I have traveled through eastern New Mexico many times, usually on the way to somewhere more “scenic” like the Rocky Mountains or points west. The wide open landscape always intrigued me and I vowed some day to return to this land of huge vista’s and open skies and spend time exploring this world with my camera.
I chose the area along the New Mexico/Colorado border to explore. The land is cut with huge ravines and large plateaus, which are dotted with unimaginably large ranches. Out in this part of the country the measure ranches in square miles, not in acres. Unlike parts of Nevada and Arizona, the land is not desolate. To the casual observer passing through on Interstate 40 it may seem desolate, but the land is actually teaming with wildlife and cattle – lots of cattle. While on my trip I saw wild turkey, hundreds of deer, both mule and whitetail, buffalo, hundreds of pronghorn antelope, and a host of other wildlife adapted to this environment. What you don’t see is a lot of people.
I had just purchased a new Sigma 8mm fisheye lens to use in 360 degree panorama photography and decided to give it a try while on my trip. It is very difficult to capture the expansiveness of the land with a camera, but an immersive 360 degree pano helps you experience the world. Just click with your mouse on the picture and drag around to see a full 360 degrees around in a circle, up and down.
On my way west I stopped in western Oklahoma near the Saddleback Wildlife Management area which is right on the border between Oklahoma and Texas along the Canadian River. Since the State of Oklahoma is a pain about camping in the area, I drove on down the road a bit and found an empty field to camp in. As is typical for me, I drove down a dirt road for a ways then found an old trail that led off about a mile into the back country and camped there. It was a bit warm but a nice Oklahoma breeze kept the bugs at bay and my temperature in my tent bearable. The next morning after breaking camp I drove up the road and caught the sunrise over the Oklahoma countryside.
As the day grew hotter I traveled north and west up to the Oklahoma Panhandle, where the wheat harvest had just started. I kept off the main roads and traveled on lightly used two lane blacktop and dirt roads through the southern edge of the Oklahoma Panhandle. This panorama shows the wide open places in the wheat fields of the Oklahoma panhandle.
For this pano I was on the plains of southeastern Colorado, maybe 10 miles north of the New Mexico border. The dirt roads in the area crisscross the borders so without a GPS you never know exactly which state you are in.
This was my first night camp site right on the Colorado/New Mexico border about 50 miles from Oklahoma. I wound my way on about 80 miles of dirt roads, then drove up a cow path about two miles to find this very secluded camping spot.
I followed a huge thunderstorm across eastern New Mexico one evening. I just missed the rain and hail and ended up getting some awesome pictures as the sun set. I camped that night under the stars out on the lonely plains with nothing but coyotes yapping to keep me company.