8 Wonders Of Kansas Guidebook

Besides pulling the occasional calf, spending long days on the combine, holding Kitty just the right way, and being my wonderful husband, Harland is a freelance photographer. Over the years, he has done assignments for many companies and magazines.  Some of his work has appeared in books, but never has he been given a book assignment where all the images were his alone.

But then last spring he was hired by Marci Penner of the Kansas Sampler Foundation to be the sole photographer of 216 subjects throughout Kansas for a book showcasing Architecture, Art, Commerce, Cuisine, Customs, Geography, History, and People of Kansas. He started work in May of last year, and finished up in November. He drove a total of 15,752 miles (equal to 5 trips from Maine to California).  He photographed the state capital, enough restaurant food to feed a small army, buffalo on the tallgrass prairie, and the widest main street in America. He shot pics from planes, bucket trucks, fire ladders, hanging out of a helicopter, and many other places throughout the state.

His days began before sunrise and usually ended at 11pm.  Marci, executive director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation arranged all the appointments and logistics for each of the 216 subjects.  She and Harland were in constant phone contact throughout each day coordinating the next stop on the journey.

At the end of shooting in November he had compiled 59,700 images. He spent weeks editing the images and ultimately sent 8000 to the photo editor, Liz King, who then narrowed it down to the 800+ that appear in the book. Meanwhile, Marci researched each of the 216 subjects to compile background information, locations, hours, and websites to ensure the book is not only a beautiful coffee table book, but can be taken on the road and used as a guidebook.

Finally, this past Saturday a reception and booksigning attended by over 350 people was held at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene to debut the “8 Wonders Of Kansas Guidebook”. Many people lined up to purchase books and have them signed by Marci and Harland.

Harland and I had never even attended a booksigning. We didn’t know what to expect or how many people would be there. But we were humbled by the overwhelming response and enthusiasm of our fellow Kansans.

A job well done.

For more information about the book, or to purchase a copy, click here.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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43 Responses

  1. Please convey my heartiest CONGRATULATIONS

  2. Please convey my heartiest CONGRATULATIONS to your dear hubby for a job very well done!! And I know you had just a tiny bit to do with its success, just by being so supportive of him!!

  3. Tina says:

    Harland seems to be the perfect husband and you are very lucky. I too have one of the few perfect husbands and after 33 years of marriage I guess I’ll keep him! I know he worked so very hard on the pics for the book please congratulate him for me.

  4. Brenda says:

    This is wonderful news and Congratulations to Harland!!!! This will be so special to regular readers of your blog becuase we will feel like we know the author/photographer personally.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, your faithful readers.


  5. Sally Bishop says:

    How exciting! I’ll look for this book next time I’m in Wichita and share that I (kinda) know the photographer. Congratulations.

  6. Chester's Mom says:

    Your husband is one amazing man!

  7. WenDee says:

    Beautiful just beautiful – the words, sentiments and photos! Thanks for being such a great support to Harland. What an experience this was for all of us.

  8. Carola says:

    Congratulations to Harland!!! What an exciting accomplishment & an exciting event to sign all those autographs in all those books! I look forward to purchasing my own copy so I can enjoy his wonderful photos too.

    Thanks for sharing this great news! I know you must be busting your “Proud Wife” buttons! Enjoy all the special moments & memories!

    • Suzanne says:

      Thank you Carola,
      I will pass your Congrats along. And yes, I am quite proud of Harland.
      Thanks again,

  9. Monica says:

    My congratulations! What a wonderful accomplishment!

  10. Alica says:

    I just might have to check this out! My brother-in-law is from Western Kansas. Congratulatios to your hubby!!

  11. Janet says:

    Congratulations! It must be so satisfying to see all that hard work bound together in a wonderful book 🙂 Very cool!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Janet,
      It’s so fun to look at it because for every page Harland has a story to tell about how he got the pic. I’ll pass your good wishes along. Thank you!

  12. How fantastic! Kudos and congratulations to them.

  13. Elaine Miller says:

    Marci and Harold, I picked up a copy of this beautiful book 1st thing Monday morning at the Oz museum. Very beautiful inside and out. I’m proud to add it to my Kansas book shelf when I’m done reading it. Congratulations!!!!!

  14. Tom Parker says:

    The book is fabulous and more so because of Harland’s superb photographs. I feel honored and blessed to have been able to photograph him in action during two of the locations shoots. Whenever I see his images in the book I’m reminded of him lifting off in that dinky little tin can of a chopper. Congratulations on a job well done!

    • Suzanne says:

      Thank you Tom! I forwarded you comment along to Harland. Wasn’t that helicopter a hoot? I got a chance to ride in it as well, and it was actually a nice smooth ride.
      It was good to see you again on Sat, and thanks again,

  15. Hound Doggy says:

    This is great. Congratulations to him.

  16. Wow!!! That is absolutely wonderful! Congratulations Harland!! He must feel so accomplished and proud! I can’t even imagine. I’m so happy for the two of you!!! I can’t believe how many photographs he took…and I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to narrow it down to 8,000! and then for Marci to be further narrow it down to 800+. That is unbelievable!! Wow!

    • Suzanne says:

      The numbers are hard to take in, and Harland has said that it was the hardest job he’s ever done. But he enjoyed it too, and learned a lot. Thanks Bonnie, and I’ll pass your good wishes along.

  17. Janet says:

    Suzanne, how blessed you both are. Your photography is stunning but the happiness that is shared by both os you shines thru.

  18. Now how cool is that?! Congratulations! You two are a match made in heaven. 😀

  19. Shauna says:

    I can’t wait to get my copy!

  20. Kit says:

    OH MY GOSH! I miss a week of reading and I come back to find this wonderful news! Congratulations to Harland! I have added this book to my Mother’s Day wish-list!

  21. Peggy says:

    Oh my goodness! How exciting! Your man is so cool. Does he have an unmarried brother. Ha ha! Wow, he has been busy. That’s alot of photos! I’m happy for him! Tell him congratulations!

  22. Chester's Mom says:

    Hi Suzanne, my book arrived just in time to keep me company as I canned and pickled my heart out! I would do a step in the process and then read for a few minutes. It’s so much fun, I know I’ll never get to Kansas but love reading about all the neat places and friendly people. Tell Harland how I’m enjoying his pictures, he is a real artist with a camera!

  23. Harland really does take amazing photos. (So do you, by the way.) I’ve ordered my copy and hope to have him sign it one day. I know y’all are super excited and proud – I’m hoping for the same experience when I “launch” my young readers novel next month. Wish me luck! 😉

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