There are those who look at the Kansas landscape and size it up as barren and boring, and there are those who find its rolling plains mysterious and majestic.
Photographer John Morrison is in the second camp and his photographs could probably persuade the first camp to join the second.
A native of Oklahoma who has lived in Kansas for more than 30 years, Morrison made a living as a math and physics teacher and computer programmer. But he's always had a keen interest in photography.
It was not until 2002, when he bought a photography book called "America Wide," by Ken Duncan, that Morrison found his calling. The book featured panoramic landscapes of North America.
"I became enamored of the format and thought that I would like to learn how to do that," Morrison said.
The wide horizontal format of a panoramic photograph was perfect for capturing the vast open spaces of Kansas, he said.
Morrison's medium is digital photography.
"At about the time that I became interested in doing this, digital cameras were finally being made to where they had adequate resolution and I could put a panoramic photograph together using stitching tools in Photoshop," he said. "One of my panoramic landscapes usually consists of seven to eight shots that I have pieced together and overlapped."
Except for taking classes to learn the technical tools of the digital photography medium, Morrison's artistic vision is intuitive. His photographs consist of beautifully structured compositions, rich saturated colors and a light quality that captures the beauty of the Kansas landscape.
"I always take my camera with me when my family and I travel, but most of my photographing is right here in Kansas," he said.
His favorite place to photograph is the Flint Hills.
"I had a friend who passed away last year named Sterling Varner. When Sterling retired from Koch Industries he bought a 16,000-acre ranch in the Flint Hills called the Shadow Valley Ranch. He used to invite me out to the ranch when I was just starting to photograph and encouraged me to take photos and ended up giving me full access to the land."
Morrison said he tries to shoot early in the morning or late in the day, when the light is at its best.
"I love shooting at dawn, and set up on a hilltop on the chance there will be a great sunrise," he said.
He hopes his photos convince those who look at them that Kansas is uniquely beautiful.
"My goal is to reveal that the countryside we drive through every day is worth a second look, that it possesses beauty and significance on its own terms," he said.
Morrison's photographs can be seen in his gallery and studio called Prairie Vistas Gallery on north Rock Island. He has been in the space for five years and is adding two gallery rooms. The expansion will debut early this fall with an opening that will coincide with a Final Friday gallery crawl, he said.
If you go
photographs by john morrison
What: Landscape photography by the Wichita artist
Where: Prairie Vistas Gallery, 151 N. Rock Island, Suite 1D
How much: Admission free
For more information, call 316-214-7566 or go to www.prairievistas.com.