Tag Archives: Kansas

Lightning In Kansas

It’s been a while since my last visit to our friends in Kansas.  I need to get back and see them soon.  Our first visit there was a dramatic one.  We had gone to the movies to see War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise.  At the beginning of that, there is a scene of what looks like lightning striking but it repeatedly hits the same place.  In the film, that is noted as being unnatural.  As we left the theater and drove home, a storm started raging around us.  The lightning was striking frequently and seemed to be in the same places.  Uh oh!

We got home and stayed inside as the storm reached its peak.  I have always loved thunderstorms and this one was outstanding.  I watched the lightning striking around us constantly.  I decided to take some pictures.  Photographing lightning is normally tricky to do.  If it is dark, you can go for long exposures and hope to get the lightning in some of the shots.  If you have a lightning trigger, you can let it do the work.  In this case, you didn’t need either.  I just shot out of the window and the chances were that there would be some lightning in the shot.  It was crazy.  Here are a couple of shots looking out of a bedroom window!

Cheerleading at the Shockers

wpid13385-AU0E8577.jpgAside from the basketball game at Wichita State, there was plenty of entertainment between the plays, Various competitions were held for people to try and win prizes and the cheering squad were there too. The cheerleaders did their thing and a section of guys spent a lot of time lifting the cheerleaders into the air, throwing them up and (fortunately) catching them again. Fun stuff to watch.

Wichita State Basketball

wpid13373-AU0E8496.jpgA work trip had me in Oklahoma City one week and needing to be back the next. I did have the option to fly home and then come back again. However, the length of the trip meant that I would get back and then quickly be back on my way again. Instead, I decided to stay over for the weekend. This was because I had a Plan B. My good friends Steve and Alysia live in Wichita Kansas which is just over two hours north of Oklahoma City so, after work on Friday, I headed up to see them for the weekend.

We had a fun time for the weekend, parts of which will appear in the blog in due course. One thing they had planned was to go and see a Wichita State basketball game. The Shockers were at home and a packed crowd was there to see them. We had to do some research to find out whether taking a camera in was allowed or not and it was so I dragged the camera along. I wasn’t shooting the game really. I just wanted to get some shots to see how they came out.

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The stadium appeared bright until you looked at a light meter. I needed to ramp the ISO up quite a bit which I did by switching to manual mode and then using Auto ISO. It worked pretty well. A couple of shots were a bit dark but that will be the case with any shooting mode if the metering gets confused. (My bodies are of a previous generation which does not have the ability to input exposure compensation in this mode. The 1DX does allow that. No idea why it took so long to show up but that is a different story.)

I did manage to get a few action shots. There was not a huge amount of dunking going on but I did catch a couple of more dramatic drives to the hoop. More importantly, I had a great time with Steve and Alysia. Thanks guys for setting up a great day out.


Kansas Aviation Museum

wpid13053-AU0E8152-Edit.jpgOne nice aspect of traveling a lot for work is that you periodically find yourself near to your friends and can make a visit. A recent trip had me not too far from Wichita and needing to spread the trip over a weekend so I was able to pop up and visit Steve and Alysia. On the Saturday, Steve had a suggestion for something to do. It was the Kansas Aviation Museum. What on earth made him think that I might like that I wonder?

wpid13051-AU0E8127-Edit.jpgThe museum is based at McConnell Air Force Base. It is located in the old civilian terminal building that has just undergone an extensive restoration. There is quite a collection of aircraft both within the building and outside. Given the major role that Wichita has played in aviation, it isn’t surprising that they have a lot of material to work with. Displays are in place throughout the museum along with some learning exhibits focused on a slightly younger audience so we obviously didn’t play with them.

wpid13061-AU0E8194-Edit.jpgThe smaller and more delicate types are inside the terminal. This sometimes means they are a little cramped being fitted in wherever the building will allow them to go. The larger stuff is outside. You can walk out amongst them. The 727 and 737 are not too surprising –many ex FedEx 727s are now scattered around the US – but the B-47 and B-52 are nice to see. I never knew that Beech made a jet version of the Mentor. That’s because there is only one of them and it is on display although not in great shape. A Starship is always a nice find and an early Learjet is welcome too.

wpid13077-AU0E8250.jpgThe old tower is open and a climb up there gives a good view across the displays as well as across to the KC-135s on the ramp of the base. The Boeing hangars are extensive although now dormant and the Spirit factory is just off behind you.

wpid13067-AU0E8222.jpgThere is a lot to see. The tower would be a fun place to be when the field is busy too. The collection is possibly in need of some extra attention just to keep the basics together. Museums like this are always struggling to get volunteers in to keep everything going so I wish them the best and hopefully they will be able to sustain what they have going.

Keeper of the Plains

wpid6626-AU0E8877.jpgIt has been a while since we last went to Wichita in Kansas.  We have good friends who live there and who we have visited before.  However, they have been on the move a lot in recent years and then we had to cancel a trip when things got a little hectic.  However, we finally got back down there again.  It was a great visit so thanks for having us guys.  While we were there, we took a walk along the Arkansas River.  Opinion appears to vary on how to pronounce this river depending on which state you are in but the joy of writing rather than speaking is that you won’t know which way I said it so you can’t tell me I am wrong!

wpid6624-AU0E8870.jpgThere is a split in the river near where we parked and there are a pair of bridges and an island with a large sculpture on it.  This is called the Keeper of the Plains.  It is a very impressive steel sculpture of a Native American with his arms raised to the skies.  Given plenty of time, I would have come back and seen it later in the day.  I am not sure if it is illuminated at night but it certainly was very impressive during daylight hours.  If you are in the area, do take a look.

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