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.
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:
Kansas has a lot of green. Usually. Sometimes. Okay, where I live, it does.
During spring and summer, it’s easy to be green:
Even during winter, you can find something green:
But sometimes, you have to trek down back alleys to find it.
The ambience in Kansas varies from day to day, from season to season. Misty mornings give way to blazing afternoons; dust kicked up by plows and combines gives us hazy, yellowy sunsets. Spring has a green tint, but fall is gold.
I took this one two years ago, in a pasture near my house. I loved the play of the light and clouds against the dying grass. Truly one of those moments that lasts only a moment; the exact right light, the exact right time. Blink, and you’ll miss it.
It took me a while to find a photo to fit this week’s challenge to find a photo representative of our goals and ambitions for 2017. And I admit that this one might not, at first, seem to fit the bill:
BUT. It does. This is the old Joyland roller coaster, a major landmark in Wichita, KS. I was lucky enough to find twenty minutes one day to stop and photograph it. Joyland closed several years ago and the entire park was left to rot. But I wanted to shoot the roller coaster while I could. So I took this in November 2014.
In 2015, high winds damaged the coaster so badly that it had to be demolished.
So this photo has always been representative of the fact that we need to stop and photograph things whenever we can, even if conditions aren’t perfect, even if we think we don’t have time – because someday, maybe sooner than we think, they won’t be there. I often forget to do this, but in 2017, I’m going to make more of an effort to remember.
(Since my laptop died two weeks ago, I’m having to pull old photos off my Facebook page until I can get the files transferred . . .)
At any rate, last winter we had a little ice storm here in Kansas. Not too bad, but it made for some beautiful shots that next morning.
A couple of years ago, a member of our local camera club posted a few photos of this awesome old building he’d found while out driving back roads. We all begged him to give us directions – and we were all shattered when he said “I don’t know! I was just going down random roads . . .”
Which turned this mystery into a quest for several of us. And in rural Kansas, quests can be really cool and really dangerous at the same time. You just never know where you’ll end up, or when you’ll end up with a shotgun in your face.
Still . . . I found the building.
Today it’s an empty shell of a former church – but still beautiful. It reminds me of an old English church in the countryside – the Virginia creeper, the stonework.
The quest to find a nameless old building has turned into a love affair that still has several of us traveling to the site a few times a year to photograph it and just keep an eye on things. 🙂
I forgot about this last week!
I took this shot a year ago on a photo walk around my home town. It’s one of only two decent bird photos I’ve ever taken. 🙂 He’s sitting on the edge of an overhang that’s on the front of one of our historic buildings – an Art Deco wonder that’s been empty for ages.