“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” Anne Frank
While traveling the back roads of Kansas I am always looking for old houses and barns to photograph. This abandoned house sits a few miles from where I grew up. It sits inconspicuously on a hill hidden by trees from the highway that runs behind it that is less than a mile away. These old homes have so many stories tucked away in their walls and I am always challenged to tell their story. This was a late spring day just as the sun was setting and a storm was moving in.
One of the projects that I am currently working on is highlighting the state of Kansas. I am working on photographing the landscape, historical places, but also some abandoned towns (ghost towns). This building is the last remains of Silkville, KS in Franklin County. The schoolhouse sits close to the current town of Williamsburg.
The town was established in 1870 by French immigrants who wanted to establish a town that relied on the silk trade. The town was prosperous at first, but slowly declined. In 1916 the remains of the town burned leaving the only three stone buildings, the school and two barns. The school is all that fully remains today.
I spent some time photographing the schoolhouse as mist fell. The fog created left a kind of eery feeling on the day as I photographed this historical and abandoned building. As I photograph more I find that old buildings have a great story to tell.
On a warm winter day I went for a drive with my father. We had driven out into the country so that I could photograph the grave of a Civil War veteran from the area for the local museum. On our way back I took a long detour to see what I could capture. I drive the country roads around my home town of Richmond, KS pretty regularly in the summer when I am there, but winter brings a different perspective that I rarely get to see.
As the sun began to set the light became perfect for photographing the landscape. I got out of the car and walked along this country road snapping pictures and taking advantage of the light. This tree has always been a fascination for me. As long as I can remember it has sat along the side of the road all alone, like many trees in Kansas. As the light fell I got down on one knee in the middle of the road and took this shot. I love the feeling of the emptiness of the prairie that it gives me. It is a reminder of home, but also that there is a road leading there. I love the peace and tranquility of the light as the sun sets. I hope you enjoy it and please share what it says to you.
Sunset and sunrise are a great time to get out and photograph. In Kansas the wide open spaces allow a photographer to see for miles. Even when I am not planning on spending much time in the field I do try to get out to find the a good spot in the mornings and evenings when I am home. The flat land and vast spaces can create some amazing colors.
In this shot I was set up trying to capture the vibrant colors of the sunset with the land and fences silhouetted in the scene. As I was shooting this bird landed on a fencepost within my eyesight. I got it focused in my camera and started shooting as the sun went down. The bird silhouetted in the orange clear sky made for a striking image in what I thought would be an uneventful night.
On a recent visit back to my home state of Kansas for a break from school in Tennessee I spent quite a bit of my time on the country roads photographing. Kansas offers fascinating landscape photography potential. The vast openness of the land leads to endless skies. As the sun slid from behind the clouds and before it disappeared behind the horizon it broke perfectly to light the dead winter grass into a golden brown. The color only lasted a few minutes, but gave great opportunity for amazing shots.
No matter where I travel I always try to find time for sunsets and sunrises. Sometimes the best views are in your own backyard. Enjoy and Keep Exploring!