Mike Blair's "Outdoorsman's Prayer" will be seen June 16 on KPTS
All videographer Mike Blair wanted when he visited public television station KPTS was to introduce himself and try to get the station to take a look at his work for possible broadcast.
He got that plus a whole lot more.
The station wanted to see an example of his work so he gave them a 30-minute feature "Outdoorsman Prayer" to review and they liked it. They liked it a lot.
Now KPTS has scheduled "Outdoorsman Prayer" for broadcast at 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, Father's Day, on KPTS cable channel 8.
The offer came as a complete surprise.
"I was frankly astonished and pleased when they said 'We'd really like to do this on our station,'" Blair said.
For 27 years Blair was photographer for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism magazine. That job took him all over the state photographing the wildlife, landscapes and natural beauty of the state.
When he retired he continued to record the state from east to west and north to south. Over the past three years he has acquired a vast video collection of everything outdoors that Kansas has to offer.
Blair decided to put the very best of those video images together into a 30-minute program and incorporate a narrative featuring verses from the Bible plus his own versions of classic old hymns. He has even included an original composition as well.
The result was a tribute from Blair to God.
"I wanted to put down a thanksgiving to God for letting me spend a lifetime outdoors," Blair said.
While the video has scripture and hymns, it is not overtly religious. It is the reflections of a photographer who works and lives in the Kansas environment every day.
"It's just simply my own thoughts and feelings," Blair said.
Because of the way he combined those elements into the video, KPTS said it was not threatening and not preachy. And that was one reason why KPTS decided to air the video just as it was presented to them.
The video images show the wide variety of outdoor beauty in the state. The images of unusual sky lighting conditions, tornados, lightning, unusual cloud formations are tied to scriptures about the heavens.
The scripture is minimal and most of the video is done to classic hymns. The music and dialogue doesn't overpower the natural sounds on the video. Viewers will still hear the sound of the wind, the crack of lightning, the sounds of the animals and the water rushing down a stream.
Blair is first and foremost a wildlife photographer. The video contains the best of Kansas wildlife he has captured over the past three years in his voyage across Kansas.
In order to get the images, Blair would shoot from two to 18 hours a day and sometimes spend weeks shooting to get just a couple of minutes on the video.
"There's a tremendous amount of work in this," Blair said.
Once the video airs, Blair said he hopes it will be a steppingstone to other public television markets. He is also optimistic that it could lead to a series of videos on KPTS.
"I've got great stuff for future episodes," Blair said. "I'm certain I'll be doing more than this TV show."
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