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.
Sand dunes are somewhat of a photographer's paradise - at least for me. After living on the central coast for almost six months, I had never so much as heard about these, let alone ventured out here. After just receiving my Mamiya 7ii a few weeks earlier, I decided there was no better place to give it a test run than out at the dunes, which was practically in my back yard. Late fall in California marks the end of the dry season, and the dunes were feeling it. The wind had been blowing all day, and about two hours before sunset, it subsided leaving the perfect ripples.
Clear skies are typically looked down upon with landscape photography. The texture in the sky adds interest and the reflected light from a layer of clouds illuminates the land. In the sand dunes, however, photographic opportunities are endless. With severe clear skies, I looked toward the texture in the sand.
Over the past year, I have been devoting a fair amount of time studying photographic art. I stumbled upon the work of Edward Weston when visiting Carmel, CA. Flipping through a book entitled "Dune" I realized the work was created less than five miles from my home in the Oceano Dunes. His work inspired this small I created on my Mamiya 7ii, all on transparency film. All are available for purchase, so please contact me if you are interested.
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
Michael Strickland releases his new limited edition photograph entitled "The Sea of Gold." It was taken along the central coast of California on an evening in early April.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.
After visiting Montana de Oro State Park for the first time this past weekend, I feel so fortunate that it's located right at my back door. Montana de Oro has an incredibly rugged coastline with incredible texture that I can't wait to explore. On Saturday evening, the thick marine layer stumped any chance of golden hour light, so I decided to try to photograph a composition I had found the evening before on black and white film. I very rarely shoot in black and white, mainly because my eye is drawn to color images, but I've been trying to learn to see in monochrome. The cloudy evening fit the mood well as tide was rushing in over the rocks in the foreground. I captured this photograph on Kodak T-Max 100, which has been my favorite black and white film I've tried so far. in order to add more contrast to the scene, I decided to use a Red 23 filter, which also helped me lengthen the exposure to around 12 seconds to ensure the smooth texture of the waves. As soon as I had packed up and finished my exposures for the evening, a large wave crashed against the rock to my immediate right, which would have drenched me along with all of my gear. Coming from Kansas, I've been accustomed to the power of thunderstorms, but the ocean is on another level. Watching the water raise and lower 20-30 feet alongside a sharp rock face with every wave is an unreal experience.Read More
McWay Falls is located in a pristine cove on California's Big Sur coastline. In fact, it's one of Big Sur's main attractions, where hundreds -- if not thousands, of tourists gather each day to watch the spring-fed falls cascade into the ocean below. Typically, I don't enjoy photographing along a rail, especially among crowds of people, but this was a scene I really wanted to witness and photograph. On this particular evening, the sky was clear with a slight haze in the distance, which ended up working out better than I had thought. I exposed two sheets about 45 minutes before sunset to test the exposure latitude of two types of film, and my second two sheets I exposed as the sun barely started to touch the horizon. My positive film ended up being thrown away, as sometime during the 15 second exposure, the camera must have shaken slightly. This is the negative film, exposed for the shadows with no graduated neutral density filter, which definitely shows how much dynamic range Kodak Ektar can capture
It's definitely a beautiful location, and I hope to return again when the flowers are in bloom and the sky blows up. We can all dream, right?
- Camera: Ebony 4x5
- Lens: Nikkor 90mm f/4.5
- Exposure: 15 Seconds
- Aperture: f/32
- Film: Kodak Ektar 100
This is my first Limited Edition release of 2015, as I've started my new journey living on the Central Coast of California. Back in January, we took a quick weekend trip out to one of our favorite national parks -- Death Valley. I had never photographed DV on large format and it was only our second visit. We were greeted with an early morning sunrise that was absolutely spectacular, but due to the difficulty of focusing a large format camera in the dark and a lack of a strong composition, I did not expose a sheet of film.
That evening, the skies cleared out to our disappointment, but I went ahead and set up the shot anyways near the Devil's Golf Course, a part of Badwater Basin a bit farther to the north. About 20 minutes after the sun had set, I exposed one sheet of Fuji Velvia 50 for nearly 8 minutes. This long exposure captured the last light of day glowing above the horizon, which cast a beautiful glow across the valley.
I typically don't like to photograph scenes without clouds, but the clear skies allowed the texture and complexity of the foreground to pull the viewer into the calm, peaceful scene.
| Camera: Ebony 4x5 | Exposure: 8m | Lens: Nikkor SW 90mm f/4.5 @ f/32 | Film: Fuji Velvia 50 |