly glad you’re living in Tulsa Town, Vlad…and for showing us some of what your city has to offer.  One final note, the LED photos aren’t necessarily “Tulsa,” per se – I just liked them and thought they might be appreciated as Christmas lights with a twist. ~ RDK

Rhema Building

Continue reading Silent Sunday: 12/19/10 ~ Tulsa Town, by Vlad Railian