Arkansas River in Wichita

 

After two dry summers in a row, we may be finding ourselves on the upswing towards ending our drought.

Here are a few panoramic shots I took with my phone this morning in Wichita, Kansas.

 

WatsonPark8.5.13

The photo above was taken from the bank at Watson Park. It shows the water levels from the John Mack bridge (at Pawnee street) to the Broadway Street bridge.

HermanHill8.5.13

This one is from the opposite bank of the river, at Herman Hill Park.

LincolnStreet8.5.13

And finally, the river at the Lincoln Street bridge and dam. This shows the newly constructed dam, fish passage, and walkway – the water has reached the edge of the sidewalks, and the debris line showed the water level had gone up onto and above the sidewalks earlier today!

 

Spring is for Burning

PrairieBurn

Controlled (or prescribed) burns are an important part of prairie management for wildlife, reducing the amount of dead plant materials next to the ground, controlling unwanted weeds and insects, and giving the prairie new life. Today I had a front row view!

CedarFlames

Eastern red cedars can be invasive, and one way to reduce their impact is through prescribed burning.  This one went from fully engulfed in flames to ashes and a few wisps of smoke in less than a minute – it was impressive!

Snow Days

It’s old news by now, but we’re enjoying about a foot of snow around here in the past two days.  The weather has closed both my office and the school but has opened the door for some fun in the snow – not to mention the much-needed precipitation we need on our fields and in our streams and lakes.

During my lunch hour yesterday, I tip-toed onto the path outside my office and found some fresh whitetail deer tracks in the snow.  A few moments later, I was face to face with a doe and her two yearling twins – who were comfortable enough in the heavy snowfall to pose for a few moments.

This morning we woke to find an additional six inches of snow on the ground, and the temptation to play in it was too much for our Labrador and my youngest son to bear.  They raced outside, rolling around in the drifts and chasing each other in loops around the yard.

One of the cutest things are snowflakes on a puppy’s nose.
Sugar raced up to greet him with so much enthusiasm that she slid, spraying his face with snow.

Oh, give me a home

About 15 minutes of free time and some late afternoon light found me as I was passing Maxwell Wildlife Area near Canton, Kansas today.  The elk and bison were cooperatively within the reach of my lens, so I snapped a few shots before returning to my drive home.  A large group of male elk congregated on the horizon atop a hill, while a smaller group of young bison calves slowly grazed; each group of animals casting a wary eye in my direction.  While these herds are frequently observed by visitors to the area, and are used to the attention – they do provide an otherwise rare glimpse into what the prairie may have looked like only a couple of centuries ago.

Bull Elk group

Bison group

Bison Calf profile

Bison Calf

Hello!

Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve been working and planning towards an exciting new chapter in my photography.  This blog will be a part of that – a place to show both my work and inspiration.  I’ll be writing and sharing photography from portrait sessions as well as from my personal interest in nature and the prairie. Please check back often as I add content and work out the particulars.

Kansas Sky