Photo Challenge: Windows

I photograph a lot of old buildings in my area. Most are on private land and I can’t go inside, so I’m lucky if I get shots that allow me to see inside, through the windows.

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This is an old church north of my home town. I’ve photographed it many times, but the light has to be exactly right to see inside. And truthfully, I’m usually more interested in the windows!

This one is from the 101 Ranch – or what’s left of it – in Marland, OK. It is permissible to go inside the few buildings (ruins) that are left. It was December when I was there, so the black and white seemed ideal to use with the starkness of the winter day.

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Photo Challenge: Structure

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I love to shoot flowers in black and white. Sometimes we get caught up in the colors and forget to look at the intricate structures – as with this large dandelion.

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Or this Rose of Sharon.

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Or this zinnia. In color, it’s a brilliant reddish-pink – but in black and white, we can see the structure of the petals, curled tight in the center, and gently unfolding near the edges.

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Photo Challenge: Texture

Like most photographers, I’m interested in subject matter – and that subject matter is very rarely texture! It’s hard to capture the feel of something in a one-dimensional format. So finding some photos I thought would work was a bit difficult – hopefully, I’ve managed to convey the texture of the subjects.

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Fall leaf curled against the trunk of a tree.

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Ice on – okay, I don’t know what the plant’s called, but it’s common in Kansas!

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Native limestone – the lions are gutter spouts, by the way! Our old high school.

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And, of course, the juxtaposition of silky-soft and tough and spiky, from the thistle.

 

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Photo Challenge: Satisfaction

When I was sick this summer, Maximus Imperius and his brother Tiny kept me company. Unfortunately, I tend to forget how bloody smart they are! One day, Maximus saw me pulling a tissue from the box and . . .

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Afterwards, when I had cleaned up the mess, he just looked downright smug. I think he was quite satisfied with how clever he’d been.

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Photo Challenge: Transient

Not to get all maudlin on y’all . . . but the older you get, the more you realize that everything is transient. Especially in Kansas, the original ‘fly-over state.’ Day to day, moment to moment, it all changes.

storm 1The light changes. Furious hail storms give way to rainbows.

 

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Butterflies give you a few seconds’ grace before they fly away. The wildflowers, too, have their own set rhythm – the Indian paintbrush blooms for just a week or so before being usurped by the St. John’s Wort.

turtle 1And turtles. Turtles have set territories, but oh my God, are they transient! This little guy ended up in my front yard. (And I do mean little – the size of a quarter. Amazing that he’ll grow up to weigh nearly 20 pounds!)

 

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As a historian, I find it sad that even the buildings seem transient. This old barn has been a favorite of local photographers for a long time – but how much longer will it hang on?

The best a photographer can do is try to capture at least a few of those moments before they, too, flee.

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Photo Challenge: Focus

I hate photos that are out of focus! In fact, I delete them. But sometimes, the blurry background adds an accent to the foreground object. Then, it’s okay. 🙂

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This is a dandelion I shot a couple of months ago, on a very dewy morning. I loved the way the tiny droplets of water clung to the fragile stems.

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And this lovely little wildflower – weed? – was shot earlier this month. I thought it fit well with this week’s theme.

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Photo Challenge: Danger!

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This is one of my favorite bridges – the iron bridge east of Blackwell, OK. It was built in the 1920s and has been closed for decades – ever since a new road/bridge was built. The bridge itself still seems in good condition, and I’ve walked it. But lest you miss the point with all the trees and shrubs and the mound of sand and gravel in the way, both ends also have these lovely warning signs.

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Photo Challenge: Surprise!

One of the cool things about Kansas is that you literally never know what’s coming up next. Storms can pop up out of nowhere. Three-foot long copperheads can cross your path. The dog brings you a live armadillo. (No, the armadillo wasn’t happy. Yes, I made the dog let him go.) Life’s just full of surprises.

Lots of photographers I know just love to go out driving. Saturday afternoon, pack up the car and hit the road with a map and hope the cell service holds out – just to see what’s on all those dirt roads. Last year, I headed east of Winfield looking for a 1920s bridge that was about to be torn down. I didn’t find the bridge – I was late by about a day – but as I was trying to find my way back, I saw a chimney off in the distance. The closer I got, the cooler the place looked, until finally, I could see it.

Or what was left of it, anyway.

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Surprisingly, it’s STILL THERE! Or was the last time I drove out to see it, anyway. I honestly don’t know how, though.

Here’s a close-up of the second story:

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Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green

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Kansas has a lot of green. Usually. Sometimes. Okay, where I live, it does.

During spring and summer, it’s easy to be green:

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Even during winter, you can find something green:

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But sometimes, you have to trek down back alleys to find it.

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Photo Challenge: Against All Odds

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I live in Kansas. Rural Kansas. Backwater, backwoods, back of nowhere Kansas. You’ve got Fords and Chevys and that’s it. I mean, I drive a Mini Cooper and no one even knows what that is! Which is why this story is definitely Against All Odds:

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I’m a Top Gear fan to the max. Lambos, Porsches, McLarens, Bugattis – the lot. One day a couple of years ago, I was driving home and – zoom. Right past me. No time to see more than an angled hood and bright orange, but . . . I KNEW. I called my best friend – “I SAW A LAMBORGHINI!” He was dubious, to say the least. I think he laughed, in fact.

A week later, on a run for milk . . . I see it. In my home town. Sitting. Unattended. Well. Sort of. Let’s say I was a bit surprised to find I was not the only admirer! So against all odds, in my rural neck of the woods, there’s a Lamborghini. And, against all odds, the camera on my cell phone was actually working (who thinks they’re going to encounter a Lamborghini sitting unattended on a milk run? Seriously?), so I was able to get some shots. Not great shots – but enough to show my friends. 🙂

(Sadly, the Lambo does not live here. It was only visiting. I miss it.)

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