An old Kansas grain silo

Old grain silo in Kansas

(Click to see a bit larger with a nice dark border)

When you go on a three-day stormchasing trip, you tend to get focused on one thing: storms. I think that’s obvious enough. You usually have a ton of driving to do on an excursion like this so there isn’t always a lot of time to spend dilly-dallying as my mom would say.

The fact that this isn’t a storm photo should tell you something. The three-day trip was kind of a huge bust for me. The storms just didn’t happen like they were supposed to and I’m having a rough time dealing with that today. Tons of driving…money…time away from family. I had amazingly high expectations for myself and I basically came away with nothing I had hoped to capture before leaving.

I’m not writing this for people to feel sorry for me. In fact, while I am on the verge of real sadness over this (probably the tiredness is playing a big part too), I see it as a positive for myself. It’s a re-assurance of my passion for photography in general. Feeling this much disappointment over something as silly sounding as stormchasing kind of validates it all for me.

So today’s image is a grain silo that was abandoned in the middle of western Kansas. Because when life gives you blue skies instead of supercells, you try to shoot something else.  With a lot of time on my hands with no weather to photograph, I shot a lot of what I’m dubbing “FarmEx” instead of the normal “UrbEx.”

I definitely wouldn’t drive 2200 miles and spend gobs of money to see a bunch of abandoned farm houses and barns…but I’ll tell you what: Kansas is full of that kind of stuff and you could go nuts shooting out there.

(exif info: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 35mm, f/14, iso 100, 1/160 sec)



  • Chris Nitz

    Love how you brought out all the grime on the silos. Always remember, you can control the camera, but you cannot control the weather. This trip may have been a bust, but the next one may provide you with more photos than you can handle! Love the FarmEx!

  • Scott Ackerman

    That’s weird, I’ve never seen anything that even closely resembles a structure like that. 😉 Nice shot man, really dig the processing!

  • murphyz

    Never work with children, animals and…I guess…weather. Mother nature is an unpredictable force, but at least you made the effort to get out there and try to harness her in some way. Top marks for the effort, and it didn’t stop you from getting great shots.

  • Jason Hines

    I think its great that an experience like this just confirmed your passion for photography. I’m sorry that mother nature wasn’t agreeing.

  • Jesse

    Love. Warm tones and negative space are winners in my book.

  • Brian Matiash

    Definitely my kind of shot. It reminds me of the mills in Portland and Montreal. Nicely done, dude.

  • Bill McCarroll

    Nice shot Mike…agree the warm tones really make this a winner. Sorry to hear about the uncooperative weather. Only a few more months before monsoon season, there’s still hope! Keep your chin up.

  • Ryan Sexton

    Cool photo, by the sounds of it you made the best of it. The FarmEx is a great idea, but I guess you had plenty of time to think that up, driving 2,200 miles.

  • Dave DiCello

    Sorry to hear about the trip man…hope that it works out better next time! Love the POV here, the textures are outstanding!

  • Curt Fleenor

    A+ for making the best of the circumstances and you did manage to come away with this great shot. Better luck next time with the weather!

  • Chris Frailey

    Tough love from Mother Nature is never fun. I like the processing on the pic.

  • Steve Beal

    Ooooh I like “FarmEx: – there’s a ton near me in Massachusetts, I’m gonna go shoot me some. You should take a peek at Jesse’s blog today:

    You gotta go for it – and you should try again next year, the payoff will be even better. No regrets!

  • Randy Bayne

    One of the joys of photography is not being tied to any one thing. If what I’m after doesn’t materialize there is always a good chance I will find another opportunity to make a great image. Looks like you got that here. This is a great shot using the elements to wonderful advantage. Really like the perspective and the low contrast.

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Love it, this is a great shot Mike! I really like the colors you used in the processing and the offset of the silo to the right of the frame… Sorry about the trip…

  • Scott Wood

    Even if you didn’t get the shots you wanted, I still envy your being able to get out and try. Hell, the chase is half the fun.

    I really like this elevator, it reminds me of so many of the ones around where I grew up.

  • Toad Hollow Photography

    Really sorry to hear about your experience there, Mike. As mentioned, this truly proves how much passion you have for this activity, and this in all truth serves you very well. Your work is absolutely compelling, with or without nasty and brooding storm clouds on the horizon. This shot is top drawer, make no mistake about it. Love your work, my friend.

  • Heather

    Such a bummer Mike 🙁 I like the term FarmEx though 🙂

  • J Howe

    Sorry the weather wasn’t more cooperative, but weather can be that way sometimes, unfortunately. 🙁 Nice job on the grain elevator, however!

  • Kristi Hines

    On the bright side, maybe you just discovered a new style of photography with FarmEX. I tried to get the ball rolling with RurEx not too long ago, but I don’t think it’s catching on. Hopefully you’ll have better luck! 🙂

  • Justin

    The sense of scale on these silos is a amazing. I stop every time I see one. Great shot Mike!