Travel : A Journey into the Midwest

     There is something about a landscape that speaks to my soul. When I was only 6 or 7 years old, I went to the library and browse around looking at photos in books with my older sisters. In that time I discovered travel magazines. I remember seeing one with a yellow box and border around the cover and it always had an intriguing photo on the cover. That magazine of course was the famous National Geographic  magazine. I browsed through the magazines and saw interesting people and amazing graphics of animals. However, I didn't stop until I reached an issue that really caught my eye. 

     The front cover was nothing but landscapes meshed over each other. I remember a friend telling me about a recent trip to the Smoky Mountains and I just couldn't picture what "Smoky Mountains" could look like...until I saw this photo. I was able to experience something I had heard about, by seeing it through the eyes of a camera. I read every travel magazine that came through the library. 

     That slowly tapered down in excitement after a while after realizing I could see all of these places in these magazines, but starting realizing I would most likely never get to experience them in person. I was still young, but had never left a 20 mile radius in Southern Illinois, and traveling just wasn't in the family budget. I decided to back away from this and got involved in trading cards and sports. 

     Now fast forwarding 20 years, I finally realized why I loved the magazines so much. The travel, the excitement, and the photography. I went back to picking up travel magazines and set my goals a little closer. I got involved in capturing the beauty in local state parks and recreational areas. However, this is just the beginning. 

     I very much aspire to capture the American landscape in every state. I want to bring about a collection of photographs that show that beauty isn't just in the famous landmarks, but in every mile along the way. 

     I hope you enjoy the journey we are about to go on. 



"Inception of Soul" 

     This image was taken on the banks of the Missouri River a few hours after sunset in Chamberlain, South Dakota. Upon arriving in Chamberlain, I met an individual at the fueling station. He was on a recent cross country bus tour when he decided this was going to be his stop. Something in him saw the beauty in the area so much, that he traveled far enough east from California to call this place his home. 

     Now I must admit that this town was absolutely beautiful, it was special to me because it was my first stop on a week long photography journey across the midwest. After driving 14 hours, of all the places to stay, I happen to find the same charming town that attracted this other individual to call home. 

     He had found his place to settle and I had just discovered a place to begin. The wind crushing the waves into the bank, the clouds lacing the sky with a hint of a thunderstorm across the plains, I felt truly in touch with my reason, my being, my soul. 

©Jonathon Walters 2016

"Back In The Day"

Driving across the plains from my last stop in Chamberlain, I see a church far off in the distance. I knew the second I saw it, this is what I set out to capture. We came upon the church and saw it was part of a local museum. Not just any museum, but an entire town dedicated to the 1880's. The houses and building in this town were all original and had all been moved to this location from other places in the area.  

© Jonathon Walters 2016

"Cattle Car"

Inside view of an antique cattle rail car while traveling through South Dakota. Another amazing piece of the collection in the 1880's Town. 

© Jonathon Walters 2016

"Hail On The Plains"

     What would a travel through the midwest be without a giant hail storm? I admit, I drove out of my way to intercept this beast. My weather radar was chirping on the dash that a severe thunderstorm was near, but not close enough. I hoped off the interstate and took to the country roads to get close to this cell. The hail was sweeping across the tail of the storm and made for an amazing effect. How do I know it was hail? I am not a storm chaser and this thing turned and hit me head on. While it may sound terrible, there was no car damage or injuries. 

© Jonathon Walters 2016

"Golden Black Hills"

     After a solid two hour drive through torrential down pours, I was starting to get a bit bummed that all of my shots would not have that beautiful glow of the sunshine that I had so perfectly imagined the weeks leading up to the trip. I was coming into the Black Hills of South Dakota and knew I would only have a single evening to capture what I could. I initially skipped Mount Rushmore due to the rain and decided to drive around Custer State Park. A place know for its amazing wildlife and beautiful views. After a drive through the mountain, without even a hint of a Bison, I started getting discouraged thinking I would miss out on what this spectacular place had to offer. 

     Then I stopped. I realized, this IS what this place has to offer. This isn't florida or Los Angeles, I am not guaranteed sunshine and perfect weather, in fact it is much different. It is the plains in the middle of spring, I was getting exactly what I had signed up for. It was also exactly what I needed, A reminder that the beauty of this country is that it is natural and not forced. 

     So I grabbed my freshly served lemons and made some lemonade (with extra ice). I described this image as the golden black hills, not only because of physical appearance, but because this is when I realized the value of my journey and experiences in the black hills was valuable; Golden. 

© Jonathon Walters 2016

New photos coming everyday! Stay Tuned