Oak Tree Photography bio picture

Bella the Hero Dog

A chocolate labrador retrieverI make no apologies whatsoever: I have a super soft spot in my heart for dogs. So, when a family shows up for their portraits, and they bring their dog with them, it’s all I can do to restrain myself and not blurt out, “Well, all of you just sit over there while I spend the entire session on your dog!” Willa and Kris showed up at their portrait shoot in Tulsa, Oklahoma with their chocolate lab, Bella. Like most retrievers, Bella displayed the typical behavior of her breed: extreme excitement at first,  quickly followed by the overpowering desire to lay down and nap! So, I made sure to catch Bella on the in between slide from one extreme to the other, when she was feelin’ pretty mellow. This shot is my favorite. It’s what I would call a “hero shot”: looking up at Bella as she gazes into the distance. The converging lines of the porch in the background add to the attention-getting sense of power that her position conveys. That Bella is a hero is true for two reasons: 1) she is a rescue dog, so she endured a lot before she came to her current—and permanent—home and 2) she is a joy and a companion to Willa and Kris in every possible way!

Tom Launius
Oak Tree Photography
918.729.0500

Ranch Panorama

Here is an image that I’ve been meaning to post for quite some time. It was taken back in August at the Double R Ranch in Centralia, Oklahoma. This is a marvelous ranch in Craig County, owned by a fine gentleman by the name of Frank Robson. Frank had me down for a few days to photograph their shipping day. While I was there, I had the chance to take this panorama, stitched together from seven (yes! seven!) separate images. I’m so pleased with how seamless it all came together. And, I like the fact that the image has no contrails in the sky, no power lines on the horizon, no motorized vehicles on the ground. If you didn’t know for sure that the image was taken in 2011, you could just as easily imagine that it was 1891. I like that. Vintage all the way.

Tom Launius
Oak Tree Photography
918.729.0500

 

Autumn Family

On a cloudy, late fall day, the Aston family met me at Stuart Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a chilly day for family portraits, but the daughter, Monica, who had organized the whole day for the family, was prepared for everything. She had a massive thermos of hot chocolate, extra wraps for family members when they weren’t in front of the camera, and even those high tech hand warmers, you know, the kind that activate when you shake them. So, with the family well equipped with a variety of warming strategies, they were cheerful and willing. And with me well equipped with my flash strobes to bring a sparkle of light to a drab cloudy day, we took portraits that made everyone look super.

Tom Launius
Oak Tree Photography
918.729.0500

A Natural “Portrait”

I love to photograph. I do! I wouldn’t be a professional photographer if I didn’t. So, when the slow winter months come along, I chafe. I want to be photographing! But, outdoor portraiture is a bit slow in the winter (I wonder why!?) So, when a mild day came my way today, I headed to the woods. To be specific, the Nature Reserve on the campus of Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma. There were no people to photograph, of course, so I photographed nature. The seed that you see in the photograph below is tiny in real life—about the size of a pin head. And the twig it’s attached to is the length of a pin. So, I used a “macro” lens to focus extremely close on the seed and thereby make it much larger in the final image.

I like this image. I like the ruddy red in the seed, the yellow in the lichen, the rough bark of the tree, and the woody vine bisecting the image half way up. The funny thing is that, even though this is a natural object and not a person, I always end up photographing aspects of nature as though they were a person. To me, this seed twig is like a high school senior, standing tall and relaxed. Or like an elderly gentlemen leaning towards the sun. Or, maybe this seed twig is me(!) looking forward to the coming spring, when I’ll once again be busy making great portraits out of doors.

Tom Launius
Oak Tree Photography
918.729.0500

The Photographer’s Family

So, photographers like nice portraits of their family, too. But, with the busy pace of the photographer’s life being what it is, that is sometimes one of the last things to happen. I’d been trying since last Christmas to take portraits of my family, but either the weather was atrocious, or someone was sick, or both, so last Christmas, last Easter, this past summer, and even this Thanksgiving, all came and went, and no family portrait. At long last, this Christmas, everything came together. The whole family was relaxed and feeling good, the weather was mild, we set aside some time and made it over to the Will Rogers Memorial in our home town of Claremore, Oklahoma. There is a beautiful portico there that is perfect for a family portrait. Of course, my wife and son and daughter were all in the picture but, for good measure, we included our two beloved dachshunds as well. If you happen to be wondering how it is that I am in the picture too, no, I did not have someone else press the shutter, nor did I use the self-timer in the camera. Instead, I used a wireless remote trigger to operate the camera. The remote is held in my hand that is hidden behind my back in the portrait. We all were pleased with how the portrait came out. It, along with separate portraits of my son and daughter that we took at the same time, are now hanging over the coach in our living room. Lovely!

Tom Launius
Oak Tree Photography
918.729.0500

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