My last post “Searching” dealt with some recent frustration of new opportunities but turned out to be a good experience in patient persistence. I’m old enough to have learned that one never really loses as long as they don’t give up. Besides, going through frustrating times makes the positive times that much sweeter.

Konza Prairie

© Brad Mangas

This seemed to be the case recently when I decided a nice hike out onto the prairie would do me good in more ways then one. I’m fortunate to live within an hours drive of 2 of the most vast expanses of tallgrass prairies in North America, Konza Prairie Biological Station and The Tallgrass National Preserve. I refer to these often as they are a source of natural beauty and experiences that are unmatched anywhere I know of. Time spent on such wide open stances of land is truly an exercise  in ultimate freedom, 360 degrees of horizon as far as one can see setting on pristine grasslands. I visit often and as my last post pointed out returning home with images of this wonderment can be a struggle. From furious winds to openness that seems impossible to capture on camera.

Kansas Photography

© Brad Mangas

It is a time to slow down, stand upon the prairie and slip ever so slightly back in time. To forget about the needs of the busy world and to enjoy the simplistic yet complex beauty of nature. This is what washed through my mind as I made the trek up the main trail to a popular overlook. Stopping to relax, quench my thirst and take a photo. Bright blue cloudless skies, sunset approaching in 2 hours could at other times created a sense of urgency, where should I be at sunset? With over 7 miles of public hiking trails my options were limited. I know every step of the trials intimately, a southern sloping hill over looking a majority of the limestone covered grasslands to the west would make for a nice sunset shot but, it was approximately 3-4 miles away and then I would need be hike back out

Wildflower Photography

© Brad Mangas

an hour or more after dark, fine with me but rules clearly state trails are closed after dark so this was not an option. No need to over think this, just hike and enjoy whatever I come upon, this was my plan. I already was enjoying the view and nothing was going to change that.

 

Wildflower Photography

© Brad Mangas

I slowly continued on, saying hello to a few other fellow hikers all heading back out since sunset was approaching by this time maybe an hour away. I stopped many times to enjoy the purple cone flowers just beginning to form they head which will be in full bloom in the coming weeks, some had even began small petal formations. I had a wide angle 17-40 lens on my dslr and didn’t want to change it just for some possible closeup shots of such things, so I grabbed by Canon G11 to attempt a few closeup captures.

As sunset approached I found myself roaming slightly off the trail surrounded by the new green growth of grasses along with the wildflowers including one of my favorite, Butterfly Milkweed. The long awaited excitement began to set in and the need to capture this once again filled my mind but this time with the pleasure of being in an environment that made me feel at peace, understanding the joy was not whether such emotions could be captured but simply embracing them.

Konza Prairie Trail Sunset

© Brad Mangas

Konza Prairie Photography

© Brad Mangas

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