Thane Rogers Photography: Blog en-us (C) Thane Rogers Photography (Thane Rogers Photography) Wed, 06 Apr 2016 19:31:00 GMT Wed, 06 Apr 2016 19:31:00 GMT Thane Rogers Photography: Blog 120 80 Mid-afternoon Sunset WildfireWildfireSmoke from the Anderson Creek wildfire burning in Oklahoma & Kansas. The fire burned over 400,000 acres, mostly in Kansas. Winds of 30 to 40mph, day and night for a week, have rapidly pushed the fire north into Kansas. On this afternoon, the sun was completely obscured here in Wichita even though the fire was 100 miles away. I snapped the photo over an hour before sunset.

A bad combination of drought, low humidity, and high winds have made Kansas a tinderbox. There have been numerous prairie wildfires across the state over the last two weeks. The smoke plumes were large enough to show up on weather radar. I took this photo of the smoke from the Anderson Creek wildfire as it moved across the Wichita metropolitan area one afternoon. 


The fire started in Oklahoma near Woodward but, with constant winds of 30-40 mph, day & night, the fire quickly raced north into Kansas. The wind made it impossible for firefighters to contain the fire. The fire burned for over a week and a half, scorching more than 400,000 acres. Most of those were in Kansas.


I took this photo one late afternoon, more than an hour before sunset. The wind had shifted direction and I noticed what I thought was a cloud bank moving in from the west. As it came over town, the sun became obscured, my eyes were burning and the strong stench of smoke filled the air. Those weren't rain clouds, unfortunately. The shifting wind was allowing the smoke plume to drift right across the city. I was surprised by how dense the smoke was, considering the wildfire was 100 miles away. This turned out to be the largest wildfire in state history.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas prairie prairie fire smoke sun wildfire Wed, 06 Apr 2016 19:28:34 GMT
Bouquet BouquetBouquet

A few days ago, my wife received a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her birthday. Of course all I could see was a photo opportunity on a cold and bleak January day. Hey, a photographer gets desperate this time of year, especially when the weather is not providing anything beautiful outside. I hope this warms your day.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) bouquet flowers pink red roses Fri, 15 Jan 2016 16:44:27 GMT
Blazing Avocets American Avocet 3American Avocet 3Quivira National Wildlife Refuge just after sunrise. The birds were posing in a nice formation with great reflections in the water. Also reflected in the upper portion is the warm light of sunrise illuminating the cattails at the back of the pool.

Photography is all about light: direct, indirect, reflected, warm, cool, bright, dim, morning, evening, mid-day, etc. Without some kind of light, there is no photograph. I was blessed with "perfect" light when I took this photo a week ago at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. I made the drive, hoping to photograph something in the fall migration. I had heard that water levels at the refuge were low due to a lack of any significant rain over the last month or two. I wasn't sure what I would find. Usually drought conditions mean that the water near the roads has dried up and any birds will be too far away to photograph. I always use my vehicle as a blind, shooting from the car window with a window mount and bean bag. The birds are used to seeing vehicles and usually are not spooked.


I arrived at the refuge shortly after sunrise and conditions were not looking good as I drove up the east side of the small marsh. It appeared that every pool close to the road was bone dry. I did see one pool up the road that had a little water in it. As I slowly approached, I saw there were a small group of American Avocets in the water. I was able to get in close without the birds flying. I could see that the light had a magical quality. The intense warm light of sunrise was illuminating the cattails at the back of the pool resulting in a blazing reflection in the water. The sun had not yet reached the birds or water. The near-white birds were standing out against the midnight blue water. The scene looked surreal. I knew I was capturing a special moment. And, how about that pose? Perfect!

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas Quivira National Wildlife Refuge autumn avocets birds nature shorebirds sunrise wildlife Tue, 03 Nov 2015 22:40:34 GMT
Monarch Migration Monarch ButterflyMonarch ButterflyMonarch on Salvia Leucantha.

A Monarch butterfly on Salvia leucantha at Botanica in Wichita, Kansas. Another Monarch fall migration is over for Kansas. I saw a few stragglers when visiting Botanica two days ago. Hopefully, with population counts low and Kansas temperatures getting down in the 20's and 30's last night, they all got the heck out of Dodge, so to speak. I did my part for the species this year. Five butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) have been growing in a bed in my yard for 4 years. I added five more this year. I also planted an Arizona milkweed (Asclepias angustifolia) in a large container on the patio this year. I had at least 10 caterpillars on the plants in late summer. Plants of the Asclepias species are the favored food source for Monarchs. I encourage everyone to plant more milkweed next year. 

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas butterflies flowers gardens insects nature wildlife Thu, 29 Oct 2015 21:28:56 GMT
Pet Spider Black & Yellow Argiope Spider 2Black & Yellow Argiope Spider 2

I know, believe me, I know the "ick" factor is pretty high here. No one cringes from spiders more than me but, I do find this particular spider beautiful and interesting. The Argiope aurantia is commonly known as Black and Yellow Garden Spider or Yellow Garden Spider. This is a female. The males are much smaller and colored a dull brown. Argiopes are orb-weavers, meaning they build a circular web. She hangs upside down in the center of the web waiting for a tasty morsel to fly into the web. She usually consumes and rebuilds her web each night. The zig-zag pattern woven into the web is known as the stabilimenta and is made from a special silk that reflects UV light differently than the rest of the web. It is believed to attract prey. She will not survive the winter here in Kansas. She will be killed by the first hard frost.


When I first discovered her, she only had a leg-span (top to bottom) of half an inch. She picked the perfect spot to build her web. It spans the space between three large container plants on my patio. She must be doing a good job of protecting my plants from harm because she has grown to 3" now (toe to toe). I check on her each morning and after every storm to be sure she is still there guarding my garden. Actually, I can keep my sanity only if I know where she is at all times. You know, it's that time of year when orb-weavers build webs in the most inconvenient places, seemingly always at head level, and we unsuspecting humans tend to walk right into them. Yuck! I hate spider surprises. If she disappears from her usual spot, I will be forced to stay indoors until the first hard frost when I know it will be safe to venture out again.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas gardens nature spiders Mon, 24 Aug 2015 21:22:59 GMT
Mug MugMug

A mug for your mug. Staff at Great Plains Nature Center, here in Wichita, have chosen one of my photographs for a coffee mug. I took the photo of the GPNC building one evening at twilight. The mug is now available in the Owl's Nest Gift Shop at the nature center. Fill your mug with your favorite beverage and sit back, relax and sip, while imagining various calming sounds of nature as night approaches. Oh, and the same photograph is available on postcards and photo magnets at the gift shop.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas mug nature Mon, 13 Jul 2015 20:29:02 GMT
Tulip Puzzles Are In Tulip PuzzleTulip Puzzle

Yes, you too can have 'Tons of Tulips'. The puzzles have arrived and are available in Botanica's gift shop.


A year ago, I was approached by Ravensburger Puzzle Co. about using a tulip photo I had taken at Botanica. The puzzles have been selling in Target stores across the country for the past year. Now that the Target exclusive has expired, we were able to acquire the few remaining puzzles which are now offered in Botanica's gift shop. 


If you want a puzzle, hurry to Botanica. There is a limited number and when they are gone, they're gone!

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas flowers gardens puzzles Sat, 30 May 2015 19:05:23 GMT
Hot Raccoon! Raccoon 1Raccoon 1One hot June day at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, I was driving by an old hollowed-out cottonwood, when I noticed a strange looking branch protruding from the trunk. It turned out to be a raccoon leg...

So, I am visiting Quivira National Wildlife Refuge on a hot and humid June day. As I drive by an old hollowed-out cottonwood, I notice a short hairy branch on the side of tree. Hmm, I don't remember seeing that when I passed by this morning. I just had to stop and investigate. It was now early afternoon and the temperature was rising. I hated to leave air-conditioned comfort but, I exited the car with binoculars in hand. That hairy branch turned out to be a raccoon leg. I wasn't sure if the owner was dead or alive. I moved for a better angle around the side of the tree. Oh, did I mention it was hot? It was around 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity. IT WAS HOT! 


In the hollow of the tree, I could see the leg belonged to a mother raccoon and I could see at least three youngsters crawling around on her. 

Raccoon 3Raccoon 3...The heat & humidity had taken their toll on mom & being smothered by 3 babies didn't help...

You can just see the mother raccoon's ear at the bottom. Poor mom, three hot little bodies around her and not a breath of air. I'll bet she was dreaming of a dip in a cool stream about now.

Raccoon 4Raccoon 4...Not sure if junior was loving on mom or trying to cool her off...

I don't know if this was junior expressing his love for mom or his attempt at cooling her off.

Raccoon 5Raccoon 5...The mother raccoon managed to get some air.

Mom just looks exhausted, doesn't she?

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas Quivira National Wildlife Refuge mammals raccoon summer wildlife Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:35:29 GMT
Beautiful Arbutus Arbutus Tree 5Arbutus Tree 5A close-up of the multi-colored bark.

I love the colorful bark of arbutus trees. Known also as Madrone or Madrona tree, it is Canada's only native broadleaved evergreen tree. It is found along the coast of the Pacific Northwest usually growing only within 3 miles of the ocean. In summer, the reddish bark sheds its skin like a snake, peeling in thin flakes to reveal new yellow-green bark beneath. In this photo, I used a macro lens to create a close-up abstract of color and patterns. I noticed that in the warm light of a sunset, arbutus trees have an intense orange/red glow.


Although its colorful bark is the most visual feature, the arbutus tree has other interesting characteristics. They can reach over one hundred feet in height and live to be 500 years old. In spring, the trees are covered in white blossoms which are an important source of honey for local beekeepers. In the fall, the blossoms have changed to orange fruits that feed birds and deer. In Madrid, Spain, the fruit is distilled into a sweet, fruity liqueur. Arbutus is also a good fuelwood since it burns hot and long. 

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) British Columbia Canada Saltspring Island abstracts arbutus nature tree bark trees Tue, 03 Feb 2015 17:45:20 GMT
Yellowbook Margie Button Memorial GardenMargie Button Memorial GardenBotanica, Wichita, Kansas.

For those of you who are in the Wichita area - ALERT! ALERT!

You should be getting your Yellowbook phone book any day now. I found mine on the front porch today. What? ....PHONE BOOK, PHONE BOOK! You remember those don't you? Now before you immediately toss it in the trash, you may want to rip the cover off and frame it. OK, maybe not. A photo of mine is on the cover. I know, I never thought it would happen either. The local Yellowbook people wanted to feature Botanica on the cover this year and staff at Botanica was gracious in sending them one of my photos. See, now you have a reason to keep a phone book around.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas book covers flowers gardens landscapes scenic Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:08:22 GMT
Chasing Canadian Sunsets Victoria SunsetVictoria SunsetAnd in the evening, the hotel balcony is a great place to watch the sun set.

We recently made a trip to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Every place we stayed was on the water, every night for two weeks. I thought that this would give me ample opportunities to photograph at least one good sunset on the water. So, where ever we were spending the night, I would start to watch the sky in late afternoon, try to predict if necessary conditions for good color were coming together, and plan where I wanted to be with a good subject for the foreground. Of course, I drove my wife crazy with this. I would basically say, "I don't know what you want to do for dinner this evening but, I need to be at this location a few minutes before sunset". It can complicate a relaxing dinner, timing is everything you know. There were a couple of times I dragged my tripod and camera gear into the restaurant with us, only to run out before finishing dinner, leaving my wife to pay the bill, because the appointed time was quickly upon me. I did get a few decent sunsets among the many nights that were a bust because the sun dropped from a clear blue sky. On this night in Victoria, I had plans for a couple of spots around the Inner Harbour if a sunset presented itself (being at the Hotel was not one of them). We had been seeing the sights in town throughout the day and arrived back at the Inn at Laurel Point early evening. The skies did not look promising. A low cloud layer had moved in, too low, I thought, for the setting sun to illuminate them. We had settled back into our room for the evening. I looked out to the west from our balcony and was startled to see the clouds breaking and a beautiful sunset developing. Knowing peak color only lasts a couple of minutes, I had no time to go anywhere. It was either shoot it from the balcony or not at all. I was thinking, "Here is the best sunset of the trip and I'm stuck in the hotel". After getting home and processing the photos, I realized, this is the best sunset of all; the rich color, the clouds reflecting in the hotel pond, and the silhouetted couple raising a cellphone to capture the beauty (click on image for larger view). I love it when a plan comes together. Yeah, right!

Stay tuned for more BC photos, I will get them posted soon!

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) British Columbia Canada Victoria harbors scenic sunsets travel waterways Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:59:50 GMT
Halloween Notecards Vintage Halloween 1 CardVintage Halloween 1 Card

I have created note cards from three vintage Halloween postcards. I love the art and graphics from these old postcards. If you are in the Wichita area, you can purchase the note cards at Bella Luz, 300 N. Mead, Wichita, KS. Have a wonderfully frightful Halloween!

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Halloween Kansas autumn cards postcards vintage Tue, 07 Oct 2014 19:56:41 GMT
Tulip Puzzle Tulips 1Tulips 1Spring tulip display at Botanica, Wichita, KS. THE GOOD NEWS:

I was approached by a worldwide puzzle company, asking to use this photo (tulip display at Botanica, Wichita's botanical gardens) as a jigsaw puzzle. It's part of a product release exclusive to Target. The puzzle is now being sold in Target stores nationwide. How exciting for me!!



The puzzle is almost impossible for anyone to find. It is distributed to Target stores in an assortment of new puzzles. It appears there was one box of the assortment sent to each store in the nation, thus, one of my tulip puzzles per store. Target is not selling these online and stores will probably not restock since every 3 months a completely new assortment will be introduced. So, if you must have one, and I know you must, jump in your car and start searching Target stores in your area. There are probably still some out there. Don't bother looking in the Wichita area, I happen to know the 4 puzzles from the 4 area stores sold the day they went on the shelf.


]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas flowers gardens nature scenic Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:18:40 GMT
Kansas Sunflowers Sunflowers 1Sunflowers 1A field of sunflowers facing early morning sun. West of Hutchinson, Kansas. I knew they would be transfixed on the rising sun, oblivious to anything else. Or, at least, that is what I hoped for. I had envisioned photographing them from the back... sun streaming through their petals... setting them all aglow. I grabbed camera and tripod and headed in slowly, quietly, so as not to disturb them. But, as I took the first photo, one of them turned to face me. I knew the jig was up. Before I could compose the second photo, they were all facing me.

Sunflowers 2Sunflowers 2A field of sunflowers west of Hutchinson, Kansas.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas flowers landscapes nature scenic sunflowers Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:52:47 GMT
'All American Chief' Daylily 'All American Chief' Daylily'All American Chief' Daylily It must be summer, daylilies are blooming. And, it certainly feels like it today with the temperature expected to break 100 degrees in Wichita, Kansas. We have been lucky so far. Kansas seems to have gotten a respite from the drought this year. All of the rain and cooler temperatures have made for a bounty of blooms this spring. Of course, the abundant moisture has also brought sticky humidity and mosquitoes which have been rare over the past few years. 

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas daylily flowers gardens landscapes nature scenic Mon, 07 Jul 2014 14:40:17 GMT
Armadillo Armadillo 1Armadillo 1A Nine-banded Armadillo rooting around in the leaf debris looking for insects. I found this guy while photographing at the Old Mill in Oxford, noted in the previous post. I visited the mill a week before snow blanketed the landscape. My tripod was set up at the edge of the pond and as usual I was directing my concentration through the camera's viewfinder, totally absorbed in trying to develop the perfect composition. I started to notice the sound of some critter rustling in the leaves on the ground behind me. Of course, I thought it was a rambunctious squirrel trying to rediscover some buried acorns for a late winter snack. I did not allow the sound to break my concentration. As I continued to snap photos of the mill at various angles, the rustling also continued. Finally, I turned around to see what that pesky squirrel was doing. Why, it wasn't a squirrel at all! I was surprised to see a nine-banded armadillo with it's head down, bulldozing through the leaves. He/she was probably looking for a tasty insect. The armadillo quickly scooted through the litter to within ten feet of me when it stopped and raised it's head to look around. Upon seeing me, it scurried off, disappearing into some tall grass. I guess that armadillo and I had been equally oblivious of each other, both lost in concentrating on our separate missions.

Armadillo 2Armadillo 2A Nine-banded Armadillo rooting around in the leaf debris looking for insects.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas armadillo mammals nature winter Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:17:12 GMT
Oxford's Old Mill Oxford Old MillOxford Old MillThe Old Mill at Oxford, Kansas, was built in 1874. Learn more here. The Old Mill in Oxford, Kansas, was built in 1874. A 3 mile race was hand dug to bring water to the mill from the Arkansas River. The water passing through the mill provided electricity to run the mill. A dam was also constructed on the Arkansas River to divert more water to the mill. The mill played a key role in helping early Oxford become a thriving town by producing "Oxford's Best" flour & cornmeal. 


I had heard of the mill in Oxford for years but, had never visited the town. I thought, if we get a decent snow this winter, the mill might be a good photo opportunity. The recent snowfall in early February provided the perfect setting. I waited a few days for the roads to get cleared and was then hoping for some sun... but, get there before the snow melted ( I know, photographers are a picky lot). The first sunny day was only 18 degrees & just what I needed.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas Oxford architecture historical landscapes scenic winter Thu, 20 Feb 2014 21:12:31 GMT
Vintage Valentine Vintage Valentine 1 card copyVintage Valentine 1 card copy It's almost Valentine's Day and if you need an idea on what to get your Sweetie, I have a solution for you. Go by Bella Luz, 300 N. Mead, in Old Town Square in Wichita. I have created four different Valentine note cards featuring artwork from early 1900's postcards. Bella Luz has set up a Valentine display with lots of gifts. You can pick up a wonderful gift and one of my cards to go with it. One stop shopping. It doesn't get any easier than that.


Have a wonderful Valentine's Day! 

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas Valentine's Wichita gifts note cards postcards Tue, 04 Feb 2014 21:11:53 GMT
Winter Gardening Amaryllis 'Aphrodite'Amaryllis 'Aphrodite'

I decided to brighten my winter days by forcing some amaryllis bulbs again this year. The flowers are so big and spectacular, they can't help but bring some joy to dull and cold winter weather. Growers offer a huge selection of color now. Of course, color is still limited mostly to combinations of white, pink & red but, combinations of markings are almost limitless. And, getting the bulbs to bloom is so easy. Even someone without the slightest tinge of green on their thumb, can have success. You can purchase bulbs already potted or for the price of one potted bulb you can get two bare bulbs and pot them up yourself. Plant each bulb in a 6-7" pot in standard potting soil, place in a warm sunny window, water only when the top inch of soil feels dry, and in 8-10 weeks you will be enjoying big beautiful flowers. You don't even have to fertilize. There is plenty of food for producing the flowers stored in the bulb. There are many online sources but, I ordered this year from White Flower Farm . 'Aphrodite' is shown in the photo above. I really liked the way each petal has a sharp red line along the edge. The other variety I tried this year was 'Sweet Nymph' which was a nice solid pink. The one I grew last year was 'Dancing Queen'. I highly recommend any of these three. You can regrow the bulbs after flowering in hopes that they will flower again next winter but, for the price of the bulb, I would rather throw it away after the blooms are finished and try a different one nest season. I received both bulbs in late November and potted them up immediately. 'Sweet Nymph' started blooming at Christmas and 'Aphrodite' is blooming now in mid-January. It was nice they did not bloom at the same time, we had a longer period to enjoy them.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) amaryllis bulbs flowers nature winter Wed, 22 Jan 2014 23:25:29 GMT
Illuminations Funky-Art TreeFunky-Art TreeIlluminations at Botanica, Wichita, Kansas. The Funky-Art Tree was a new display this year.

It is the last weekend to visit Illuminations at Botanica (botanical gardens in Wichita, Kansas). I think the coolest new display this year is the Funky-Art Tree. Part of a big mulberry tree is strung with lights and a few other curiosities have been added including chinese lanterns, a chandelier, and a child's bicycle. Everyone should take the opportunity to, as they say, "see the gardens in a whole new light".

Trees on Boeing PondTrees on Boeing PondIlluminations at Botanica, Wichita, Kansas.

]]> (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas gardens light displays night winter Fri, 27 Dec 2013 23:10:18 GMT