Thane Rogers Photography: Blog en-us (C) Thane Rogers Photography [email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:55:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:55:00 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.

[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (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!

[email protected] (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

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. 

[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (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!

[email protected] (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?

[email protected] (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. 

[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (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!

[email protected] (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!

[email protected] (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.


[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (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' DaylilyBotanica, Wichita, KS. 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. 

[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (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! 

[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (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.

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas gardens light displays night winter Fri, 27 Dec 2013 23:10:18 GMT
Buffalo Auction Maxwell BisonMaxwell BisonThe Buffalo Auction at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge near McPherson, Kansas.

click image for larger view

Last week I received a call from good friend and photography cohort, Bob Gress. He had made a spur of the moment decision to drive up to the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge for the Buffalo Auction, or to be politically correct, the Bison Auction. I had never attended the auction & had nothing better to do. It sounded fun. The problem was, I only had 40 minutes to change clothes, figure out what photo gear to take, pack it, let the dog out for a bathroom break, and meet him at a location about 15 minutes drive from my house. 


There were not many photo opportunities at the auction but, I really enjoyed the experience. Maxwell has resident herds of bison and elk. Each year, since 1978, the refuge has auctioned off a few buffalo. This year 65 animals were sold to people who were going to raise them for meat, or establish a herd, or even add to their existing herd. Calves from this year, as well as yearlings and adults were auctioned. It sometimes got a little too exciting, especially when a group of adult buffalo would enter the ring. They would tend to panic and run around the small enclosure, looking for a way out. I was kneeling, photographing through a gap in the corral railing when an adult bull charged and slammed into the solid steel corral wall in front of me. I looked up see him trying to come over the top. WOW! Thankfully, I have never been that "up close and personal" with bison when photographing them in Yellowstone (and hope I never am). 

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas Maxwell Wildlife Refuge bison buffalo nature Mon, 25 Nov 2013 16:45:59 GMT
People's Choice CardinalCardinalPhoto was taken in the Botanica Bird Garden in Wichita, KS.

click on image for larger view

I am proud to announce that my cardinal photo won the People's Choice Award in Botanica's photo contest this year. The cardinal and I thank everyone that voted. The photo was taken the morning after our record 16" snowfall last winter. Botanica had been transformed into a winter wonderland over night and I was the first visitor in the gardens that morning. I caught the cardinal in the Woodland Bird Garden taking a short break from dining at the feeders.


I encourage all of you in the Wichita area to visit Botanica and bring your camera, take some photos and enter them in next years contest.

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas birds cardinals gardens nature winter Tue, 19 Nov 2013 20:38:33 GMT
Halloween Mouser Halloween MouserHalloween Mouser

A few feral cats reside in Sim Park in Wichita. It's only fitting that wild cats live in a wild park. Much of the park is unmaintained. It must be an exciting place to hunt. The cats often make their way through the gardens at Botanica to pick out delectable items from the garden menu. This gray beast caught my eye as it hid beneath the shrubs waiting for me to pass by. 


Actually, the exposure of this photo was a mistake. We all admit our mistakes, right? The shot was grossly underexposed since I had quickly put my flash on the camera but, neglected to adjust the exposure. At first I was disappointed when I saw this on the computer screen. It was originally much darker than this. But, then as I played around with the image, trying to coax something out of the darkness, this great gray hunter emerged. The flash had reflected off his retinas, creating an eerie eye shine. 


Happy Halloween!

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas cats gardens nature Mon, 28 Oct 2013 20:33:23 GMT
Puffed Bittern American BitternAmerican BitternAn unusual siting at Botanica. I was there early one cloudy morning to photograph the gardens. I was the first one in the gardens that morning. Thought I would check the pond for water lilies. As I started in on the boardwalk, I looked over the side into a cluster of pickerel weed. I was startled by movement directly below only eight feet away. I immediately noticed it was an American Bittern puffed up in a defensive posture. The birds froze just long enough to get a few shots before sneaking off into cover.

I went over to Botanica last week to see what there might be to photograph. I had arrived early and the gardens were just opening. The cold temperatures must have been delaying visitors this morning. I had the whole place to myself, except for a few staff gardeners. The season for photographing flowers is near an end. A possible frost is in the weather forecast. I knew it was probably too late to find any water lily or lotus blooms but, it doesn't hurt to check. As I entered the pond area on the boardwalk, I looked over the edge into a cluster of pickerel weed. I was startled by sudden movement within eight feet of me. The source of the commotion was an American Bittern that had puffed up into a defensive posture at the sudden site of me.


I quickly pulled back enough to be out of the bird's sight while I fumbled with changing lenses. When I peered back over the the side of the boardwalk again, I was surprised to see the bittern had not sneaked off into cover. It was still frozen in that defensive posture. I got only a few shots before it slowly moved into the cattails. I have observed and photographed bitterns many times but, have never seen this puffed up posture before. The common view of a bittern is depicted in the photo below. The bird is more often seen frozen in a vertical stance as it tries to blend in with reeds or cattails.


I like surprises! What a memorable morning!

American Bittern 3American Bittern 3Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas birds gardens nature Mon, 21 Oct 2013 14:49:42 GMT
Victor/Victoria Victoria 1 Last week produced the first bloom of the season on the giant Victoria water lily at Botanica. A little later than usual but, worth waiting for. Historically, the species was discovered in the Amazon river basin in the early 1800's. Mature plants have pads (leaves) that can reach 10' in diameter and flowers that can be 18" across. You will not see any that large at Botanica but, they will still look impressive floating among the standard lilies. The plant has some interesting features: flowers are produced one at a time; each flower only last a couple of days and are only open at night; the bottom of the leaf pads are covered in thorns to prevent fish from feeding on them; air trapped in spaces within the leaves make them so buoyant that large mature pads can support the weight of a small child. 


The flowering cycle is quite unique. On the first night, the flower bud opens pure white as a female, emitting a pineapple fragrance to attract pollinating scarab beetles (which don't exist here). By sunrise, the flower is closing back up for the day. When the flower opens on the second night, the color has changed to pink and it is now a male flower full of pollen to be dispersed to other first-night flowers. By the next morning, the flower has withered and disappears beneath the surface of the water.


It can be a challenge to observe the Victoria water lily in bloom since the flowers are only open at night and each plant produces only one flower every few days. Your best chance is to visit on a cloudy morning which delays the closing of the flower. This flower was still open at 10:30 a.m. due to persistent clouds that morning. I was unable to make it back the next day to see the pink phase.

Victoria 2

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas flowers gardens nature Thu, 22 Aug 2013 21:40:34 GMT
Botanica Blooms Notecards Botanica Blooms Notecard 2 New 'Botanica Blooms' notecards are available in the gift shop at Botanica. The cards feature a variety of flowers from the gardens with an identification key on the back. I chose a title that has a double meaning to me - 'Botanica Blooms' with 'Botanica Blooms'. Catchy, I thought. I hope you like the fun design! The cards are also available with a white background (as seen below). I could not decide which I liked best so both are in the gift shop.

Botanica Blooms Notecard 1

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas flowers gardens nature notecards Wed, 14 Aug 2013 21:25:03 GMT
Wet and Wild Whitetail Deer Fawn 2 A couple of weeks ago, I took advantage of a break in our hot Kansas temperatures. I thought with highs forecasted to reach only mid-80's, it would be a good opportunity to get out and take some photographs. My main objective was to head west and south of Hutchinson to check out possibilities of sunflower fields. I had found a couple of good fields last year in that area. To my dismay, one was seeded to a different crop this year, the other was left fallow, and I did not run across any other sunflower fields. I decided since I was most of the way there, I may as well visit the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. I had a fairly productive day in the refuge, nothing great. I decided to leave when the sun disappeared behind an approaching thunderstorm. I drove through heavy rain (luckily no hail) as I made my way through the 8 miles to the south gate. Just as I was exiting the refuge, the rain stopped. I had reached the back edge of the storm and the clouds were breaking. I was only a few hundred yards outside of the refuge when I noticed some deer crossing the road in front of me. They ducked into a field hedgerow as I approached. I pulled into the edge of the pasture through a drive and waited.  It was not long before a doe ventured out of cover into the pasture followed by her fawn. I stayed in the vehicle using it as a blind to photograph from. 


It was one of those special moments that made the trip worthwhile. 

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas Quivira National Wildlife Refuge deer nature wildlife Wed, 24 Jul 2013 17:56:35 GMT
Closed Petrol? Okains Bay Darn, I wanted to see if I could really watch TV while filling up. Not sure why there is a TV next to the pump if it's not functional, right?


Debbie and I made a return visit to New Zealand this past April. When we toured the South Island in December 2011, we did not quite see everything. We just had to go back to see the rest and also visit some favorite spots a second time. I am going to break up this year's trip into several galleries, the first of which has just been posted. Please enjoy and check back as I add more galleries from the latest trip. Thank You!

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) New Zealand architecture flowers gardens historical landscapes nature scenic travel Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:43:23 GMT
Welcome Snow Botanica Winter Snow, snow, beautiful snow! Kansas has been terribly dry for three years now. Wichita had two snows in February, only a couple of days apart, totaling 21 inches. That set a record for Wichita for the most snow in one month in recorded history. Hey, it's moisture. Nobody is complaining that it's in the form of snow.


I've been waiting 3 yrs. for a decent snow to go out and photograph some snow scenes. So, of course, I was out the morning after we received our 14.2 inch snowfall. Botanica was beautiful. This sculpture titled 'Harvest Time' seemed to fit right in. The little volunteer was obviously helping clear snow from paths.


The photo below reflects the first scene that greeted me as I entered the gardens. The tables on the terrace have a hole in the middle for an umbrella. The snow had piled up in the form of large angel food cakes on the tables. It looked as though Botanica should be declaring Angel Food Cake Day - all you can eat!

Botanica Cake

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas gardens nature sculptures snow winter Tue, 05 Mar 2013 19:24:39 GMT
Happy Valentine's Day Amaryllis 'Dancing Queen' OK, I know it's not roses but the color is appropriate, right? Sometimes a photographer just has to work with what's at hand. Besides, it does not hurt to break tradition once and a while. 


Winter for us gardeners gets pretty bleak and boring at times, especially right now in Kansas. Two years into a severe drought, which I have heard, may continue at least another year and not hardly a snowflake in sight so far. I decided to give my spirits at least a temporary boost. It had been many years since I had forced the big flowering amaryllis bulbs into winter bloom. I saw one named 'Dancing Queen' listed in a mail order catalog and it was touted as having a large double flower. It looked so spectacular I just had to give it a try. I certainly was not disappointed. The bulb bloomed it's little heart out with a total of ten 8-9" flowers. Wow! I am actually looking forward to next winter. Maybe we will even get some snow!

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Kansas amaryllis bulbs flowers nature winter Thu, 14 Feb 2013 19:22:47 GMT
HDR Photography St Patrick's Basilica 3 Thought I would share another website where you can view some of my photos. I don't plan on displaying any there that are not on my personal website first but, you might find it an interesting site to visit. It is all HDR photography only. HDR or high dynamic range photography is getting quite popular. There are even phone apps now. The method combines several exposures to exhibit a wider range of light than can be shown in a single capture.

You will see some amazing photographs from photographers around the world. You will see a wide range of HDR styles from subtle to garish. Some you will love, others you will hate. It is an interesting range of art. I am amazed at the number of views these images can obtain in a short period of time. I have found some with over a half million views.

So many images are added each day that my photos get buried in the pile quickly. You can find my stuff easily by visiting the site - - and clicking on "advanced sort", entering "ThaneRogers" in the "username" field. Then, click on the thumbnails if for a full view.

BTW, I have not acquired an Editor's Pick yet but, viewing that category will display some of the best work.

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) HDR photography fine art Tue, 15 Jan 2013 16:03:41 GMT
Illuminating Notecards Botanica Illuminations 5 I'm sure most of you can remember when letters were handwritten. No, not emailed, texted, blogged, facebooked, myspaced, fluttered, twittered, or tweeted. I am talking about a one to one (not one to hundreds) communication. You know, a personal note from the heart, written by your own hand, in your own illegible scrawl. You still remember receiving such a letter or note from someone, right? Opening the envelope and holding the actual piece of paper thoughtfully touched, possibly cried upon, by the sender. Remember how thrilled, gratified, and fullfilled you were upon receiving such a personal note from someone who thought you were worth the time and effort. I am offering a way to keep that ancient form of communication alive. 


Notecards depicting this year's lighting displays during Botanica's Illuminations are available, awaiting your personal finishing touch. Just drop by "The Gift Garden" at Botanica to acquire the power to brighten the day of a friend or loved one. And be sure to visit Botanica in the evening before the end of December to experience Illuminations. I thank you, Botanica thanks you, and the United States Postal Service thanks you.


I also have notecards with a variety of themes, including birthday cards, at Bella Luz (300 N. Mead in Old Town), and The Owl's Nest Gift Shop at the Great Plains Nature Center (6232 E. 29th N.). 



[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas gardens holiday lights nature Wed, 12 Dec 2012 20:30:32 GMT
Contest Award Parrot Tulip 'Apricot' I am proud to announce that my photo of 'Apricot' Parrot Tulips took 3rd place in the Botanica photo contest this year. It also won a Patron Award in the category of 'Best Tulip Display'. There were around 300 entries this year. I encourage you to visit Botanica and see all of the excellent photographs that won awards. They are displayed on the lobby walls. I was glad to see new people entering the contest this year. It is always nice to see new perspectives. 

You can click on the photo for a larger view. 

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica flowers gardens nature tulips Wed, 14 Nov 2012 17:29:21 GMT
Gifts to China


I was deeply honored and excited to have a selection of my notecards, featuring Botanica scenes, being hand-delivered in China last week. Wichita's mayor and a delegation of local business people left on a 5-city business development trip to China. The itinerary included a visit with a delegation from Wichita's sister city Kaifeng, China, to re-establish a relationship of cultural and educational exchange. Botanica Director Marty Miller was among the group from Wichita. Marty was to present plans to develop a Chinese Garden at Wichita's botanical gardens. Marty took a selection of my notecards to be presented as gifts to the Kaifeng delegation. How cool is that!!


You can view my Botanica photos here.

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Botanica Kansas flowers gardens nature Wed, 24 Oct 2012 16:37:04 GMT
Harvest Moon Mormon Row


We just returned from a week in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. What a great trip. I tried to time it for peak fall color. The last week of September is usually a safe bet, as it was this year. The bright clear yellows of aspen trees looked great early in the week but, had turned to "dirty" yellow by week's end. Leaves were starting to fall. It was evident that NW Wyoming is suffering drought much like here in Kansas, resulting in diminished color in some areas.


I had a wonderful time observing and photographing wildlife. We saw elk, bison, pronghorn, wolves, coyotes, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, black bear, bluebirds, ravens, magpies, and plenty of crazy tourists. 


The photo above is the Thomas Moulton barn on Mormon Row, located NE of Jackson in the Gros Ventre River valley. Thomas and brother John were part of a group of Mormon pioneers that settled and started farming this area in the 1890's. The Moulton barns are the most photographed barns in the country. I drove out before dawn to get to the barns in hopes of capturing the full Harvest Moon. The moon was quickly dropping behind the Tetons just before sunrise.


Many more photos to come. Just give me some time to get them organized, processed, and uploaded. Check my homepage in 3 weeks or so and I should have a Yellowstone/Tetons gallery for your viewing pleasure.

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) Grand Teton National Park Wyoming architecture barns historical nature Fri, 05 Oct 2012 15:43:51 GMT
Slow Down And Smell The Coffee! Nelligan's Railway Hotel When traveling and photographing various subjects, I like to spend a little time with a subject. It may be wildlife, architecture, landscapes, flowers, trees, etc. I enjoy observing the subject and thinking of various ways or angles to portray it. And, I guess you could say that in the process, I get to know the subject. A relaxed, slow approach can often inspire more creative results and a photograph usually means more to me if I learn a little about the subject.


I am reminded of the numerous times that I was totally involved with photographing a subject when, out of nowhere, a vehicle screeches to a halt, someone comes running by me, fires their point-and-shoot camera at point blank range, jumps back in the car, and practically burns rubber leaving. I am left in the whirlwind, completely dumbfounded, which brings me to the photo for today.


While traveling New Zealand last December, we drove past this historic looking hotel in Pleasant Point. It looked photo worthy. I currently have this photo as my computer wallpaper, which has given me time to study the details of the photo. I start to wonder why I did not take a look inside the hotel. There may have been an interesting lobby. There may have been some interesting history on the building if only I had taken the time to ask within. And, what the heck is the "bottle store" on the right? Bottle Store?? 


I realize I was guilty of being that same type of photographer that I abhor; you know, the whizz-bang, click and go type. I was too obsessed with getting from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time that day. Experiences are more meaningful and memorable when you slow down to enjoy them. What did I miss? 


On the other hand, maybe I didn't miss a thing!

[email protected] (Thane Rogers Photography) New Zeanland Pleasant Point architecture historical Thu, 06 Sep 2012 21:24:15 GMT