Keeper of the Plains at Night

With Fire!

The Keeper of the Plains reflects the light of the nearby Ring of Fire at night, as seen during our recent visit to Wichita, Kansas.

The Keeper of the Plains reflects the light of the nearby Ring of Fire at night, as seen during our recent visit to Wichita, Kansas.

During the Thanksgiving weekend, we visited the Keeper of the Plains, a statue in Wichita located where the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers converge. We enjoyed our visit to the statue in the daytime, and we were interested to learn that a Ring of Fire is illuminated for 15 minutes each night. That sounded like it would be fun to see! Fast forward two months…

When we took Jaylin back to Sterling College last weekend, we had planned to spend the night in Wichita before coming home. We had found some interesting stores, and we thought it would be fun to go visit those stores again. And it was indeed fun.

After our shopping adventure, we were eating supper in a restaurant. I looked at my watch, and it was a little after 6:30 PM. The Ring of Fire around the Keeper of the Plains is lit at 7:00 PM in the winter. I checked the map, and it looked like we would have time to make it. So we jumped in the car and headed that way.

By the time we arrived, it was just a couple of minutes after 7:00. But I don’t think we missed much by not being there for the actual lighting. I grabbed my camera and tripod and found a good spot on the riverbank for some photos.

Some Notes

As you can see here, the Ring of Fire is more of a semicircle than an actual ring. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I just thought you should know.

Lots of people had gathered at the base of the statue to see the flames, and probably also to enjoy the heat. You can see the people between the flames and the statue if you look closely at the photo. And you can also see the ice in the river if you look closely. The temperatures had warmed up some that day, but it was still cold at night, and not all of the ice and snow had melted from the extremely cold temperatures from earlier in the week. So I am sure that the heat from the flames felt good to those near them.

We decided against walking over the bridge to the statue. For one thing, it was rather cold out, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph. And for another thing, by the time we would have gotten there, it would have been time for the flames to go out. And for yet another thing, if we were by the statue, we could only see either the flames or the Keeper of the Plains. Plus, we would have only been able to see the Keeper from an odd angle, as we knew from being there before. So we just admired the view from across the river for a few minutes before jumping back in our car to warm up.

Interestingly, when the flames did go out, we could hear a bit of an “Awww” from the crowd, as if they wanted the heat to go on a little longer. Or maybe they were just enjoying seeing the flames like we were.

Although we did not stick around for very long, we enjoyed our second visit to the Keeper of the Plains. Who knows, maybe it won’t be our last?

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? - Matthew 6:30

About the Photo

As I mentioned above, I used my tripod for this photo. Although you can’t necessarily tell by looking at this photo, it was quite dark outside. A long exposure was essential to capture everything.

It actually was not that long of an exposure, just 1/3 of a second, but I could not have held the camera steady for that amount of time. The Ring of Fire and the spotlights lit up the Keeper of the Plains enough that I did not need a super-long exposure.

I always stick my tripod in the car for trips like this one, but I don’t often have a chance to actually use it. However, this time I was definitely glad that I had brought it!

Photo: A single JPEG exposure, processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: January 8, 2022
Location: Keeper of the Plains, WichitaKansas

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.