Sometimes you just need the grand landscape

Nebraska presents a constant challenge to the photographer browsing the pages of outdoor magazines.  So many people flying off to exotic locations and returning with photographs of either a) snow covered mountains dazzling in the sun with alpine lakes at their feet, or, b) azure water bounded by glistening white beaches backed by waving palm trees all under puffy white clouds floating in a blue sky.

It’s not our topography around the Cornhusker State.

I’ve decided it is a special photographer who is willing to spend the time and effort to find and make images of the equally dazzling aspects of the Great Plains.  And there are some to discover but you usually have to look a little closer than the horizon.

Still, as someone who ingested a steady diet of National Geographic and Outdoor Photography while becoming a photographer, I do at times need my fix for the Grand Landscape expected of the typical outdoor cameraman.  Fortunately, I went to school where making those images was possible in all directions of the compass and I filled a hard drive with candidates for those days I too lazy to search through the Plains.

ISO 100, 400mm, 1/30 sec., f/5.6

This one, for example, was just a glance out my car window looking south from Philipsburg, Montana.  I’d literally stopped to get gas while driving north back to the Interstate when I looked back the way I’d come and saw this line of mountains and foothills.  Probably looked a little silly setting up a tripod and telephoto lens in the parking lot of a gas station, although come to think of it, so many photography students roam those back roads I’m sure the residents were pretty used to the sight.  We’re talking about an area where the chipmunks come up and give advice on aperture selections….


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