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 of Kansas is a beautiful place, both in its landscape and its details. Entire hillsides are dotted in limestone and flint deposits and can stretch for miles. These are evidence of an ancient seabed, which once stretched through Kansas and have since left gorgeous boulders scattered across the entire landscape. In late spring, after the annual prairie burns, the grasslands come alive with a brilliant shade of green that you have to witness to believe. Sunrise is my favorite time in the Flint Hills. Hearing the prairie awake for the day reminds me of a symphony tuning and preparing to perform a piece. The birds begin to chirp and sing, eventually taking flight, the wind slowly begins to blow, the cattle on the range awake and begin to rustle around until the sun crests the horizon, bringing light to the entire landscape. That's part of the reason the prairie will always be my home.
While spending a few nights out in the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas, I had the wonderful experience of waking up to this beautiful sunrise. Hearing the creak of the old windmill in the slight, early morning breeze, the whisper of the Kansas tallgrass prairie, and the whooping sounds of the common nighthawks is truly experiencing the open prairie and is unlike any other landscape I've ever photographed. It's home to me. This is the Kansas I know and love.
- Camera: Arca Swiss F-Line Metric with Micrometric Orbix 8x10
- Lens: Schneider Symmar-S 240mm f/5.6
- Exposure: 4 seconds @ f/22
- Film: Fuji Velvia 50
- Tripod Head: Arca Swiss Cube C1
Growing up in Kansas, I have always felt that there's no better place in the world to watch the sunset. Nearly everywhere you may find yourself in the state, you are likely to have unobstructed views of the entire horizon. Flatter than a pancake, right?
Kansas has always treated me well and continues to do so all the way out in this big state of California. If you were following my work a couple of years ago, you may remember that the Kansas Alumni Magazine did a short story on my work. I was currently an engineering major at KU and my love of photography resonated with them. After I graduated in 2014, I kept in touch with the magazine regarding the progress of my career. When Chris Lazzarino heard of my new book, Kansas: Birth of a Vision, he decided to pitch another story to his colleagues regarding this book.
Well, if you're a recent KU graduate or are a member of the KU Alumni Association, be sure to snag your most recent copy this week and take a look for a familiar face! The story very much captures the process of my workflow and offers a little insight on the creation of some of my images. It's incredibly well written, and sheds a little insight on just how nuts I am about creating these images I share with you all.
If you don't happen to subscribe to the magazine and still want to read the story, follow the link below! Thanks to everyone involved at the KU Alumni Magazine for making this a reality, and thanks to you all for being just as proud of Kansas as I am.
And just so you know, preorders are flooding in for my new book. If you haven't done so already, head on over a order yourself a copy now!
Well this is the "big" announcement you've been waiting the past few days for - I'm releasing my first book!
About a year ago, I moved away from Kansas and now live on the central coast of California. I was born and raised in Kansas and its the place where I began my journey as a photographer. From the farmlands and prairies of the west to the rolling Flint Hills in the east, Kansas is where I learned to see.
Most view Kansas as a "flyover state" or scoff at the fact that I called this place my photographic home. When meeting people and introducing myself as a landscape photographer from Kansas, their typical response was, "Wow! You must travel a lot." While I do travel quite a bit, even living in the state of California, their response was mildly insulting. Growing up, there was never a moment where I believed Kansas to be ugly and it was disappointing to me that even some of the residents of Kansas did not appreciate the beauty of the state. Until you've stood beneath a storm more powerful than you can fathom, or witness a sky light up like they do in the Great Plains, you have no justification what natural beauty is.
Leaving Kansas has been bitter sweet. It's a place I truly love to photograph, but given the opportunity to live and work in such a place as California is an opportunity I couldn't pass up this early in my career in nature photography. Galleries have began to approach me, I've gained more collectors in 2015 than ever before, and people are beginning to recognize me as a credible artist. This wouldn't have been possible, had I not loved the beauty of Kansas.
There is much more to photography than a beautiful image. When you all see my work I've created along the pacific, I hope you can hear the seagulls - smell the ocean air. If you ever been here, you'll know what I mean. But if you've ever been to Kansas, standing in the middle of a wide open grassland and watching the sun rise is unbelievable - that's where my drive as an artist is driven from. Emotion.
This book is for my home and the people who live there and appreciate where they live. It's for those who have believed in me and what I was doing and have supported me from the moment I picked up a camera and began this journey. It is a 70 page book that combines a collection of 33 of my favorite photographs I created in Kansas with a brief introduction of the motivation behind this project.
I hope that if you're reading this, you can understand the love I have of this place and can join me as I share what I've created while living there. If you'd like to purchase the book, you can follow the link below. I am accepting preorders as of today and intend on shipping out the first copies the first week of March.
Thank you again for all of your support throughout the years and I hope you continue to follow along with me as I take this next step in my journey.
Over the next couple of months, I'm going to be choosing a lucky newsletter subscriber to have a chance to win $500 off a Limited Edition photograph of their choice.
Here's what you need to do to be entered:
Sign up for my newsletter by filling out our information in the box below, or by clicking here.
Share this link via email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or however else you'd like!
If you want extra entries in the giveaway, you can also increase your chances to win by doing one or all of the following. (The more you do, the more your name gets entered.)
Email or share this page with 2 or more people (the more you share, the more chances to win)
Follow me on Twitter (@stricklandmr), Facebook (facebook.com/landskyphotography) and share the link above
Pick out your favorite photo of mine, and share it on Instagram. Tag me @mstricklandimages and use the hashtag #mstrickland500
Thanks again for all of your support, and good luck!
It's that time of year again where fields of gold come alive across the Kansas prairie. Seeing fields of perfect, golden sunflowers stretch for miles on end is a remarkable experience. Sunflowers are something that have been a part of my life since I was a child. I remember seeing the huge fields riding in the car with my parents on trips to Wichita or working with my mom and thinking how beautiful they were. When I decided to pick up a camera in my late teens, they were one of the first things I began to photograph.
In honor of "sunflower season" I've decided to put together a little collection of my work with sunflowers in Kansas.
Also, check out my new desktop print, which is the photo you see above, entitled "Final Moments." For information regarding this print and presentation, check it out here.
Spring is the time in the Kansas prairie where severe thunderstorms roll across the plains. Check out some of Michael's photos of severe thunderstorms on the Kansas plains and hear the stories behind them.Read More
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.
Thanks for checking out my new website. If you haven't noticed, you can now purchase prints directly from my website without the need to contact me (although you still can if you'd like). I've also began offering open edition photographs with a slightly different twist.
Saw and Mitre is going to be the sole framer for this series of photographs, which has been incredibly exciting for me. The quality and craftsmanship that goes into each one of these frames is amazing and they're built right here in the USA!
Another thing is these prints are all hand printed by me using a cotton rag, archival paper on a professional quality injket printer. This differs from my light exposed Limited Edition photographs.
Check out the open edition photographs here.