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Why we live here

By Holly Martin

I took a photo recently of the sunset to the west of our house. I labeled it “Why we live here.”

And that’s the truth. The glorious sunsets are like none other. There are no pesky trees to block the view; no hills or mountains to get in the way. Wispy clouds grace the sky and as the sun sets, the colors show intensely across the horizon.

There are other reasons, of course, like family and farms and livestock. But to most folks, western Kansas probably wouldn’t be on the top 10 lists of “Most Scenic Places.” How unfortunate for them.

As I drove to work this morning, a male pheasant strutted his stuff against the backdrop of frosted wheat. (We’ll just skip right on over that topic since that wasn’t the pretty part of the scene.) If only I had my camera.

All too often I wish I had my camera and a few extra minutes to stop and grab that photo that would showcase where I live. But more often than not, the camera was left on my desk or at home.

One of the best pieces of advice I got the first week I started at High Plains Journal was from a writer and photographer who had many years of experience on me. He said, “Don’t go anywhere without your camera.”

It was great advice and I need to follow it more often. As you know, our new redesign has a new focus on photography and my goal is to stuff the digital drives full of beautiful images of the High Plains.

That piece of advice goes for you, as well. And the bonus for you is that when you get a great shot, you can enter it in the Down Country Roads photo contest.

You might even win $500 if your photo is chosen as the cover shot of our Down Country Roads calendar. Deadline to enter is July 30, so there is still plenty of time to get those great photos and enter. Details are available at

I love this contest more than any other because it shows “Why we live here.” We live in this breadbasket of America because the soils are fertile and together with the land we are able to produce food for the world.

I encourage you to pick up the camera and take it with you often. Document the beauty in agriculture and rural life. Even if you don’t win a photo contest, the photos will be passed down to future generations who steward the land.

There’s beauty where we live. Let’s document it.

Holly Martin can be reached by phone at 1-800-452-7171 ext. 1806, or by email at

Date: 4/29/2013


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