About the Cover Art
Sunflower Foundation > 2017 Annual Report > About the Cover Art
"Sky Fire," by Edward C. Robison, III
This is an image I created in January 2006 at the Breidenthal Preserve in Douglas County, also known as the Baldwin Woods, just a couple miles north of Baldwin City. The preserve is home to 3,400 acres of hills, creeks, and undisturbed old growth woodlands in the terminal zone of historic continental glaciation in Kansas.
At the time, I was living in a small farmhouse adjacent to the preserve. I had been working on a four-year project called "One Square Mile," which set out to prove that you could find beauty and the extraordinary in your own back yard.
One afternoon, after a particularly strong winter thunderstorm passed through the area I was anxious to get out and photograph the clouds. When I went outside, I noticed that the thick cloud bank stopped at the western horizon and there was a break in the cloud cover right where the sun was going to set. I quickly gathered my camera gear and set out to find a composition that would capture the expansive sky.
After setting up my camera, I waited about 30 minutes until the sun dipped below the clouds and illuminated their undersides with a beautiful spectrum of reds and purple hues. I captured a number of images that evening, but “Sky Fire” was my favorite composition. It’s since become one of my all-time best-selling images. “Sky Fire” is composed of 12 separate vertical photographs stitched together into one seamless, high-resolution panoramic.
I love the simplicity of Kansas and its endless sky. One of my favorite things to capture is solitude, and Kansas offers many subjects that are isolated on vast prairie. The sky is a constantly changing canvas of color and textures. I love to explore and find hidden gems. Seeking out and discovering new locations is as exciting for me as creating the photographs.
Many Americans think of Kansas as boring or flat or “flyover country.” But those of us who have lived here any time at all—and are ready to witness the wonder of this world—know that’s just simply not true. It may not be true of anywhere, but it is certainly not true of Kansas.
Witness the sunrise on a spring morning. Sunset over a disappearing horizon of magic colors. Stunning limestone outcroppings revealing life over millennia, in every corner of this place. Wheat waving in chorus for miles. Prairies unvisited by more than a few people for years. Thunderstorms on the horizon that will take hours to arrive at last. A red tail hawk sailing on air so still you could swear you hear its feathers flying by.
This place is truly beautiful. We who have ever called it home are truly fortunate.
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Edward C. Robison, III, was born and raised in Warrensburg, Missouri. He pursued a degree in photography at the Kansas City Art Institute. He and his wife Janalee have also lived in Kansas and Colorado. While traveling through Kansas to visit friends, he realized his calling was to photograph the subtle beauty and simplicity of the Midwest landscape. His work has been exhibited and published nationally. He currently owns and operates the Sacred Earth Gallery in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. To see more of his photography, visit his website at ECR3.com.