Welcome! This blog should provide two things. First, a vicarious experience of nature through images, captions, and video. Secondly, the blog will share some of the research and literature that reinforces the paradigm of nature as a restorative and healing force. The goal is to give an educational, and rejuvenating "virtual nature experience".
Kevin's Web Log
Title: Prairie Park Morning Cows
Location: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Flint Hills Region of Kansas
Remember when you were a kid and you climbed a tree for the first time? I loved it up there! I felt I could understand the lay of the land much better from this elevated perch. This is how a visionary must feel, to see the 3D relationships from above.
Do you want to have the same kind of thrill as an adult? Flying in a commercial jet is too distant - try renting a pilot and small plane and flying over the Flint Hills of Kansas at an altitude of about 1200 feet (or lower if the pilot is comfortable). My favorite plane to fly in for photography, the Cessna 152, would suit exceptionally well for sightseeing. With the wings on top of the fueselage, there is nothing between you and the terrain below.
I highly recommend this for a special experience, especially if you can fly over the Flint Hills for the 45 minutes or so just before sunset. The shadows from the hills become long and accentuate the rolling character of this landscape. Flying at this time of day gives you a whole new appreciation of the topography and its beauty. It's truly breathtaking and well worth the expense (probably about $135 to $150).
Word to the wise - if prone to airsickness, don’t go if it's very windy! The Cessna 152 will get bounced around a bit, and if you try to take pictures in this not so bright time of day, the bouncing will interfere with getting sharp photographs.
To see another picture illustrating this perspective, take a look at Palmer Creek Shadow Lines by clicking on the following link: https://www.kevinsink.com/order/?photoID=440
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (http://www.nps.gov/tapr/) is located in Chase County in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. The preserve is located:
- 2 miles north of Strong City, KS on K-177
- 16 miles west of Emporia, KS on U.S. 50 &
2 miles north on K-177
- 17 miles south of Council Grove, KS on K-177
- 85 miles northeast of Wichita on I-35, U.S. 50, and K-177
When traveling on K-177, the preserve is on the west side of the road - look for the giant stone barn!
Best time to visit: Anytime of year, for different reasons. Wildflowers begin to appear in April and May and extend through September and October. June is a particularly nice time for wildflowers and birds. If visiting in the summer months, prepare for heat and sun by drinking lots of water! Heat exhaustion is a real problem here in summer. Best time of day to visit at this time is early in the morning or in the late afternoon and early evening.
An annual event in this region is the Symphony in the Flint Hills:
http://www.symphonyintheflinthills.org/index.php The Kansas City Symphony plays at different locations in this glorious landscape each year, usually in the beginning of June. A man came into my gallery recently and had just seen the concert. His comment with a bright sparkle in his eye was particularly demonstrative: “I know you’ve photographed out there a lot, and I had never been out there. Now I see what you mean! It was absolutely incredible!” I spoke recently with Emily Hunter, the Executive Director of the event, and she told me another illustrative anecdote. She was talking with a woman of advanced years who had lived in the Flint Hills all her life, and the woman approached Emily and said, "There's always a symphony in the Flint Hills if you take time to listen for it!" How could it be said better!
If you plan on attending the Symphony in the Flint Hills, plan on buying the tickets early (they go on sale in February usually, but check the website). The tickets can sell out in a matter of 8 hours or less! Special tip: after the concert is over, hang around and see more of the exhibits. They often have telescopes set up to probe into the night sky unpolluted by city lights. The exiting traffic will clear, and you might even get to hear some great bluegrass music in one of the tents!
This is an aerial photograph taken with a Contax 645 camera with a 35mm Zeiss lens. The camera was hand held using a gyroscope to maintain as stable a platform as possible. My favorite plane to photograph from is a Cessna 172. The wings are on top of the fuselage, so the wings aren’t in the way of shooting below. The wide angle lens can essentially be focused on infinity, and shooting at f8 or 5.6 is adequate, since the scene below is essentially “flat” with respect to the back of the camera. I recommend a shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second to eliminate any vibration or camera shake.