country

A fall Friday afternoon

Let me take y’all back to last Friday.

It was the day before the LSAT and I had been telling myself all week that I was going to take at least one full-length practice test before Saturday. And surprise, surprise, I hadn’t done it yet. I told myself I was going to do it that afternoon. No excuses.

But something came up. An immediate pressing issue. An urgent situation. That I had to give my full attention to.

Some friends invited me to go to a pumpkin patch.

How could I say no? It was a beautiful fall afternoon and y’all know me… I’m all about ditching my responsibilities to have fun.

It’s a problem.

So I went and I had a blast and I didn’t regret not studying for even a second.

Meet my lovely friends.

Meet our pumpkins.

The albino one is mine. I loved it right when I saw it. I’d never seen an albino pumpkin before. I figured “albino pumpkin” probably wasn’t the technical term so I Googled it when I got home and I actually couldn’t find a scientific name for it. There are other nicknames out there like ghost pumpkins and snowballs. But no real name. Sad day. You let me down, Google.

Look at us being all matchy, matchy.

I was happy in the pumpkin patch. Can ya tell?

I can’t even tell you. That place was good for my soul. It was way out in the boonies of Arkansas at the end of a dirt road. The guy who owned the place had the sweetest southern drawl. The patch covered five acres of wide open land. There was dirt.

Yeah. That’s right. There was dirt.

I think that was the most exciting part for me.

It wasn’t good, rich Kansas dirt, but it was the closest thing to Kansas dirt I’ve seen in over two months.

All in all, it was such a great day. I loved spending time outdoors in God’s beautiful creation with some of my favorite people.

Oh give me a home…

Hello from Arkansas!

I made it back to college on Tuesday and have been loving every minute of it! These first few days of the semester are always fun. Everybody is excited to see each other and hang out after a month of being gone and nobody has a lot homework yet so it’s kind of like one big party!

Wait, isn’t college like that all the time?

It is for me. Homework? What’s that? How have I survived three years of classes again?

Never mind…

I was skimming through some photos today that I shot over Christmas break and I got a little nostalgic for my beloved Kansas.

I love the “big sky country” and I already miss my big Kansas sunsets.

You can’t see this in Arkansas. At least not on campus. Too many trees.

I even miss the ice and snow.

The weatherman was calling for a big snowstorm in our area of Kansas a couple days before I was supposed to leave for Arkansas and I got so excited. I was actually going to have a chance to play in the snow! I haven’t played in snow for years.

Well, a quarter inch of ice, half an inch of snow and two days later and I was headed down the highway.

Old man winter may have missed my house with his buckets full of snow, but the road department definitely did not forget to ice the roads. Six hours of slush and dirt and salt later, I arrived in Arkansas.

Anyway, the dusting of ice and snow made for some nice pictures from my last day at home.

I’ll especially miss the deer that came to graze in our field every night. There were usually at least 10 of them out there during the evening and sometimes I would just stand at my window and watch them. What beautiful creatures they are!

Seeing them always reminded me of the Kansas state song.

Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play…

But.. just fyi: we don’t like antelope in Kansas. They tear up our fences.

So we’ll just keep the deer. I think they’re prettier anyway.

Fun with photo editing

Happy new year’s eve!

In light of my recent pattern of posting photos of my home state of Kansas the day before a major holiday… I bring you… more Kansas photos. Don’t ya love me?

For today’s post, I decided to not only post the final product, post editing, but also to show you a few fun edits I created.

I love photo editing! I could do it all day long for days on end and never get bored. I especially love editing landscapes. There are so many different ways a photographer can go when editing landscapes. From natural adjustments to high-contrast, highly-saturated edits, photos can look very different when edited than when captured in camera.

Here are a couple of my favorite edits from a group of photos I shot last week.

Barbed wire. Beautiful and classically rustic. Nothing says prairie and open range better than a barbed wire fence.

Did you know there are over 530 patented kinds of barbed wire and over 2,000 variations of it?

I have no idea what kind this is. If I had to, I would classify it as “regular” because that’s the kind of intelligent farm girl I am.

Hardy har.

This shot is SOOC (straight out of camera). It’s a simple photo and nice enough, but look at what happens when I boost the contrast and saturation and add a little bit of an “old west” effect.

Kinda nice, huh? I like the added definition and vibrance in this one. But the next one is my favorite.

Mmmm, black and white. Love it.

There are so many ways to turn a photo to black and white. It’s a whole different world than color. For this particular edit, I muted the overall tones and gave it a warm tint.

The end result? Timeless and aged and sort of vintage-y.

I’m a sucker for vintage.

Here’s another shot of my backyard that I edited in much the same way as the photos above.

SOOC.

Old west.

Black and white.

To perform all of  these edits, I loosely used some of my favorite actions from The Pioneer Woman and The CoffeeShop Blog as starting points then added my own tweaks and tricks to create the final images.

If you haven’t ever experimented with Photoshop actions, I encourage you to try them! They are an easy way to enhance your photos in ways you might never have thought to edit them yourself. There are a ton of high-quality free action downloads out there. If you’re looking for a good starter set, check out either of the ones I mentioned above. Both are great.

Happy editing and happy 2011!

kskristy

You say boonies, I say love.

I’ve spent the first 17 years of my life growing up in a small town in the boonies of southwest, Kansas. A town with ten times as many cattle as people. A town where everybody knows everybody… and everybody’s business. A town with lots of dirt, no trees and a constant wind.

And for most of my life, I hated it.

I always wanted to be a city girl. I wanted to go to a big university, get a fast-paced job and live in the middle of all the action.

Funny how life rarely works out the way I want it to…

By God’s grace I ended up at a small private college in rural Arkansas of all places. Life here is slow-paced, if you want action you have to make it yourself and there ten times as many chickens as people.

And I absolutely love it.

I’m not quite sure how my change-of-heart came about. Or when. Or why.

I don’t know a lot of things.

But I do know why I love living in the boonies.

1. Wheat – If you’ve never stood alone in the middle of a wheat field on a windy summer day in Kansas, you are missing out on life. There’s nothing quite like the bristle of a million golden wheat plants brushing against each other in the wind. The sound is almost too beautiful to explain. It’s heavenly, breathtaking, enchanting, (adjective, adjective adjective…). If you haven’t done it, do it. Put it on your bucket list.

2. Wide open spaces – Sometimes I’ll just stand outside and look. Look at the sky. Look at the ground. Look as far as I can see. Our nearest neighbors is miles away and it almost feels like I’m living on my own little earth. I’m still not quite sure why that appeals to me because I’m definitely a people person, but hey, I don’t ask questions. I just go with it.

3. Dirt – Ok, don’t judge me. At least not until you go find a field of dirt. Not the garden in your backyard or the place where the stickers grow in the corner of the school playground. I mean real, dark brown, rich, good-for-growin’-crops Kansas dirt. Smell it. Sink your bare feet into it. Smell it again. Love it.

4. Thunderstorms – They’re beautiful. And amazing. I’m a huge fan. That’s all.

5. No traffic! – There is the occasional summer traffic jam when three cars get behind a combine on the highway, but I’m sure it still beats L.A. at rush hour any day.

Livin’ and lovin’ the bucolic life,

kskristy

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