For local photographer, Josie Alexander, the Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK) photo contest was right up her alley. The contest, which ended on Aug. 15 invites photographers of all ages to submit photos that showcase ranching and the mission of RTK, “To preserve Kansas’ ranching heritage and open spaces for future generations through the conservation of working landscapes.”

Alexander had entered the contest before, but this year she took home one of the top 10 prizes. Her photo of a windmill earned honorable mention from the nearly 9,000 Facebook voters.

“It’s what I enjoy,” she said. “Cattle, rural, livestock, ranch photography is what I am really passionate about. That’s what drew my eye to this contest.”

She has entered contests before and has a photo on display in Wichita. This contest though took her back to her roots. For the past five or six years, she has taken pictures through her business, North 40 Photography. She does the traditional photo shoots, family shots, weddings and senior pictures. But the outdoor photography is her favorite.

“I grew up around horses and ranches,” she said “I’ve just enjoyed capturing those moments, the sunsets and silhouettes.”

Her winning photograph of a windmill was taken on a family friends land in Lyon County four or five years ago.

“A family member asked me to take pictures of the family farm,” she said. “It’s a picture of a windmill and there is a barn in the background.”

Her business was originally going to be named His Creation. That was what drove her desire to shoot cattle and landscape she said, to capture His creations. She chose North 40 for the name because her dad would always refer to the north 40 when talking about his land.

As one of the winners, Alexander’s photograh will be used to promote Kansas’ ranching heritage and open spaces. RTK will have photo stationery cards for sale throughout the year featuring the 10 winning photos. Printed on premium cardstock, the folded cards are blank inside and come in packs of 10 with white envelopes. The card packages can be purchased for $20 by contacting Samantha Weishaar at (785) 273-5115 or samantha@kla.org.

RTK is an agricultural land trust affiliate of the Kansas Livestock Association.