One of my first trips after returning home to Kansas was spending a few days sleeping and exploring the open ranges of the Flint Hills in eastern Kansas. On the first evening, I returned to a familiar location, where I had exposed a few of my first sheets of 4x5 film and decided to give it another chance on 8x10. Flint and limestone deposits scatter the hills of the prairie and in early summer, after the annual spring prairie burns, they are exposed as the grasses begin to regrow around them. A summer thunderstorm moved north of the area and I had originally thought the light was going to be completely shut down by the cloud cover, but about 15 minutes before sunset, a brief window of golden light opened up for a matter of minutes. It was enough time for me to expose two sheets of film, one of which was subjected to a bit a bit of a light leak. I guess I could consider myself lucky that I pulled this one off.
The Flint Hills, to me, is home. The prairie is where I found my passion for landscape photography and it's where I fine-tuned my eye. The Flint Hills is a place where I can find peace in the busy world and the sights and sounds I miss daily. It's a different landscape. One in which you have to actively seek beauty -- it doesn't scream at you like so many other places. It has a subtle, whispering beauty that takes a trained eye and a love of the land. People always laughed when I said I was a landscape photographer living in Kansas. Kansas has its own unique identity, which in my opinion is incredibly beautiful.
This was the last image I took in the Flint Hills before moving from Kansas to California so it holds a very special place with me. I miss the wide open spaces and the unique light that Kansas has.
Kansas is still home and always will be, and I'm excited to be back for a few days this coming May.