This isn’t really about the picture, but the story behind it. The picture isn’t all that great, but making it was a bit more interesting than the image itself.
Every now and then I make the drive to Tulsa and about 40 minutes into the trip is a causeway across Keystone Lake. Immediately afterwards there is a gentle incline and at the top of the hill, a small road that turns south. If you look upwards as you cross the lake you can see a few houses on the bluffs overlooking the waterfront, and I have often thought about pulling over to take a picture. As with many photography situations there are always a thousand reasons to say no to that little voice in your head, but this time I decided to answer the call. Photographically speaking, that is.
I came prepared for the occasion too, with my X100F and a tripod and a plan. Well, sort of a plan. I had never been up to that neighborhood before so I didn’t really know what to look for or where to take pictures. I did some investigating on Google Earth and found what I thought would be a good vantage point, and before I left home I also set my camera just how I thought it would need to be when I got to the location: ISO 200 (base ISO for that camera), f/11, auto shutter speed, and ND filter activated. I had everything all ready to go, and was excited for a brief little photo adventure when I finally turned onto that little road at the top of the hill.
Almost immediately I ran into an issue I had not considered. The road was basically lined with a number of signs indicating that visitors were, in no uncertain terms, not welcome. I passed several Neighborhood Watch signs and got the feeling that my short visit to take a photo would be allowed a very little leeway. I don’t know how many signs I went past indicating that I should get back to the turnpike and mind my own business, but I got progressively more nervous with each one. Worse, I didn’t see any locations that would be good photo opportunities. I drove in a loop and eventually got back to the main road having never left my car but glad to have just made it out of there alive.
Then on the way back I realized…might as well go for it. If anyone asked me who I was or what I was doing I would just tell them I am taking a picture and hopefully that would be enough. I headed out from Tulsa, got to the road, turned south, and drove through the neighborhood with the (fake) confidence of someone who had lived there for ten years. I drove as far west as I could before coming across a sign that said “Prayer is the best way to meet God. Trespassing is the fastest.” That’s where I took this picture, taking care to stay on the road and not actually trespass on anyone’s property.
I was more than a little nervous so I didn’t spend too much time there. I hopped out, grabbed my camera and tripod, fired off a couple shots, and hightailed it outta there. (Tom Frye, if you’re reading this, you would have been proud.) I would have liked to spend some time walking around, looking for a better vantage point, and maybe even getting to know the residents but on this occasion I was happy just to have had the experience of taking a picture that was a little bit off the beaten path.