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Sometimes you really luck out when you take a different way home. Bored with my same old commute, I was so lucky to find these winding back roads of our beloved Sunflower State. The first time I got lost, I used my gps. The second time, I just let it roll and I found these awesome tee pee things.


And then when this route became slightly more familiar, but no less spectacular, I decided to make it my permanent commute. There’s even an apple orchard on the way. Not to mention gorgeous golden and green landscapes.

One day, by chance, the farm I had always taken for a corn field (I’m too busy driving to pay attention to everything!!) turned out to be…sunflowers! What a fantastic lovely and sunny ending to my day.

20120807-213452.jpgMy breath got caught in my throat at the stunning sight of ten billion sunflowers. My brakes squealed as I turned around. I called my husband to tell him I’d be a little late. He told me dinner would be ready. Aw. The lovely sight of farmland (and thinking of my darlin, making dinner) never gets old.

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Also on the roadside taking pictures was a sweet Topeka woman who had a nice camera and good wide angle lens. She told me her husband had recently passed away and that these flowers were her favorite. We chatted and had a lot in common. She was as beautiful as the sunniest sunflower. I’m sure her photographs were lovely and I hope she remembers that moment in time as fondly as I do.

Kansas, you sure are special.

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Want to know more about me? Check out my About page for starters and my other adventures: Puerto Rico and The Flint Hills. Recently I got caught up in Tropical Storm Debby, but not without my camera!

Leave a comment and tell me about your best roadside experiences!

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Here we go! I’m taking the KansasLoveBird team (yep, TEAM) to the Prairie! More to come. Be sure to follow on instagram and twitter for instant updates: @Kansaslovebird #flinthills #kansaslovebird

I’m taking along goodies. Love you, lovebirds.

My Grandpa’s gorgeous Minolta

35mm

What a cute little fishy.

120 film

Dreamy with “The Dreamer”

 

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As an art student, experimentation was expected, the norm, a must. I was into cyanotypes, sepia toner, Polaroid transfers, hand coloring, fiber paper, etc. I’d experiment with temperature (weather) and its effect on sepia-toned photographs. At school, I was told to do those chemicals outside, so it was always a test of my scientific consistency (ha!) and the weather.

If you wanted to experiment the way I wanted to experiment, you had to constantly try new things. And I wanted to try everything by the time I was through with school.

Take the 8×10 camera – blah! with those perfect studio images! I’d much rather use that 8×10 Polaroid back to make transfers. And I did. And it was amazing. I fell so hard for the gritty washed out look of Polaroid transfers. They looked like they’d been wrung out through the ages of time: crumpled up, spit out, spilled on, and scraped off of someones’ old boot.

Today, the process is less complex. In a way, I’d say it’s more stable than it used to be, and I wonder if that’s a metaphor for being 31 as much as it is true about the nature of digital photography. Much of the complex thinking is removed from today’s process and it’s easy for me to focus on that “one thing” that was so difficult for me 10 years ago. Look at PhotoForge2, Hipstamatic, and Camera+. I can make images look gritty, just like I did in the darkroom with contrast filters, only instantly. Instagram is the same. Gritty and raw with that toy-camera look. It took weeks to get things to look like that with film. With these new-fangled apps, it’s literally seconds. This gives me the opportunity to both experiment and focus on technical skills.

With access to all these apps, two feelings emerge. First is: great! people get to appreciate photography in a new way. Second is: a little saddened that I have all these processing apps in my virtual camera bag and no access to a darkroom. Even if I did, would I want to spend all that time there? Probably not! These days, I’m partial to bright warm sunshine and being better to the environment – certainly not toxic chemicals and days in darkness.

Maybe someday, Zone photography will reemerge from those picturesque Ansel Adams quaking aspens and people will want to get out that old dusty 8×10, adjust the bellows, set that F-stop to 64, fasten on that Polaroid back and take some test shots with a gray card. For me, I’ll just remember all those formulas and leave that to Old Ansel. Or I’ll see if there’s an app for it instead.

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