Kansas, flint hills, FHSP_3090

© Brad Mangas

I love making new images. After all it is what we photo minded folks do. It becomes a deep exploration of our creative powers expanding the mind outward always searching for inspiration. Moving forward is vital to life and happiness. There are many ways to do this and creating photographs is just one. I also love spending time in the kitchen cooking up what will hopefully be a delicious dish of yumminess. I find cooking to be another very creative process full of anticipation and when done well produces  results well worth the effort. The only problems with cooking up a great dish is once it is eaten it’s gone, forever! That is until you attempt to make it again.

When making a photograph the excitement of the moment to will vanish but, you will be left with the moment captured that you can revisit in hopes of instilling if only briefly that moment when the photograph was made.

I have written about visiting older photos before, probably many times. It is really a delight to look back and begin to remember those times and emotions that made you put the camera to your eye and say wow, this is great! I don’t do this on a regular basis but, there are times that require a little searching back through the archives. It happened with great delight yesterday (as of this writing.)

The day was Kansas Day, the 153th anniversary of statehood. I shared two photos on a couple of my social media sites, facebook and twitter to help spread the pride and beauty of my home state. It didn’t really take me long to find the first picture that I wanted to share and wish everyone a Happy Kansas Day with. There is a photo taken May 9th, 2008 at 7:18pm that seemed to sum up my ideal view of Kansas.

I was able to hike up to the top of a hill that presented a vast view of the rolling flint hills to the west. I made it to this spot about an hour earlier, found a nice piece of limestone to sit on and catch my breath. As a sit enjoying the distant view I remember the wind, there is always a good wind blowing through out the prairies. Oh there are times when all is still but, they are far and few between. I also knew that depending on the coming sunset this could be a nice photo opportunity, so I sat quietly waiting and wondering. As the sun slowly approached the western horizon the excitement started building. Like I almost always do I made a few initial shots if for no other reason just to make sure everything was ready and set the way I wanted with the camera. Exposure with these type of shots when the bright sun and the darkening lands are both present can be tricky to say the least. I would be ready to make a series of photos at different exposure levels to make sure I captured the widest range of light as possible. Hopefully one or possibly a few put together would result in capturing what I was seeing.

The result was achieved with simply two exposures, one for the sky and one for the land. No tricky processing techniques needed to be applied. The final result seemed to be just what I had experienced. This has become one of the oldest and most popular images still in my gallery.

That seems to be the old part of all of this. An image made almost six years ago as of this writing. When I shared this on social media in celebration of Kansas day it did not have a time stamp on it and for good reason. The date in which it was taken has no bearing on it. The new part in this? Well obviously that just happened. I shared it, folks enjoyed it and it once again came to life almost six years later. I never have had cookies last that long!

There is no deep philosophical point in all this but, there is a message. As much as we need to keep moving forward we must never forget our past for it is our greatest asset. Experiences build you into who you are and will become. Chose your experiences wisely and let them help bring a ray of sun into your life tomorrow or six years from now.

little bluestem, FLFA_8120

© Brad Mangas

I don’t want to end this without mentioning the second photo I chose to share. It is quite different to say the least. This picture of native grass, Little Bluestem which happens to be the state grass of Kansas by the way, seemed an obvious choice. The only native grass that can be found in all 105 counties in Kansas. Something that when driving the interstate will be in sight the entire distance as you travel through the state. What else is obvious is that most will never pay any attention to these plants growing along the highways, byways, county roads and paths that lead far off the beaten path. To me that alone makes them one of the least known gems of Kansas. Hey but it’s just grass right? Yep, it is just grass. When was the last time you looked at “just grass” and thought wow, this is great!

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