This is a difficult time to photograph wildlife at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The Johnson Grass growing next to the road blocks my view of most wildlife. Employees at the refuge keep lots of it mowed near the auto tour road but this invasive plant grows and spreads rapidly.

My Pickup at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

My Pickup at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

Johnson Grass isn’t the only plant that grows tall at the refuge. Most of the fields are planted with corn and soybeans, and the corn stalks tower overhead this time of year.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy visiting this refuge during the summer. Several times I’ve climbed into the back of my pickup truck to see over the Johnson Grass and photograph Whitetail Deer. Over the years I’ve gotten some great photos of Whitetail Bucks feeding in the cornfields with just their heads poking above the stalks.

This time of year you’ll see that I photograph a lot of snakes and turtles on the auto tour road since they are often the only wildlife I can see. I’ll also do plenty of macro shots of interesting insects I find along the roadside.

Today my pickup truck was parked on a road leading to the Baker Parking area by Sally Jones Lake. One side of the road was planted with corn this year. The other side was left to grow wild, never mowed or plowed.

I stood in the road hand-holding my Fujifilm X-T3 camera with a Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens attached via a Fringer EF-FX Pro adapter. My camera settings were:

  • Aperture Priority Mode
  • f/8 aperture
  • ISO: 1600
  • 1/240 second shutter speed
  • -0.07 exposure value
  • 135 mm focal length

Even with the challenges, I enjoy searching for glimpses of wildlife at one of my favorite refuges. The variety of habitats at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge means there are always photographic opportunities if you’re willing to hunt for them.

Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer