Rules of the Road

Kansas Minimalist

Kansas Minimalist © 2011 Bo Mackison

Day two of our 1800 mile sojourn across half the country and we spent the majority of our traveling time traversing the state of Kansas.  Kansas does not seem like one of those states that should take most of a day to cross, but we began our day near the northeast corner (Kansas City) and crossed the border into Oklahoma near the southwest corner (Liberal). All in all, we drove just over 600 miles in Kansas.

Plenty enough miles to photograph a dozen or so photographs in the minimalist style. Road, grass, road, more grass, field, foothills, fog.

Minimalism, Midwest style.

Road Trip - Wichita Kansas

Road Trip – Wichita Kansas © 2011 Bo Mackison

Here is my best view of Wichita. It seems like a nice city, and its the largest city in Kansas. I hoped for a chance to get a photograph of the downtown from the right lane of the interstate. But it seemed appropriate to keep up with the traffic, and I guarantee you, the drivers in the other vehicles were not the least bit impressed that I was manuevering for a clear photo of Wichita.

Road Trip - Hay Roll Row

Hay Rolls © 2011 Bo Mackison

While on the road, and under a fair amount of pressure to “not stop unless the car needs gas”,  Sherpa and I have come up with a fair number of rules regarding my photography habit. This is not as dire as it might sound, for we generally make up the rules while in a subdued fit of hysterical laughing. (There is only so much hysterical laughing one can tolerate while maintaining control of speeding car and trailer, so subdued laughter is appropriate.)

A few of the rules we have instituted are:

  • no slowing down for any photographic experience, traffic flow must be maintained at all times
  • no detours of any sort, not even a half block in and back
  • no turn arounds, none — no photograph is worth a turnaround (says Sherpa) when we are on a schedule with a deadline

This is certainly not the kind of photography I know so well. It is a different kind of photography. And one I am beginning to develop an appreciation for. I think there may be times for slow photography — my usual MO — and fast photography, which I seem to be experimenting with on the fly.

Road Trip - Tracks in Bloom Kansas

Road Trip – Railroad Tracks © 2011 Bo Mackison

One thing I have already discovered that is worth remembering — slow photography is best done as a solo activity or an activity with another person with a definite start and stop time. Fast photography can be done with a spouse or in a crowd. Since there is no stopping in fast photography, no one is ever inconvenienced. A new concept for me, perhaps, but one that all slow photographers should probably learn at some point in their career.

Road Trip - Red Barn

Road Trip – Red Barn © 2011 Bo Mackison

Fast photography does require some abandonment of truths I thought were universal and inviolable. One does not always need to change lenses so that a teensy, far away, red barn can be seen in focus and close up. One can merely give the suggestion of a red barn in the distance and most viewers will accept red blur in distant background as a red barn. Excellent to know when practicing fast photography.

Does anyone reading this NOT see the red blur, uh, barn in the background? I thought not.

Road Trip - Golden Cottonwoods

Golden Cottonwoods © 2011 Bo Mackison

Sometimes in fast photography, the photo is all about color. After driving for eons and seeing nothing that resembled a splash of bright color, the mere fact that these cottonwoods were glowing in the sunlight in an aura of gold was noteworthy.

I have just been informed that the motel check out has been completed and the car is packed. Day Two will continue when internet access is again available.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio. She is learning fast photography while on a fast road trip. She promises — more to follow.

About Bo Mackison

I’m a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place – a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I’d love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It’s my gift to you.


  1. I can tell Sherpa made the rules. Something about being behind a steering wheel makes the clock seem so much more important. On the other hand, I’m loving these photos so much–not for their perfection, but for their imperfection!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      We both agreed to the rules – they made sense when we had a destination and a deadline. But you’re so right about these photos–I love them because there is a lot of interest in their imperfections.

  2. Joanne Keevers says:

    I agree with Quinn, the imperfection of these photos brings about a whole new aspect of your photography skills, Bo. The golden aura of the cottonwoods suggests the photo may have been taken 100 years ago! And yes, I can clearly see the red barn (not just a red blur).

    You know what you’ve done now Bo? The song “Wichita Linesman” will be stuck in my head all day! (Lol) 😀

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thank you, Joanne. They are surely trying my photography skills for they are removing most of the control out of my reach. Sorry you’re singing Wichita Linesman…those earbugs are awful to get rid of.

  3. Just catching up with you after the T-Day feast and travels. Looks like you’ve moved a bit also. Very entertaining photos. Photos on the Fly if you will. I love them.

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