375. Lakin, Kearny County (KS014)

Hold up! This was an unexpected opportunity… So I was driving through Lakin on my way to my starting destination for the next morning and wondered if the courthouse might be illuminated. When I got there, I realized it wasn’t, but there was some ambient light. Maybe, I though, I could do some kind of high f-stop long exposure like in astrophotography, and that might get me something workable. The downside is that phones (especially my iDevice) don’t have any way to adjust aperture settings because their cameras are so tiny. However, after a few minutes searching the Intertubes, I found a workaround to create (or at least simulate) a long exposure. I decided to give it a try and this was the result. Not bad. Heck, I’ve used worse photos than this. I didn’t want to do this everywhere just to justify night caching, but if I can run through somewhere and get a decent shot of the courthouse at night, why not? I certainly have already a number of times. Besides, if I could figure out a consistent way of getting decent low light courthouse photos, that would be a total game changer for the continuing project. I’ve always been hampered by sunlight. If that’s no longer as much of an issue, that not only makes each trip possibly more fruitful because I can grab a few more courthouses per day, but it opens up a lot more time on shorter winter days. If a ten hour winter day can manage a few more per day, the possibilities are, well, not exactly endless, but much more open than before. Of course, this gets balanced out by the fact that I hate night caching. Part of it is general distaste for wandering around alone in the dark, but let us not be naïve, either. As a black man, wandering around at night, doing weird and suspicious things? On the other hand, though, one of the few good things about being out in the middle of nowhere is that there is nobody to see what you’re doing. So I went and did the thing because I’ll be darned to heck if I’m going to let someone tell me where I can and can’t go.

Remember the Santa Fe Geotour? Turns out one of the caches was in the county, off the side of the highway, near a historical marker devoted to trail rides on the Santa Fe Trail. I took a little walk in the night and look what I found! I’m not going to lie, part of me was a bit shaky out there, but my fear in the darkness was overwhelmed by my desire to not have to come back here. And with the log signed, I got back to moving to my next destination. Of course, where that would be was now a bit of a mystery, because low light photography had opened up a whole new array of possibilities. As fate would have it, that next destination, as unplanned as this one had been, turned out to be…

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