Exhibitions Without Walls – Interview

Exhibitions Without Walls – Interview

Brad Mangas

In March I was contacted by Ed Wedman co-founder of Exhibitions Without Walls, an international organization that offers photographers and digital artists the chance to grow and develop professionally. Ed was inquiring if I would be interested in doing an interview for an upcoming edition of their online publication. I have participated in a couple of low key interviews of local interest but thought this may be an opportunity to expand my voice to a greater audience.

When I started to answer the questions posed to me I knew I wanted and needed to be as upfront and honest as possible. This took not only some soul searching, but reflection as well as a look forward for what may lie ahead. I enjoyed the process.

Thank you Ed, I appreciate the opportunity.

You can read the interview here: Exhibitions Without Walls – Interview with Brad Mangas 

January 16

Windy but pleasant outside here today. The cool breeze always seems to feel good. I was wondering when I started this journal venture if the simple act of telling myself I needed to do something .vs just wanting to do something would make a difference. So far it seems to have. I know from past experience that goals a good thing. They need to be real, tangible, and at least initially enjoyable or at minimum know that you are working towards a better result in whatever it is you set your goal upon. Interesting how good practices seem to slip ones mind and immediately get replaced with old habits. The simple answer to this is good practices need to become habits. OK, enough obvious wisdom for now.

I have been reminded how much I like small cameras. For the last year 99% of all my images have been produced with my large dslr. A Nikon D800e to be exact. I have felt that is the one that needs to be with me. I have owned this for just about 10 months now after selling off all my Canon dslr gear and replacing it with Nikon. Why is another issue and not particularly relevant.  This thing has a thousand bells and whistles and I really need or at least want to know about all of them. So it has become part of me over these last 10 months.

The one thing that I have kept that in this case is a Canon (which again is not relevant at all) is my G10 point and shoot. It sets on my desk and I see it everyday. For the last 10 months that is all I have been doing with it. Along comes this journal venture and viola the point and shoot is my camera of choice. Hmm, what gives? Simply, the ease of use I’m sure. When something is easy we just do it more. Not that easy is better but, it’s just easier, dah.

The point is to find a way to make what it is we want to do more available. In this case it’s to create, learn, and share. Thank you my little G10 friend!

As will become apparent morning walks with Lexi will be a great source of inspiration for me to make a few pictures on a somewhat regular basis for this journal. That is not necessarily the goal of this but it will always be a part as with this post again today.  As you also notice I will have the tendency to ramble on about other things but, I will try not to become to obsessive with that.

On the news front, I have just made arrangements to have the remainders of my new Kansas 2014 Calendars made available to folks at a Kansas Regional Leaders Retreat Conference going on this weekend in Overland Park, Kansas. This has been made possible through my association with The Flint Hills Regional Council. I owe a big Thank You to Jeff Adams the regional planner and all the folks associated with The Flint Hills Regional Council, an organization I am proud to be associated with.

Here’s a picture that was taken yesterday during Lexi and I’s morning walk. Another great benefit of my small point and shoot is the ease and ability to take closeup photos. It seems to excel in this area. Taking closeup or macro shots really makes a person slow down and examine all the little things that for the most part we completely ignore. I will undoubtedly be paying more attention to everything once again.

I worked this shot up of a close up of leaves in the park, initially in its natural color state. Even though I liked the color version it just seemed to say black and white. More precisely monotone since I added a slight sepia tone to it. The boarder around it just seemed to work for me as well.  I am always intrigued by what catches my attention when looking closely at things in nature. In this case it was the two holes in the cottonwood leave that to me looks almost like two ghostly eyes peering back.

Nature, Photography, Landscape, Photos,

© Brad Mangas

 

Searching

I miss posting on a more regular basis and vow to do a better job at it. At times the pace of life seems to get in the way of living if you know what I mean. Spring has came here in Kansas and I feel like I’ve missed it. The truth of the matter is I’ve been part of it everyday but time seems to fly by when plans are made sometimes to extreme. I can always think of projects to do those including imagery of seasonal significance but making the plan is only the beginning, doing it takes much more time.

I have enjoyed the spring we’ve had, the weather has been somewhat different ranging from the 90’s to the 50’s on any given week and sometimes within a couple of days. Seasonal storms have been rather strong as we all now from the events from the South to the Midwest, all I can say is pay attention to the forecast and when it calls for taking cover don’t hesitate. I feel rather selfish when I think of the pictures I missed out on during the turbulent weather, I feel very lucky to be setting here with my only loss being slight property damage and a few photo opportunities.

At times my mind gets caught up in the frenzy of daily happenings forcing me to loose sight of enjoyment of the moment. My control seems pale in comparison to reaction of what I need to do as opposed to action of what I should do, this leads me to the question I posed as a single word, searching. What as photographers do we search for? There are all the deep singular narratives we all read about, to sum a few up the bases could be explained as; being in touch with nature and our surroundings. I’m good with that no need to complicate something that should be simple, intuitive and easy as breathing the fresh damp cool air that encompasses the lands after a spring rain washing over the areas we call home.

The past few weeks I find forced behavior lingering in my conciseness instead of what I perceive as natural behavior. Knowing that spring is abound and I must get out and capture the abundance of fresh seasonal life or I will miss it. It’s that “miss it” part that bothers me, not that I will actually miss it but the notion that I “think” I will miss it. To let our mind soak up the wonders of the seasons and to be aware of that wonder will forever cause one to embrace it whether captured with camera or not, this is the natural behavior I dare not miss.

Capitol City Iron Works

© Brad Mangas

As mentioned I have been out on the lands, in the Flint Hills driving the back roads in search of new imagery. It’s funny in a sense that I recognize the force behavior as now undesirable when in the past I felt the need to force it. I don’t mind pressure to produce but it need not be the thing I’m in search of, contrived work I find to be most undesirable. My last few outings have been met with ferocious winds sweeping across the prairies and open lands. Wildflowers bowing to the might of unseen forces, winds so strong I felt the need to keep my hand on the tripod and camera just to keep it from blowing over. Remembering one of the simple rules of taking pictures that of, keep the camera steady if you want a sharp result, easier said than done when gusts of 45mph winds smack your face. Twice during recent outings I have just stopped, given up in despair and headed towards the homestead. One of these led me not to my abode but to a old part of town where I had no need to force anything just the decision to play around and take some pictures. After the darkness had began to set in my drive through the city took me by one of the highlights of all kids summers, a carnival. Set up in a large parking lot the lights and action were too much for me to drive by without one last stop. I found it relaxing to just take a few pictures for no other reason than the enjoyment of doing so.

Carnival Photography

© Brad Mangas

Carnival Photography Topeka Kansas

© Brad Mangas

Spring Events

Spring Events

Busy work has been taking my time the last couple of weeks sorry for the lack of posting here. Finishing up on some assignment work so thought I would  post a few images of something different that has kept me busy as of late. These are from last weekends trip to Lansing which included a car show and then back to the bigger capitol city car show Saturday evening. It has been fun traveling around to a few events and attractions enjoying all the excitement that nice springtime weather brings. A month ago there was nothing happening in the event category now like the birds of spring they are everywhere. I have learned something mostly about myself the last few weeks, as much passion as I have for photography not all photo ops are the same. There is a reason I gravitate to the wide open spaces, onto the hills and into the prairies getting lost on the back roads with time becoming only a concern for a possible sunset photo opportunity. Many other venues of photo work are just that, work. It can be enjoyable and fun to go to social gatherings and mingle amongst hundreds or thousands of humans but when it comes to freeing ones mind, relaxation and finding inspiration in the finer things of life I will take nature over social gatherings no questions asked. Comparing one to the other is like being on two different planets. Not to worry (as if anyone would) nature is calling me fast and furious into her grips and much time will be spent as always getting lost in the wilderness that is the great outdoors.

 

concert photography

© Brad Mangas

 

Car Show

© Brad Mangas

Lansing Daze Car Show

© Brad Mangas

 

Lansing Daze Car Show

© Brad Mangas

Capitol City Car Show, Topeka Kansas

© Brad Mangas

 

Topeka Kansas

© Brad Mangas

 

event photography

© Brad Mangas

kansas event photography

© Brad Mangas

Flames in the Flint Hills

This post is more of an extension of my last “In Search of Fire” post. I had written about some of my time out searching for the springtime ritual of burning of the prairies and some of my difficulties in experiencing what I was hoping for. At that time I didn’t mentioned I was planning on attending an event last Saturday specifically catered toward this important practice of springtime prairie burns. Being my first time to attend the “Flames in the Flint Hills” event I wasn’t sure what was in store.

The event kicked off around 3:30pm and from my estimate there were 60-70 folks in attendance. A laid back take it easy atmosphere with good food and live bluegrass music provided by a very talented group of  local female musicians called The Skirts. The music was great and the food was wonderful and plentiful enough to make you belly burst.  A few speakers told of the long standing traditions and benefits of burning the tallgrass prairies mainly which is the survival of the grasses as opposed to the invasion of woody species such as the eastern red cedar which is very obvious in areas that have not been burned for many years. Tallgrass covered flint hills or cedar tree covered flint hills, hmm. Of course I was there to take pictures along with many others. As with any burn the weather would be the deciding factor and on Saturday it cooperated nicely.

We all went out for the first burn event late in the afternoon, walking a quarter mile or so up to a section of flint hills on the ranch and with some basic common sense instructions people started the prairie on fire which is not hard to do this time of year. Light a match throw it down and done deal.

© Brad Mangas

The ranch hands had their trucks and water tanks on hand to help suppress the fires within an hour or so and to save this area along with a few thousand more acres for lighting off around sunset. It was fun and entertaining to watch folks set the land on fire, must have something to do with our early days of civilization and discovery of making fire, it still seems to get people worked up.

© Brad Mangas

I came home late that night leaving the Flying W Ranch at around 9:45pm with the smell of prairie smoke in my clothing and some 370 images on my compact flash card. The last few days have been spent going through those images to see if maybe I was lucky enough to have capture some of the feel and atmosphere of what turned out to be a fun, entertaining and exciting time spent in the heart of the Flint Hills surrounded by fire and good folks from as far away as New Jersey.

Thanks to land owners Josh and Gwen Hoy, master of ceremony  Jan Jantzen and all the other great people for providing an experience I look forward to attending again many more times in the years to come.

 

© Brad Mangas

© Brad Mangas

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Brad Mangas

© Brad Mangas

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Brad Mangas

© Brad Mangas

 

 

 

 

 

 

These images and more available at: bradmangasphoto.com