This must have been my lucky week. Not only did I win a blue ribbon at the fair photography contest, I’m very excited to announce that this fall photo will be published in the fall 2009 edition of Kansas! magazine. This is my first photo to be published in a magazine and I’m VERY excited! The magazine is published by the Travel and Tourism Development Division of the Kansas Dept. of Commerce, has a circulation of approximately 40,000 and is available on a limited basis in bookstores and shops, and can be found at local libraries.  The magazine’s web site is:

This image was taken one evening at Lake Shawnee in Topeka.  I used my 28-80 wide angle lens and got as close to the tree trunk as possible, shooting straight up into the canopy of the tree. It was exposed for .8 seconds @ F10, with some work in Lightroom and CS4 to bump up the contrast and saturation a bit. I decided after doing this that if I plan to shoot a lot of photos from this perspective, I better either get a right-angle viewfinder or upgrade my camera to one that has live view! What a crick in the neck I got!

Scarlet Lady

Scarlet Lady


My husband was off to Eureka Springs for a mountain bike race this weekend, and I wanted to go for a hike. I decided to head out to the Horsethief Canyon trails at Kanopolis Lake near Salina, which is in the beautiful Smoky Hills region of north central Kansas. It was a bit of a drive, but it was a beautiful day for cruising with the stereo blasting. I loaded up the car with my gear, the obligatory road trip snacks and my iPod and headed out.

I arrived at the trailhead to find no other vehicles in sight. Whoo hoo, I had the whole place to myself and could hike in quiet solitude!  The weather was awesome for mid-July Kansas standards: mid 80’s, light winds and low humidity. When I attempted to hike this trail in May, I was stopped by the first deep water crossing (it didn’t help that I saw a snake swimming around in the water).  The water was just as deep this time, so I went upstream about 1/4 mile and found a place where the creek was just a trickle and surrounded by what I thought was ordinary sand & mud. When I took the first step and instantly sank past my knees, I knew it wasn’t ordinary!  I had found a nice patch of quicksand.  I floundered around for about 5 minutes to extricate myself from the muck, looking all the time at the raccoon tracks on top of the sand. Obviously, I was a lot heavier than Mr. Raccoon…  I also was painfully aware of how ALONE I was and that if I continued to sink down to China, no one would know I had been there.  Finally, after 10 feet of struggling through the mire, I freed myself and fortunately didn’t lose my shoes, but I was covered from thigh to foot in dank, stinky mud. I then had to bushwhack back downstream 1/4 mile to find the marked trail. I made the decision to press on and hoped I didn’t have to deal with mud again.

I found the trails a little confusing but did manage to get on the right track. The canyon area is really cool, with rocky outcroppings peeking out among the hills.  Unfortunately, I ran into another water crossing but managed to find a place where I could boulder hop across. Whew!!  Right past this point was a really cool spot with colorful rocks. The one on the right was covered with different colored lichens and was a nice contrast to the red sandstone above.


At this point, the trail climbed for a bit and turned back to the south, where I was rewarded with a nice view of the lake.


The rather wet weather we’ve had lately certainly created a lush green carpet of grass in the Smoky Hills. The color contrast between the red rocks and green grass was very pretty.  I noticed when I shot this there were buzzards circling off in the distance. They were probably still looking for me down at the first water crossing!

A little beyond this point, I found a spot on a hillside with a thicket of sumac and a great colorful rock outcropping. I made note of it and might return in the fall. I can imagine it would be very colorful.  At this point, I decided it was time to head back to the car. I found an alternate route to cross the creek the final time, and arrived back at the car, exhausted and filthy.  The trails were in horrible shape – in places, the trail was barely discernable, and weeds were at times waist and even chest high, completely obliterating the trail. I won’t be surprised if I break out with poison ivy/oak in a few days, and I’ve already chased a few ticks off me.  Oh well, a bad day hiking and taking photos is still better than a good day at work!!

I’m very excited to announce the upcoming publication of my first photography book entitled “Kansas! Its Hidden Gems.” The book will be approximately 30 pages in length, with dimensions of 7″ X 7″ and will have a hardcover with dust jacket. It features beautiful full-color photos of both well-known and not so well-known scenic locations in Kansas. Tentative publication date is July 30.

Please contact me directly for pricing and other questions at