Where We Went in Kansas

by | Nov 12, 2013 | Impressive Places | 3 comments

8444_Near Manhattan -Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 32 mm, 1-125 sec at f - 11, ISO 100

I can’t believe it’s been over three weeks since we finished up CAPTURE Kansas! But I didn’t want it to slip by without giving a few more details about how it went. Taking “wow” pictures requires a whole lot more than just visiting “wow” locations. You have to be there at the “wow” time! In fact, lots of “wow” pictures aren’t even in “wow” locations. It’s more a matter of being there at the right time of day: sunset, sunrise, and the golden hours! So, what do you think we did during the workshop? Whatever it takes, I do everything I can to make CAPTURE unique by utilizing these most photogenic times. Keeping that in mind, here’s a brief overview of where we went and what we did at CAPTURE Kansas:


After spending Wednesday evening getting to know each member of the team and discussing what it means for photographers to be zealous unto good works and have a Biblical standard in their work, we got up bright and early Thursday morning to start learning hands on in the field. We arrived at this old, abandoned, 1878 home down an old dirt road before sunrise and began experimenting with the different metering modes on our cameras. A friend of the Lindsay’s owned the property and gave us permission to walk around freely to get whatever perspective we liked.

8043_Near Dover-Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-50 sec at f - 11, ISO 400

Just a ways down the road was an old barn that offered some more country subjects during the latter half of the golden hour. The Lindsay’s also knew these folks and said the only prerequisite for letting us shoot on their property was that we had send them our pictures afterward. We were happy to do so. Smile

8086_Near Dover-Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 65 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 4.5, ISO 400

That afternoon we talked about the Exposure Trio, the benefit of using each of the manual modes, and how to use your settings to get exactly what you’re looking for in a shot. To watch the sun go down and the moon come up, we paid a relaxed visit to the Old Stone Church just outside of Maple Hill.

8103_Maple Hill-Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 100


After practically freezing to death the morning before, everyone dressed more warm for our second morning out. We found ourselves an old country road off the Native Stone Scenic Byway where there were a lot of objects that would offer good silhouettes for sunrise. It was a great time to experiment in Manual mode again and I began to introduce the basic ideas behind good composition.

8184_near Dover-Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 85 mm, 1-125 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 400

The sun pierced through the clouds only for about half an hour that morning, so the clouds soon blocked any beautiful light. This made our next stop, the Kansas State Capitol Building, the perfect place to go. Here we had ample opportunities to practice looking for shapes and compositional elements not normally found in nature.

7893_Topeka-Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-30 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 3200

We edited pictures a lot that afternoon, plus time for a a nap, a session or two, and lots of critique. It was still cloudy come sunset so there wasn’t much of a golden hour. But when the sun did reach the horizon, all we had to do was step outside there at the Lindsay homestead and take a few on-location snap shots.

8295_Near Dover-Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 40 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 16, ISO 100


Saturday was our last day. It was pretty hard to get up, but it was well worth it. The sunrise in combination with the mist rising over Lake Shawnee created the best color we had seen all weekend! And a real answer to prayer that was. A thick layer of frost also made for uniqueness as we shot in the gardens close by.

8346_Topeka-Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 32 mm, 0.6 sec at f - 22, ISO 50

That afternoon, it warmed up and we made the hour drive out to the Flint Hills area. We stopped at Deep Creek Falls at Pillsbury Crossing to practice shooting long exposures.

8427_Near Manhattan -Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 45 mm, 0.6 sec at f - 22, ISO 50

Our finale location was the Konza Prairie Natural Area. It was the most off-the-beaten-path location that we visited. There are no words or pictures to properly describe the awe that one felt standing in that vast prairie of blowing gold!

8492_Near Manhattan -Kansas-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24 mm, 1-30 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 200

So next time you are in the Topeka area, you know where to go! Just make sure you go during the golden hour. And one thing is certain, we’ll be out there next year during CAPTURE Kansas 2014! To stay posted for when the actual dates will be announced, sign up for the Latest from Lenspiration e-mail updates on the Subscribe Page.


  1. Katie Wilson

    8 and 10 are lovely! Very well done!

  2. James Staddon

    Both shots were miracles, actually. The day I scouted Lakes Shawnee before the workshop was bitter cold, there wasn’t a whisp of mist, and it was a puny sunrise. I almost didn’t go during the workshop . . . though now I’m glad we did!

    And the shot from the Konza Prairie . . . the day I had originally planned to go was Friday, the cloudy day. It would have been a colorless afternoon as far as I know. However, God prearranged the schedules perfectly for each student allowing us to postpone it to Saturday, the perfect day!


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