My goal with the paragraphs below is to encourage you to visit http://www.nebraskaproject.com/ to view the images and watch the videos. It will enrich your life. Read on if you like for some background information. But if you click away now and go directly to the site, never to return here, I promise I won’t be offended.
Sticking with me? Great! Here’s the story:
For a few months in the autumn of 2014, I had the privilege of helping to create an incredible body of photography and video documentary work focused on the beauty of Nebraska.
It began in March when I met Bill Frakes and Laura Heald during an evening of crane watching on the Platte River. I had heard about a photography expedition to Iceland that they had planned for August. Within ten minutes of introductions, they had invited me to join the already-full expedition. “We’ll make room for you,” they said.
The trip to Iceland was a life-changing experience in a number of ways. It was an opportunity to travel to an incredible destination with a group of photographers, educators, and professionals. The trip provided learning, networking, and sheer adventure beyond anything I could have envisioned. It was a bucket list endeavor that I hadn’t even known was on my bucket list.
Laura and Bill, who led the expedition, had been working on documentaries for the State of Nebraska. As we made our way across the glaciers and black sand beaches of southern Iceland, they talked with me about the opportunity to work as a producer on some current and possible future projects with their media company, Straw Hat Visuals. I’ve been fortunate to contribute creatively and administratively to some short documentaries and other media pieces recently released at http://visitnebraska.com/ and http://www.nebraskaproject.com/.
My work on the Nebraska project ran the gamut from location scouting to schlepping 80-pound pelican cases full of gear, to seeking out and contacting many of the fine folks who appear in the videos and images included in this project. In order to create overnight time-lapse sequences, we camped out in Toadstool Park, in a pasture outside of O’Neill, and at Liberty Cove near Blue Hill. Bill & Laura and their team spent many more nights in a dozen other places. We’d crawl out of the tent throughout the night to change camera batteries, rescue gear from rainstorms, and set tripods upright again after wind bursts. There were many miles, many sunrises & sunsets, country roads, friendly Nebraskans, unfriendly mosquitoes, and lots & lots of wows. There was hardly a chance to make images of my own, though I didn’t mind that at all.
If you watch the video entitled “Nebraska Sky,” you’ll see scenes from east to west and north to south throughout Nebraska. I feel honored to be featured with my dad in a video entitled “Coming Home,” with scenes from Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor & Agricultural Learning, just outside Hastings. Voices and faces in these pieces include Nebraska folks who hail from nearly every county in the state.
Whether you live here, you miss your Nebraska home, or you think of Nebraska as a fly-over state, these images and stories will amaze you. Take a look. I promise you lots of wows.
Amy Sandeen lives in Hastings, Nebraska and is the Executive Director of Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Learning. She grew up in Hastings and then lived in St. Paul/Minneapolis for eighteen years before returning to her roots in 2008. Besides photography, Amy’s creative endeavors include music, theater, utterly amateur graphic design, elementary home improvements, and lots of time outdoors for inspiration. Amy is fascinated by the nature of humans and by our relationships to the natural world and to each other. Even ants cast shadows.
Feature image taken by Amy Sandeen