While I was growing up in Topeka I used to love to drive up to Skyline Park which sits atop Burnetts Mound. In recent years the city has let the park go to ruin, and even shut it down to all auto traffic at some point. I have tried not less than 8 times in the last 2 years to get back up there by casually driving by. Today I was bent on getting a nice sunset image – so I headed of to Skyline Park.
Upon arriving I found the drive padlocked – with, not kidding, four padlocks on one chain. Just to the right of this is a sign telling me it is open until a half-hour after sunset. This was not surprising to me, as this is how it sat the last 2 years.
Last fall Westar has taken an interest in revitalizing the city park. In October they had a volunteer work day to start it off, then in mid March they had another workday. Not sure when it will be completed, but I am looking forward to it. Kudos for local business taking interest in their community.
The drive up has many memories of my youth, from sledding behind an SUV (not a wise idea kids), to playing in the now-locked storm shelter. I even recall some time sitting on a blanket on the west side during sunset. We used to hop up there to see storm fronts in the area.
Moving on, I parked my van nearby and hiked up the north side, then tracked around and up the west side. The image below was taken just as the sun started to near the horizon. It was a picture perfect evening – just gorgeous.
If you want to see the other images from tonight, check here
One last thing I will add – here is a surreal article from Popular Mechanics from March in 1967 relating to the mound & the 1966 F5 twister that leveled a huge strip of Topeka.
Nikon D7000 | 1/2000 | ISO 200 | 400mm | f/32 | flash - not used.
I was spending the evening at home with the family when a stormed rolled into the Topeka area. I passively ignored it until a Facebook post from Shawn Martin saying he wished he had his camera with him as the lighting was amazing. At that, I jumped into my van and headed to the nearest high open spot I could – The old Menninger Grounds.
Since it was raining / sleeting / hailing I popped open the back hatch and sat in the cargo area with tripod at the ready. I missed minor 2 flashes of lighting, then it was over. Yep. I waited about 30 mins for a good shot and nothing presented itself. I climbed back to the front seat and headed south, as I came down the hill, the image below was in front of me. I turned around (to point the tail of my van toward Wanamaker) and climbed into the back again and popped the hatch.
The wet asphalt down Topeka’s main corridor of commerce was great as headlights reflected off the fresh moisture. I snapped a few shots, but really was not really happy with any of them. I decided to throw on my 400mm lens before heading home – suddenly this boring corridor had a fun life to it. The lens really pulled in the entirety of Wanamaker from 10th to 29th street. I was located 600 feet north of 6th street. The foreground of this shot is the BP & Phillips 66 (Kelly Express) signs at 10th street. I did no cropping of this image.
Due to the lighting storm, my main computer at home is disabled, so I was looking at these this morning at work. (and the reason for the delay in this posting) An aspect I could not see on the camera’s on-board screen was how short Wanamaker looks. From my shooting location to the far McDonald’s archs on the upper right-hand corner (29th St) is about 17,424 feet – or 3.3 miles. Since the only way to traverse this distance is through stop lights and congestion, we have a perepective of much greater distance than really exists.
If your from Topeka, take a few moments to expand the picture and really look at the relationship of signs and buildings, they almost look like I photoshopped things into the picture. It all seems wrong. I promise, I did no editing aside from color correction.
Nikon D7000 | 1/80 | ISO 1000 | 400mm prime | f/5.6 | Flash - Not used.