A Guide to Viewing Dark Skies in Kansas

Posted on August 8, 2016 by Mickey

Whether it’s the Perseids in August or the Geminids in December, Kansas is a great place to watch a meteor shower! It’s also a great place to photograph meteors! This guide should help you find some amazing spots in Kansas.

Light Pollution

First off, like any good meteor shower guide, dark skies are the key to maximizing how many meteors you will see! That’s not to say you can’t view a meteor shower from a city. Even within cities such as Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City, it’s still possible to see a few meteors this time of year. But the further away from major towns you can get, the skies will become darker, the more stars you will see, and inevitably, more meteors!

Second, not only do you need to keep in mind that light pollution from cities and towns will drown out all but the brightest of meteors, but the moon is a major source of light as well. Even a half moon is bright enough to drown out a large percentage of meteors. Finding a time when the moon is not in view is critical to good meteor viewing. Websites like Time and Date can be really helpful to find out if there will be a new moon or when the moon rises and sets.

Weather

Obviously clear skies are the best condition with which to view meteor showers. But even if the sky isn’t perfectly clear, you can still see a few meteors in partly cloudy skies. Be persistant and watch the weather to see what it will be doing on any given night. Also keep in mind that even though a meteor shower may peak on a certain date, many showers will start well before that date, and linger on for a while.

With all that out of the way, I’m going to give you some pointers on some of my favorite Kansas locations to check out!

Kansas Dark Sky Locations

My favorite place to view dark skies and meteor showers in Kansas is the Flint Hills! The Flint Hills are full of so many awesome spots to view a meteor shower it isn’t even funny! I could fill a book on the countless backroads, landmarks, lakes and other places that would make the Flint Hills the perfect place to view a meteor shower. Let’s run through a few spots though!

Teter Rock Winter Milky Way
Teter Rock Winter Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way stands tall at Teter Rock

Teter Rock. This little gem in the Flint Hills east of Cassoday has been my go-to place for years as a night photographer! The skies are fairly dark in most directions from here. There’s a hint of light pollution to the northeast where Emporia is and to the southwest where El Dorado is and you can see the flashing lights of the wind farm to the south, but overall, you’re far enough from all of these that it shouldn’t be a problem. To get there, visit Teter Rock’s page on Kansas is Beautiful for a map and directions to the right location.

Sometimes during major meteor showers, Teter Rock can actually get kind of packed with astrophotographers and other folks just trying to find a dark spot for meteor viewing. So if you run into a small parking lot of cars here, don’t worry, there’s a plethora of backroads in the area where you can park just about anywhere to view the meteor shower. One such road is the open range road out to Texaco Hill, another great spot with views in all directions. This road is just a little further to east from the Teter Rock turn, and heads north for a few miles across gorgeous Flint Hills open-ranch road. View the Texaco Hill and Flint Hills Wildlife Drive for more spots along the backroads in this area of the Flint Hills. Just about anywhere along the Flint Hills Wildlife Drive will produce beautiful dark skies and great scenery for meteor shower viewing! Just remember you are on open range road, so cattle might be on the road.

If you were hoping for a spot closer to a major highway in the Flint Hills, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is technically open 24 hours to hiking. Any trail along there would yield great views in all directions, with only the small towns of Strong City and Cottonwood Falls to the south as light pollution competition. If getting out and hiking in the dark isn’t your thing, Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse is just off the highway in the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and provides a wonderful place to watch the meteors.

Kansas Aurora Borealis Milky Way Panorama
Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way rises above the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Further to the northeast, as you get closer to some of the major cities of Kansas is another backroad that has great open sky views. Just west of Topeka, near Alma, is a gravel road called the Skyline Drive. It’s aptly named, because it follows along a ridge on the edge of the Flint Hills. Just about anywhere along this drive has views that span for dozens of miles. It makes for a wonderful spot to stop and watch a meteor shower. I shot the photo below during the Eta Aquarid’s meteor shower in May.

Flint Hills Meteor Milky Way
Flint Hills Meteor Milky WayPrints Available
An Eta Aquarid’s meteor streaks in front of the Milky Way along Skyline Drive

Another great spot in Flint Hills are the hills above the eastern side of Tuttle Creek Lake. Chase State Fishing Lake near Cottownwood Falls could make another great spot for meteor viewing.

In northeast Kansas, the northern stretches of the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway are far enough away from Kansas City and the surrounding towns to produce some darker skies. The further west from there that you go into the rural backroads will only get darker and darker as well. Heading to the southeast part of Kansas, many of the state parks could make great dark sky spots for viewing. Somewhere along the dam at Elk City State Park or above Bourbon Falls at Bourbon County State Fishing Lake could make great spots for meteor viewing!

Cowley Falls Milky Way
Cowley Falls Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way shines bright above the waterfall at Cowley State Fishing Lake

Moving over in south central Kansas, Cowley State Fishing Lake is always a dark sky area. I shot the image above back in February. The lake is down in a valley though, so finding a spot on a hill overlooking the lake would be better than at the shoreline of the lake. Any area down here (as long as you’re a few miles from Ark City and Winfield) should make for dark skies, as Wichita is many miles away.

Kansas Aurora Borealis Milky Way Panorama
Kansas Aurora Borealis Milky Way PanoramaPrints Available
A Milky Way Panorama with a hint of the Aurora at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

Further north, into central Kansas lies Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway and Cheyenne Bottoms. Full of many ponds, lakes and wildlife, this can be a great place to view the stars as well. Just make sure to bring bug spray if you’re out early in the evening! The mosquitos are thick in these parts! But on a windless night the plethora of stars with meteors and the Milky Way reflecting in the wetlands makes for a wonderful night of star-gazing!

The Northern Lights in Kansas
The Northern Lights in KansasPrints Available
On a rare occasion the Northern Lights even come to visit us in Kansas
Quivira Milky Way Reflection
Quivira Milky Way ReflectionPrints Available
The Milky Way reflects into a pond at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

Moving a little further north, the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway has a plethora of fun places to watch a meteor shower from, so long as you stay away from the bigger towns of McPherson and Salina. Near Lindsborg, Coronado Heights is a nice spot high above the surrounding Smoky Valley hills. If you’re from central Kansas, it’s a great place to star-gaze and you’re for sure to see some meteors. Moving further west along the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway will only get better as you move away from the lights of I-135 and it’s cities. Scenes like the ones below will become the norm out in the rural areas along this fantastic stretch of Kansas byway.

Prairie Trail Milky Way
Prairie Trail Milky WayPrints Available
This photo is the winner of the June KLM Monthly Photo Contest

Along this byway, a few of the great state parks of Kansas can make for some great dark sky viewing as well. Kanopolis State Park provides a great place to throw down a tent and sit out under the stars to admire the meteor shower. Just down the road, along a small gravel road stretch of the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway lies Mushroom Rock State Park, another great spot to watch meteors fly by.

Mushroom Rock Milky Way
Mushroom Rock Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way spans out above Mushroom Rock State Park

Moving southwest from here, anywhere in the Gypsum Hills would make a solid spot for dark skies to watch the meteor shower. Anywhere along the Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway or the many backroads nearby make for wonderful viewing spots far away from any major city. Medicine Lodge is the only larger town in the area, and it sits on the east edge of the Gypsum Hills. Get a dozen miles or more to the west, and the skies will be full of stars! If you want to go even farther, head to the western edge of the Gypsum Hills to visit Big Basin for some great scenery and a major lack of light pollution!

And finally, western Kansas is possibly the best bet for great dark sky scenery! As long as some of the bigger towns, such as Dodge City, Garden City, Goodland, etc. aren’t within a few miles of you, you can pretty much park on the side of any backroad and enjoy! Some of my favorite spots include Monument Rocks (please note: I’ve been informed recently that permission is required to be there after dark), Castle Rock, Wilson Lake State Park or Lake Scott State Park. All of these places make for great dark skies viewing!

Monument Rocks Milky Way
Monument Rocks Milky WayPrints Available
A huge panorama of the Milky Way at Monument Rocks

If you’re feeling really adventurous, a drive out into the Arikaree Breaks of extreme northwest Kansas would make for some serious star-gazing far removed from any major city! Extreme southwest Kansas also makes for wonderful meteor shower viewing. The Cimarron National Grassland is a wonderful place for watching meteors streak by. The best thing about the grasslands is the lack of towns to the north, where meteors should originate from.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading about some of the best places to watch meteor showers in Kansas. While the above locations may be some of my favorites for viewing and photographing the night sky here in Kansas, you can undoubtedly find dark skies in most locations around the state. Just get away from the big cities, wait for the moon to set, sit back and enjoy!

Windmill Milky Way
Windmill Milky WayPrints Available
A windmill is silhouetted by the beautiful Milky Way

Tips on Photographing Meteors

For those aspiring photographers that would like to try their hand at photographing a meteor, I’ve got a few tips for you. First off, make sure you have a sturdy tripod! That’s the key! With the length of time your shutter will be open, there’s no getting around having some way to keep the camera steady during the shot. Another piece of equipment that’s helpful to have is a remote shutter of some kind. There are both wired and wireless versions out there. Wireless would obviously be best, as any amount of movement can cause even the tiniest of camera shakes.

Once you have your camera mounted up to your tripod, point the camera towards the constellation Perseus. Having a wide angle lens (14mm is great, 18mm, even 24mm will do) to capture as much of the sky as possible will help get the most meteors. Light is precious at this hour of the night, so setting your aperture (f-stop) to be wide open will let in the most light. When it comes to the ISO and shutter speed, you’ll need to practice a little to see what works best.

Meteors are only in the sky for short periods of time. Most streak by in a blink of the eye. So the shutter speed can be a bit of a double edged sword. You need a longer shutter speed to capture more light from the stars and foreground, but you don’t want it too long as the light from the meteor will fade. If you exposure for 30 seconds, and that meteor is only in the sky for 1/4 of a second, it would have to be a really bright meteor for it not to be partially darkened out by the other 29 and 3/4ths of a second of darkness that the rest of the shot will register.

With ISO, some cameras do better at higher ISOs than others. A good rule of thumb would be to start at around 6400 ISO and work down. If you can get by at 2000, the less grainy the shot will be. But the higher the ISO, the shorter your shutter speed can be. Just practice with these two settings and find a good balance.

Also, being able to set your camera up on a continuos burst of shooting can save you some work. If you can set the camera to continuously shoot, eventually you’re almost guaranteed to catch a meteor or two! But with all things photography, practice makes perfect. And just being out there trying to get a photo of a meteor can be quite the fun ordeal!

Monument Rocks Star Trails
Monument Rocks Star TrailsPrints Available
Star trails at Monument Rocks in western Kansas

One more note about shutter speed worth considering is the movement of stars in the sky. Depending on the focal length, you will start seeing something called star trails if your shutter speed is over 20-30 seconds. Star trails look like the stars are moving in the sky. In reality though, the earth is spinning and moving through space, making the stars streak through the sky. Star trails can make for great shots, but when shooting meteors or the Milky Way, it’s not exactly welcoming. If possible, it’s best to keep your shutter speed at 45 seconds or below to minimize the trails.

Posted under: Kansas

Moraine Lake to Waimea Canyon: My Top 10 Photo Spots

Posted on December 9, 2015 by Mickey

Everyone has those favorite places they love to visit. Whether it’s hiking in Switzerland, walking in the sand at the Pacific Ocean as waves roll in on a wild beach, or watching buffalo roam the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills, we all have our special places! My favorite places to photograph have evolved dramatically over the past 6-7 years as I’ve picked up a camera and photographed the places I travel to. I wanted to share some of these favorite places to photograph with you. This list only consists of places I’ve been too. If I had been hiking in at Torres del Paine in Chile, traveling the countryside of New Zealand or photographing under the stars at Monument Rocks in western Kansas, I would imagine this list would be even harder. But I’m only going off of places I’ve been to over and over again! I really struggled to decide this list. The top three in particular kept changing places as I was writing this. If you were to ask me to name my favorite spot to photograph in any given week, it would probably change weekly.

Also keep in mind that this list is based of my favorite places to photograph, not visit. There are undoubtedly a few spots I would have much higher on this list (Chamonix-Mont Blanc in France, Vancouver Island, the Chateau de Chillon in Switzerland) had my photography plans in those places worked out better. Poor lighting, lack of time and more kept these places off this list. These are simply the top 10 places I’ve had the pleasure of photographing.

1. Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Moraine Lake Sunset
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A beautiful Moraine Lake sunset

When I visited the Canadian Rockies back in 2012, the place I tended to always gravitate back to was Moraine Lake. While driving up and down the beautiful Icefields Parkway, I probably visited Moraine Lake 5 times in 3 days. It’s a special place, and easily the most beautiful alpine lake I’ve ever seen.

2. Keeper of the Plains, Wichita, Kansas

Keeper of the Plains Lightning Bolt
Keeper of the Plains Lightning BoltPrints Available
A lightning bolt frames the Keeper of the Plains

This is my go-to spot for photography. It’s treated me well. A lot of my best images are from this Wichita icon, and while the mountains are always my favorite terrain, the Keeper of the Plains has become a constant subject in my work that no other place has filled. I’ve shot more images at the Keeper of the Plains than any other place in the world, and I keep going back for more and more!

3. Wengen, Berner Oberland, Wengen, Switzerland

Dusk In Wengen
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Twilight settles at dusk in Wengen, Switzerland

Much like Moraine Lake, the view from the bench at the church in Wengen, Switzerland was a spot I continued to return to on my trip through the Alps for photography. It’s also the spot I long to go back to most in Europe someday.

4. Dallas Divide/Sneffels Wilderness, Ridgway, Colorado

Colorado Wildflowers
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A field of wildflowers on the slopes of Mount Sneffels

The Dallas Divide on the north side of the San Juans in the Colorado Rockies have become my favorite place in all of Colorado to visit. There’s a two-fold reason. My hike in 2011 to Blue Lakes in the Sneffels Wilderness produced some of the most beautiful wildflower displays I have ever seen! Second, Dallas Divide is easily my favorite spot to return to for autumn colors, as the vistas along it’s many backroads are unforgettable!

5. Big Sur, California

Big Sur Sunset
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A beautiful Big Sur sunset

I’ve now visited Big Sur twice. Once was for a brief morning in early 2012 that produced a spectacular sunrise. The second was in autumn of 2015, which also produced some of the best sunrises and sunsets of the entire year for me. One particular sunset was one of the best I’ve ever photographed! My favorite spot along Big Sur: McWay Falls. Not only does it have a beautiful tidefall waterfall that drops directly into the ocean at a gorgeous beach, but the view back towards the north is also spectacular!

6. Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Creek
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The Maroon Bells tower above a wildflower lined Maroon Creek

I’m not sure why it took me so long to visit the Maroon Bells in my years of visited Colorado, but I’ve been back almost every year since! Once for wildflowers, but mostly for the beautiful fall colors. Pro-tip: Droves of people will line the northwest shore of Maroon Lake to get the classic reflective Maroon Bells shot, but I find walking to the far side of the lake and photographing the various angles there far more rewarding. I don’t know how many times I’ve shown up for a sunrise with 200 other people fighting for rock or something in their foreground at the edge of the lake, only to find views along Maroon Creek completely deserted.

7. Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Mystical Dream Lake
Mystical Dream LakePrints Available
A foggy Memorial Day morning at Dream Lake

If you had asked me in the years prior to taking my photography as seriously as I do now, Rocky Mountain National Park would be #1 without a shadow of a doubt. I’ve since visited some amazing places in the world, but I’ll always hold a soft spot for Dream Lake in Colorado.

8. Waimea Canyon, Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii

Waimea Canyon Rainbow
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Waimea Canyon is graced by a vivid rainbow near Waipoo Falls

There were a few places on Kauai that I kept returning to in the week I spent on the island. The one that produced the best images was the Waimea Canyon. I continued to drive up that road to the canyon and into Kokee State Park beyond. Other spots on Kauai that almost made this list include the Kilauea Lighthouse, Hanalei Bay and the Napali Coast.

9. Teter Rock, near Cassoday, Kansas

Teter Rock Winter Milky Way
Teter Rock Winter Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way shines bright above Teter Rock

Teter Rock has become my go-to spot for shooting Milky Way and star scenes in recent years. Far enough away from city lights, but within an hour and a half drive from Wichita, it makes for an easy getaway to get out under the stars. It’s also a great place to photograph a good Kansas thunderstorm as it rolls across the prairie.

10. The Old Mill, Little Rock Arkansas

Old Mill Gardens
Old Mill GardensPrints Available
Spring blooms at the Old Mill

I’ve only visited the Old Mill once, but the shots I got for the little time I spent there rank up there as some of my favorites. The one pictured here was a particular favorite. While most of Arkansas is probably inundated with images from the Old Mill (it’s a Little Rock icon), for a tourist looking for a great place to photograph, it was the perfect spot!

Other spots I loved photographing at:
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, Canada
Kilauea Lighthouse, Kauai
Lauterbrunnen Valley Floor, Switzerland
Hanging Lake, Colorado
Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Canada
Murren, Switzerland
Spiez, Switzerland
Mer de Glace, France
Cowley Falls, Kansas
Moraine Park, Colorado
Bear Lake, Colorado
Geary Lake Falls, Kansas
Kalalau Overlook, Kauai
Napali Coast, Kauai
Hanalei Valley, Kauai
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Boulder Brook, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Posted under: Canada, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, News & Updates, Switzerland

Finding Beauty at Home: A Flint Hills Adventure

Posted on June 12, 2013 by Mickey

lower-chase-lake-falls

 

Over the course of the past few years, I have been blessed with the chance to travel to many beautiful places. In 2009, I took a trip to the Swiss and French Alps. I saw the majestic Matterhorn, many massive glaciers and a valley of waterfalls that inspired Tolkien to create Rivendell in Lord of the Rings. On a trip in early 2012 I took a 5 day, near 3000 mile whirlwind tour of the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Big Sur, San Francisco, the Redwoods, the Oregon Coast and finally the Columbia River Gorge near Portland. Later in 2012, I took a solo trip into the Canadian Rockies and saw some of the most beautiful mountain scenery I have ever witnessed. I camped out at the top of the famous Columbia Icefields near the Athabasca Glacier. And almost twice a year, like clockwork, I go hiking at my second home in the Colorado Rockies.

This Is KansasThese are all adventures that I cherish. However, I live in Kansas. We don’t have towering peaks, 10 mile long glaciers or the crashing Pacific Ocean. This leads many to think that there is no beauty or adventure to be found here. And so many people never bother to look and see what a place like Kansas has to offer. But if you’re willing to look, you can find beauty in Creation anywhere. A year ago, I went to find Teter Rock. Teter Rock is a 20-something foot tall rock at the top of a tall hill in the Flint Hills that was originally used as a way-point for settlers crossing the plains many years ago. Torn down to use as constructions materials, the current Teter Rock was erected in the 1950s as a monument to the original. The view from this area is really beautiful. You can see for miles. My first time visiting Teter Rock last July was meant to be a shooting session for a sunset. I definitely captured a beautiful Flint Hills sunset. (which can be viewed in my Flint Hills gallery) But what came with the sunset was an amazing experience. Being from Kansas, I’m used to thunderstorms. We get everything from a rain shower to a tornado warning. But experiencing a Kansas storm roll across the open prairie like that is much different than experiencing it from the window of your home. Watching lightning crash down and hearing the rumble of thunder across the Flint Hills was an awe-inspiring experience I won’t soon forget. This experience reminded me of some lyrics in the Rich Mullins song, Calling Out Your Name:

Spring Sunset On The Konza Prairie“Where the sacred rivers meet / Beneath the shadow of the Keeper of the Plains / I feel thunder in the sky / I see the sky about to rain / And I hear the prairies calling out Your name”

These lyrics sum up what it’s like to be standing on the prairie during a thunderstorm with not a soul around for miles. If you’re from here in Kansas and have never experienced the open prairie during a thunderstorm, take a drive out in the Flint Hills and just sit and watch for a bit. It’s a pretty amazing experience. I have been back to Teter Rock 4-5 times to shoot everything from the night time sky to the aftermath of a blizzard. It’s still beautiful no matter the season. I have also since expanded my Kansas travels past Teter Rock. A few weeks ago, I shot a sunset at the Konza Prairie which is another beautiful part of the Flint Hills that’s just south of Manhattan. This made me want to take my girlfriend there to show her the beauty here in Kansas. So last Sunday I took her on a bit of an adventure through the Flint Hills. She shares my desire to see lots of beautiful places around the world and I figured it would be fitting to start by having a little adventure right here in Kansas.

Geary State Fishing Lake Waterfall PanoThe plan was to visit a few waterfalls I had researched a few months ago and to stop at a few scenic viewpoints. You can view a map of our Flint Hills adventure to see where all our travels took us that day. The first main stop was probably the best: Geary State Fishing Lake. The lake itself is pretty enough. Hilly, lots of trees and even some small cliffs in places. However, it wasn’t the lake that we stopped for.Geary State Fishing Lake WaterfallI had read that the spill-off for this lake has a pretty impressive waterfall during spring and after storms when water is flowing. So we parked in the little make-shift dirt parking lot and started walking across the dam. At the end of the damn, we started down a faint trail that led in the direction of the sound of running water. Not more than a minute or two later and we came out at the top of a 30-40 foot drop-off with a very impressive waterfall for the state of Kansas. As far as I know, this is the largest waterfall in the state. And it’s certainly impressive. After shooting some photos from the top of the waterfall, we hiked down an even fainter trail through the trees to the bottom of the waterfall to get another perspective. I kept thinking to myself that the area would look stunning in the fall right after a rain storm when the water is flowing and the leaves are golden. I made a mental note to come back to get some more shots in the fall. An overnight stay at the lake might be nice too; as I’m sure the stars would shine bright that far away from any major cities.

After spending some time wandering around the waterfall, we made our way back to the car and headed off for Manhattan for water and gas. After filling up, we stopped at the scenic overlook south of Manhattan. Lighting wasn’t good for photos, but I had stopped here two weeks previous and captured a really good sunset image.Konza Prairie SunsetYou can see that image to the right. This area is near to the Konza Prairie. We didn’t have time to stop and hike around, but one of these days I’d like to go back and do some exploring there. However, the scenic viewpoint is a great place to view a sunset. The Konza Prairie is a native tall grass preserve in the heart of the Flint Hills. Because of its steep-slopes overlain by shallow limestone soil, it is unsuitable for farming, which has left this area virtually untouched over the years. While it would have been nice to enjoy a quality sunset together at this scenic overlook, it was still hours before the sun was to go down.

Lower Chase Lake FallsWe decided to head back towards home with a few more stops along the way. Heading south on KS-177, we stopped briefly at the scenic Council Grove Lake. As time was running out before sunset, we skipped the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, and made our way to Cottonwood Falls. We headed west for a few miles to the Chase County State Fishing Lake to find the waterfalls in the spill off of the lake. After parking and walking across the dam, we followed the spill off towards the area of the waterfalls. The lake spill off is known to have at least 3 separate falls. Unfortunately this area had not received as much rainfall as Geary State Fishing Lake, as the waterfalls were mere trickles. They were still beautiful, but not nearly as impressive as the waterfall we had viewed earlier in the day. We spent a little time exploring and I made a mental note to come back after a rainstorm and in the fall when the leaves are turning colors. Both this area and the other falls should provide some beautiful autumn colors to work with. The pools that form below the waterfalls twirled the water around enough that I’m sure a few golden leaves would create a beautiful swirl of gold and orange colors come autumn. As it was starting to get towards evening, we hiked back up to the car, and headed south for the turnpike. The sunset hit while we were heading back to Wichita with no place to really stop and shoot it, so we just enjoyed the view and had some wonderful conversation on the way back home.

This little day trip reminded me of the biggest reason I shoot photography when traveling. I have a great desire to share my experiences and adventures with my friends, family and all who are interested. But to take someone with me and show them beautiful places in person is even better. I was glad to share the experience of the Flint Hills with my girlfriend. It makes me anxious to hopefully one day show her my favorite places in the Colorado Rockies or the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Nothing brings me greater joy and inspiration than to see the look of wonder and amazement on someone’s face when they see something so beautiful as a glacier or the waves crashing against the rocks at the ocean. Many people remark about how they wish they could travel to the places I visit. The truth is that I travel on a smaller budget than many realize. I save money where I can and use my vacation time wisely. But traveling doesn’t have to be to faraway exotic places. When I posted these waterfall photos on my personal Facebook page, I got comments and messages asking how in the world we found the Geary Lake waterfall. It’s easy. We explored. The point is that there is beauty to be found at home no matter where in the world you live. Many call Kansas “flat as a pancake” and “boring”. I find it beautiful. Not the same beautiful as the Swiss Alps or rainforests forests of the Pacific Northwest, but a beauty all of it’s own. You just have to be willing to experience it. So whatever place you call home, go explore it. There’s beauty to be had in Creation from the tallest mountain to the flat praire. You just be willing to go find it.

Posted under: Kansas