This will be a little odd for this week’s, but it sort of fits.
The 14th Street Bridge has served Winfield since 1928. For thousands of 4-H kids, it’s served as a rite of passage – to cross the bridge pulling a livestock trailer is scary! For thousands of Bluegrass fans, it’s served as a gateway to the best month of the year.
But this was its last weekend. Tomorrow, demolition starts, and the last awesome, historic, beautiful bridge left in Winfield will be a memory.
Happily, there was a group of people who weren’t going to let it go quietly. On Saturday, a group of classic car enthusiasts gathered to take a “Last Drive” across the bridge, and send her out in style.
Model A’s and T’s, 1950s Chevies . . . all came out to pay their respects a final time.
The weather changes constantly in Kansas, taking its toll on everything. This old fence post is one I’ve photographed many times, in many different lights. I love the grain of the wood, the knots, the way the barbed wire blends in perfectly with the silvery-black wood.
This old bridge is one of the eighteen stone arch bridges of Cowley County, KS (where I live – we had 19 until last fall). This is Timber Creek Bridge, built c. 1920 and still used daily by the locals. As you can see, it’s quite weathered, however – you certainly don’t want to take a very heavy load across! – but it’s still standing.
I know this may seem like an odd choice for my 2017 favorite, but . . . oh well!
This photo was taken in August. A severe thunderstorm had just blown through the area; when it was gone, there was just enough daylight left to go out and take a few shots. It was one of those wild nights when the sun is fading fast, and the clouds scuttle across the sky . . . and I swung the camera around and clicked. The sepia tones, the movement, the drama – the second I saw this photo framed in the viewfinder, I knew it was good. I knew it. A month later, this photo took top honors in the first photography contest I’d ever entered.
There are a lot of ways to interpret this week’s Challenge! But for me, living in the country, I immediately think of nature.
The seeds of this dandelion are just waiting to ascend on the next wind, so I can photograph them again when they take root and produce new dandelions!
I have NO idea how this frog ascended to this height! This pipe is about 8 feet off the ground, but one morning as I was feeding horses – there he was!
The trumpet vines ascend everything, including the trees . . .
. . . and when you’re really lucky, they provide some great shots!
This week’s challenge asked us to give a peek at something, or to give just enough detail to pique the viewer’s interest. I thought I’d see if any of these fit the bill.
This is taken through the window of an old house about a mile from mine. It’s mostly gone now, but I love the illusion of being able to peek inside through the windows (even though the walls are really gone!).
And this was the last photo I took of my old horse Bodie. I had to have him put to sleep shortly after. I love that the focal point of this photo is his large, dark, kind eye. Everyone who knew him commented on how kind his eyes were. He was truly one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ horses.
This week’s challenge asks us to photograph something that glows.
The ‘Golden Hour’ is a time that Kansas photographers know well. It’s difficult for me to get out in the mornings – but the evenings, especially in the fall, are incredibly special. If you can get the light and clouds just right, you can get magical shots.
This shot, I took in late August. We’d just had a late-evening thunderstorm, and in the minutes after it passed, I grabbed the camera and went out. I wasn’t the only one – photographers I know across the area were slamming on brakes, cutting across traffic, grabbing cameras, and abandoning plans to capture the ever-changing light! The amazing thing was, no matter where the county our photos were taken, they were all the same incredible sepia-toned images. This one was basically straight from the camera.
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.
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.
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.
Or this Rose of Sharon.
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.
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.
Fall leaf curled against the trunk of a tree.
Ice on – okay, I don’t know what the plant’s called, but it’s common in Kansas!
Native limestone – the lions are gutter spouts, by the way! Our old high school.
And, of course, the juxtaposition of silky-soft and tough and spiky, from the thistle.
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.
The light changes. Furious hail storms give way to rainbows.
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.
And 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!)
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.