I recently spent the better part of a night in the Kansas Flint Hills—more specifically on a hill somewhere on the Flying W Cattle Ranch. The Flying W is a 7,000 acre ranch where you can get far enough away from city lights to view and photograph the Milky Way. I saw more stars that night than I ever imagined could be visible to the naked eye. Just looking at the vastness of that sky and our universe made me feel small and insignificant, yet also invigorated and alive.
I was there for a night photography workshop, something I’d never tried before. I’m an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of girl and prior to the workshop I worried that I might not be able to stay awake and alert enough to follow instructions. But in the end it wasn’t hard at all—at least the staying awake part. I was so excited by the night sky and the adventure of being out on all that open prairie in the middle of the night that the last thing on my mind was sleep.
Part of me wanted to forget about tripods, focus points, shutter speeds and camera angles and simply experience the moment. I wanted to do nothing more than drink in the sounds, smells, and views around me. But if it wasn’t for photography I wouldn’t have been there to begin with. And now that I’m home I’m so happy to have photos to remind me of that supremely serene experience.
For more serene thoughts and photos here’s a post from Jillian Baudry, a photographer in Southern France.