A beautiful new exhibition titled "Flint Hills: A Kansas Treasure" is now temporarily on display at Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History. The National Geographic exhibition is 34 poster-sized photographs taken in the Flint Hills by respected photojournalist Jim Richardson.
His breathtaking photographs depict the natural beauty and unique features of the Flint Hills' weather, wildlife and plants.
Richardson is a photographer for National Geographic magazine and is a contributing editor for its sister publication, Traveler magazine. He has been involved in more than 35 stories for National Geographic and Traveler since he was first published in National Geographic in 1984.
His Flint Hills photos previously appeared in a 22-page spread in the April 2007 issue of National Geographic magazine.
"This is an exhibition that no Kansan should miss," said Dr. Jerry Choate, director of the Sternberg Museum. "I assure you that it will instill a renewed sense of pride in our beautiful state."
Richardson's photographs capture spectacular moments from spring burns, summer storms, early autumn dew, colors and winter frost. His own recollections of life in the hills and the characteristics of the scenes he shot accompany the photos.
He focuses on the changing seasons and how the landscapes, wildlife and plant life all react to its sudden shifts. Viewers will witness stories of fire dancing through pastures and its driving fresh growth, battles between territorial prairie chickens, exotic wildflowers often hidden from sight, lingering smoke that settles in the hills after burns, and cloud walls that shade the hills and grazers after storms.
His photographs record the life, survival and death of the grass, the change in color that runs over the land during sunrise and sunset, and the breathtaking calm of an approaching storm and the hush when its over.
Richardson, a Kansas native, and his wife now live in Lindsborg, where they operate Small World: A Gallery of Arts & Ideas. His gallery, on Main Street in Lindsborg, can also be viewed online at www.smallworldgallery.com.
"Flint Hills: A Kansas Treasure" is on display in the lobby of the museum until Sept. 30. The exhibition is open to the public free of charge, though it was not without cost to the museum.
Choate reminds the public that "the quality of exhibits we provide depends on your support."
"After seeing 'Flint Hills,'" he said, "visitors can visit the exhibits upstairs, purchase a souvenir from the Sternberg Store or buy a museum membership at the admissions desk."
The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday. Admission prices are $6 for adults (ages 13-59), $4 for seniors (60-plus), $4 for youth (ages 4-12), $3 for FHSU students with ID, and free for members and children ages 3 and under.