Cheyenne Bottoms in Kansas

Cheyenne Bottoms wildlife area in Kansas

Cheyenne Bottoms near Great Bend, Kansas, is a large marsh habitat that provides a stopping place for migrating birds on the Central Flyway bird migration route. I took this moody-looking photo during our visit in April 2023.

As you might guess from the name, Cheyenne Bottoms is a low area right in the middle of the Kansas plains. The entire Cheyenne Bottoms takes up 41,000 acres. Over 19,000 acres are the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, while another 7,300 acres are managed by The Nature Conservancy.

This view accentuated the clouds in the sky just a bit, making them look perhaps slightly more menacing than they actually were.

Here is an alternate view:

Cheyenne Bottoms wildlife area in Kansas

This view is from looking just to the left of the first view. For whatever reason, the clouds were not as thick in that direction. And in looking in this direction, I liked that we could see the railroad tracks coming over the hill at the left and continuing on in front of us. The tracks are not as noticeable in the first photo, although they are indeed there, past the fence in the foreground. The only thing that would have made it better was for a train to come rolling along while we were there, but alas, one did not.

We did not actually go through Cheyenne Bottoms. We had been to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge a little farther south in Kansas, so we had seen some Kansas marshlands before. Instead on this trip, we drove to an overlook on the north edge of the bottoms to see what we could see.

Cheyenne Bottoms wildlife area in Kansas

I saw some people I knew at the overlook. But that was not entirely unexpected since they had gotten there in the same vehicle as me.

Here they are again, up close:

Laura and Jaylin at Cheyenne Bottoms wildlife area in Kansas

It was rather windy out there, as you might be able to guess.

Getting Closer

Actually, there was nothing limiting us to the overlook, except that it gave you a good way to look over (hence the name) Cheyenne Bottoms. We walked out down below the overlook for a different view.

There was a pass-through in the fence, but we did not walk far past it. Instead, I was interested in the fence itself:

Barb wire fence at Cheyenne Bottoms wildlife area in Kansas

The fence definitely had that “old west” feel to it, at least to me. So I gave the photo an “old west” feel, too.

Here is another view:

Barb wire fence at Cheyenne Bottoms wildlife area in Kansas

Just another reminder that we were not in Tennessee anymore.

Exciting to Us

There was not any one great thing at Cheyenne Bottoms. If you were to go looking for some big attraction, this isn’t it. But we love to explore nature and see the world around us, so this was right up our alley. Well, at least two of us. Something does not have to be big-time exciting to be worthwhile.

I am always impressed with how different geography can be, even just a few hundred miles from where we live. Our trips to Kansas have reminded us of that. We have enjoyed seeing all of the different nature things that are there and learning some about their history. As I often say, God’s creation is amazing.

A couple of years ago, I might not have thought that we would have enjoyed our Kansas trips as much as we have. But they have been good, and we have learned a lot along the way. I am thankful that we have had these opportunities.

As he was getting into the boat the man who had been demon-possessed asked if he could go with him. But Jesus did not permit him to do so. Instead, he said to him, “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you.” So he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all were amazed. - Mark 5:18-20

About the Photos

There are several different photo styles in this post, mainly because I could not decide on just one style for all of these photos. But then why would they all have to look the same, anyway?

For the first photo, I used a technique I have not used in a while. To bring out the clouds, I masked a darker exposure over the normal lighter exposure. That way, I used the sky and clouds from the darker exposure and the foreground from the lighter exposure. Both of these exposures were made from the same Raw file, by the way. Not quite the HDR techniques of the previous decade, but close, while hopefully not being too over-the-top.

For the last two photos, I turned down the color saturation and turned up the contrast. Those changes and the tight depth of field that I had used while taking the photos gave the look that I wanted.

And the other photos are pretty standard. Not too much to say about them, except that I did increase the color saturation slightly, especially to bring out the blue sky of the second overview photo.

Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Raw Therapee and GIMP.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: April 9, 2023
Location: Cheyenne Bottoms, near Great Bend, Kansas


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About Burnsland
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.