Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kansas - Lindsborg and the Flint Hills - 3/21/2014

We visited Lindsborg back in May 2010 and really liked the town and its still strong Swedish heritage.  On that trip, we were on our way to Colorado so we really didn't spend enough time to explore the town or sample its Swedish cuisine.  This trip, Lindsborg and the Kansas Flint Hills were our targets.

The link to our 2010 Lindsborg blog posting is below if you want to check it out.  I have more information on the history of the area and Lindsborg in that post.  Yes.....I misspelled Denver in the original post.  I corrected the blog text but I was unable to fix the posting address.

We had more company with us this time.  We had the grand kids, Tyler and Petra, and our German friend Edel.  We also had Iason Gerdes traveling with us.  Iason was a German Foreign Exchange Student at Lee's Summit High School back in 2008/2009.  We got to meet him and had him over for dinner a few times while he was living here.  Iason is a table tennis player, like me, so the two of us played once a week at a club in Independence.  We kept in contact with Iason after he returned home via Facebook and Skype.  He is back this month to visit his host family in Lee's Summit so we have enjoyed visiting with him again.  There was a lot of German spoken in the car as we bounced down the Kansas highways.

Swedish food was a goal on this trip, specifically Swedish meatballs.  We ate at the Swedish Crown and they did not disappoint.....the food was great!  We had five different things off the menu between all the members of our group and each dish was very high quality and there was plenty of it for hungry travelers.  If you visit Lindsdorg, this is the place to eat.

The decor is warm and in keeping with its Swedish roots.



The meatballs with dill potatoes, lingonberry jam, and a small salad.....very tasty.

One of the other goals for the day was to visit Jim Richardson's Small World Gallery.  Jim is a photographer and journalist living in Lindsborg.  Jim has traveled the world on assignments for National Geographic and has contributed more than 20 stories for the magazine.  I was fortunate to be able to attend a seminar on travel photography offered by National Geographic at the Johnson County Community College a year ago.  Jim and fellow National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow presented the full day seminar.  The seminar was a surprise gift from Sigrid.....man did she do good!  After 50 years of taking photos, this was my first formal education and I loved it.

The real treat of the day was that Jim was in his store and was kind enough to come out an talk to us about his photos.  He is gone about half the year on photo assignments and seminars so we were lucky to see him.  Jim actually spent a lot of time talking with us and I ended up learning even more about the techniques he uses and got some advice on a lens I was thinking about buying.  Jim's wife also has a nice collection of jewelry that she designs in the gallery.  Sigrid checked out the necklaces while we talk photos.

Our group posing with one of many Dala Horses that line Main Street in Lindsborg.  Google Dala Horses if you are wondering what they are.

Jim Richardson's gallery.

Iason with the big Dala Horse.

We visited the clocksmith.  They have a fine collection of very old clocks in the store.

This is a German beer drinking clock.  The shop owner demonstrated it for us.  I don't think he even knew that half the people in our group were real Germans.

We also stopped at the coffee shop and tried a few of their special roasts.  Sigrid and Edel are big coffee lovers.

The roaster.

Iason trying to play the kids electronic game.

After we left Lindsborg, we drove to Cottonwood Falls to begin our exploration of the Flint Hills on our way back home.  This was a nicely restored home in town.

A short distance north of Cottonwood Falls, we stopped at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  This is one of the newest additions to the National Park Service.  In addition to the visitors center and walking trail, there is an 1881 Kansas ranch house, barn, out buildings, and a one room school house on 11,000 acres of pristine Kansas prairie.  It was just before closing at the visitors center so we had to rush a bit but we did get to the most important parts of the park.

The barn is an impressively large structure for its time.

Now that's a tree!  The leaves were just beginning to appear.

The ranch house.....solidly built to withstand Kansas prairie winds.

It was a long day of around 450 miles and 12 hours but it was worth it.  We enjoy short driving trips to out of the way places.  If you check past posts, you will find trips to Wamego, KS and the Oregon Trail, Arrow Rock and Blackwater, MO and Missouri River Towns.  I am sure we will return to see more of the Flint Hills when the grasses are green.

Here are a few of the above photos in black and white.  Most of my early experience was with black and white so I still enjoy seeing images done this way.....just for fun.

I am now returning to my slide scanning project.....thousands to go.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ice Storm - January 1974

I am in the process of scanning old photos.....something I started a number of years ago.  I get sidetracked and years go by without adding to the scanned collection.  Technology and my skill also improves so I guess I am glad that I didn't do more than I did years ago.  I am so happy with the results of my new scans of slides that I am thinking about going back and rescanning what I had already done.

Years ago, I was worried about the size of the files I created when I scanned.  I started scanning at 1200 dpi and was only somewhat satisfied with the results.  It took forever for a scan and they just didn't look like they did when I projected the slides onto a screen.  They lost vibrance and every flaw in the scan and speck of dust that I missed showed up big time.  Part of this was my fault and part was just technology.

I now have a better scanner and a faster computer with terabytes of storage so I have upped my game by scanning at 3200 dpi.  I can say now that the scanned slides look just as good if not better that the originals.  I have learned a lot about using Photoshop over the years so the results have allowed me to improve on the originals from an exposure standpoint as well as  maximizing that colors of the slide.

So, as I continue scanning, I though I would select a few of my favorite old shots on the blog.  We won't be traveling for a while so I time for pure photo fun.

This first post is of the aftermath of an ice storm that hit our area in January 1974......40 years ago.  I was so happy to see that the slides hadn't deteriorated over the years.

The first few photos are of the duplex I was renting in Blue Springs, MO.  You can see the ice buildup on the porch railing back-lit by the mercury vapor street light.  All the photos were taken with my then new Canon F1 with a 50mm f1.2 lens on Kodachrome.

In this photo, I "painted" the railing with light from a flashlight just for fun.  I experimented a lot back in those days.

My size 10.

Broken ice in the gutter.

The remaining photos were taken on Old Truman Road in Independence, MO as the sun rose in the morning.  The colors keep changing as the sun rises.

As I said....just for fun.