A Chorus of Lovely Voices · Life is a Highway

Beyond the Ruby Reds and Tornadoes–There’s No Place Like Kansas

No borders, just horizons – only freedom.

~~Amelia Earhart – Kansas Native



Rolling plains

Creek beds

Hidden caves

Prairie grass



I grew up on a farm in north-central Kansas. An expanse surrounded by fields of wheat, soybeans, cattle, and pigs. My dad was born in the kitchen of my childhood home, and Mom and Dad both still live there today.

Isn’t it ironic stereotypical to wax poetically about Kansas hours before tornadoes and mayhem are scheduled to arrive in our neck of the woods?

I love Kansas storms and adore my red shoes, but today’s purpose is to torch the sunflower state stereotypes along with the prairie fires and let them blow away in the Dodge City wind. To do so, I’ve engaged the talents of some of my favorite Kansas photographers. Enjoy the photos you see below and then find them on their Instagram pages.


Jeff McPheeters:@macalterego and jeffmcpheeters.com

Jeff McPheeters

Jeff’s gallery in one word–stunning. He captures our Kansas skies, wildlife, and landscapes with the technical eye of a pro and the creativity of an artist.


Jonathan Adams:@jonathanadamskansas

I met Jonathan over a year ago at an Instameet, and we immediately felt like old friends. As humble as they come, Jonathan is the first to celebrate the talent of others…never really seeing his personal magic. With over 75,000 photos to choose from, somehow he managed to send three of my favorites.


Joy Kistler:@joykistler

Joy Kistler

When I asked sweet Joy if she’d participate, she revealed that she was moving to Oklahoma and that would make her “not a Kansas Instagrammer.” Joy…you will always be a Kansas artist to me ❤ See all of her beautiful photos near El Dorado–clean lines and a haunting tone–I want to frame them all!


Steve Current: @st53curr

Steve Current

Another kind and creative soul, Steve’s photos are rich, layered, and diverse; like the valleys and plains we populate. He makes the emotion of our state jump off the screen. Midway through the post, he messaged me to say that he’d visited my website and could we be Facebook friends–Kansas peeps are the best!


Erica Gruebler:@ericaportiaor @limestonegardens

When the idea for this post popped into my head, so did Erica. She and her husband own Limestone gardens, and their produce stand at the Saturday Farmer’s Market always caught my eye. A gentle but strong soul, Erica’s photos capture the essence of family, Midwestern work ethic, and faith.


Jamil Moody: @jcmoody

Jamil let me pick my favorites from his feed. It was like picking a favorite child or song–impossible to name only one! His page shows the beauty in the abandoned and makes the viewer wish we knew the whole story. With an amazing eye and gorgeous edits, I know you’ll love his stuff.


Mickey Shannon:@mickeyshannonphotography and mickeyshannon.com

Mickey Shannon

You MUST look at Mickey’s photo feed. Vibrant colors, expanse landscapes, and eye for detail truly make for awesome captures. I keep hinting that I’m going to beg for photography lessons–his photos of the Milky Way are incredible!


Kay Swietek:@kansaskay

Kansas Kay is a dear friend who lives ‘down the way’ from me. Quiet and humble, I didn’t realize what an artist she was until I found her Instagram. An eye for beauty coupled with a poet’s heart, the viewer quickly gets a sense of place and the feeling that Someone/something bigger loves our state.


Scott McGonagle:@ibishawimages and ibishawimages.com

Scott McGonagle

From still life to wildlife, Scott captures both the calm and the storm of this place. With an eye for detail, he will dazzle you through all of our seasons. He’s such a Kansas icon; I was thrilled that he said yes!


Jennifer Anderson:@baileysnbabies

Love, Love, Love Jennifer’s photos! Her joy and zest for life are evident in the photos she shares. I adore how she captures the whimsy and wonder of the people who are our neighbors, friends, and family.


Scott Bean@scottbeanphoto or ScottBeanPhoto.com

Scott Bean

When you scroll through Scott’s page, you’ll jump in for the wildlife and stay for the vibrant landscapes. His owl and eagle photos are my favorites…but those sunsets, though. Incredible!

Christopher Wrecker:@christopherwrecker

Truly an artist, I told Christopher that I must have his photos for this post. His pictures are captivating, edgy, and goosebump-worthy. I am hooked on his grungy edits, and it took me forever to find only three favorites.


Kent Crow: @crowkent

Kent Crow

When you view Kent’s page, you’ll see that he’s an avid traveler. You’ll also see that his Kansas captures, landscapes, and botany photos can stand toe-to-toe with the most exotic of places. Another Kansas icon, you gotta stop by and visit!


Me: @mamamickterry 

I’m putting this here because Jonathan told me I had to! I chose the Ball of Twine because my childhood farm is less than six miles from here. Pam Grout, Kansas Native and bestselling author even wrote about it earlier in the week.

In our 1991 wedding invitations, I typed up a little note for my Kansas City friends that read turn left at the Ball of Twine and then right on the unmarked black top–it’ll take you all the way to the church.

A huge thank you to my Kansas friends, talented artists, and plains lovers. I sent these lovely folks a message on Tuesday morning and had everyone’s photos in my hands by Wednesday. Most of them only know me thru Instagram, so it was a fantastic experience to have their trust and enthusiasm.

If you want to see more stunning photos, follow @KansasTourism and #NoPlaceLikeKS on Instagram. You can also visit our tourism site at TravelKs.com.

Extra treat: In case you’re traveling through Kansas to get from one side of the country to the other, feel free to check out the tab at the top of my page called Kansas Eats. Here, I’ll keep a running list of amazing Kansas diners and restaurants for you to visit. I am super excited to be a new contributor to the tourism blog and will post there about once/month. I’ll even save you a table 🙂

Grilled Cheese is the Bees Knees at The Wheel Barrel


Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m off to see a woman about a dog.

PS: For everyone who has asked and sent Macy their love. She is doing GREAT! It’s almost as if she read my last post and said, “Okay, Lady. I am just fine, thank you!”

41 thoughts on “Beyond the Ruby Reds and Tornadoes–There’s No Place Like Kansas

      1. You’ve waited long enough. My then-wife is a lovely person. She had stamina and grace. She had to. She put up with me for ten years. We were both young journalists (She, a writer. Me, a photojournalist) who were busy making our careers. I got my first job on Virginia. She followed closely behind, finding a job just a bit north of me. We moved from Northern California during the summer. I drove a moving van. She drove her car. Her air conditioning gave out somewhere in maybe Texas. Needless to say, by the time we reached the OK-KS border we were in no moods for anything. We took a break at the state site. You know the ones. Right after you cross the border. There is always somebody there to help you and sing the praises of the state. This woman looks at Cherie (my wife) and asks if there is anything she wanted to know, to which Cherie replied, “Yeah, how long does it take to get through this f*#cking state.”

        To be clear, that was not typically her. When we split she was an investigative reporter who charmed stories out of her subjects rather than beat them up.

        That’s what I remember of KS… the first time. It got better.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh My Gawd! I am laughing my butt off – like really loud. And I am sitting at a baseball game reading your story to my friends. You guys aren’t alone – I did a road trip when I was 19 that was so horrible, we basically crawled to the state line.
        To answer Cherie’s question;
        ~6 hours if you’re driving east-west or ~4 hours north – south. You COMPLETELY made my day. Thanks for telling me!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. What a beautiful way to showcase the different sides of Kansas, and how nice of you to feature these photographers’ work. I’ve only been to the state once for a conference, and I didn’t see anything beyond Kansas City (and even that was limited because it was a busy conference). I’d love to drive through the state some day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous photos!! Loved them all. We have friends who are from Kansas City area and they go home as often as they can. Jobs keep them in TX. You have a splendid eye and I am so happy you share them with us! 😘 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are right Michelle, the magic of Kansas. Many beautiful shots to show what she is built of, and some really amazing countryside in all of its seasons. I think I’ll have to visit. Thank you for sharing kind lady 😀
    By the way, you going to knit something with that little spool of yarn? 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s no place like seeing home through the eyes of other natives! Thanks for sharing Michelle! 🌻 🌌 📷 ☀️ 😘🇺🇸💗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had bookmarked this post so I wouldn’t forget to come back and actually read it! Such stunning photos of a place I have only driven through but never stopped to actually look at. Thank you for sharing all of these and for the introduction to all the amazing photographers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello!! You know what – I have asked a couple of these folks for classes … so far, it doesn’t appear that they do. If I find out different, I’ll let you know!


What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.