Dave McKane is observant.
As a photographer, he looks for things other people sometimes miss.
And his two exhibits at Carnegie Center for the Arts have demonstrated that visual curiosity.
McKane, a native of Ireland who spent a year in Hutchinson as an exchange student in 1978, has been photographing the abandoned houses of Kansas for several years.
"I felt I had to record these fascinating buildings before it was too late," McKane said.
His exhibit, "Ghost House of the Prairies," showed at Carnegie in 2011.
McKane chronicles another fleeting subject in his current exhibit," "Blue Moments." the show features images captured at the moment between day and night that occurs every evening about 30 minutes after sunset.
"This process is not about taking a lot of photographs and hoping one turns out, it's about setting up then waiting then capturing the moment," McKane said at a reception for members of Carnegie Tuesday evening.
Much of McKane's work, including the abandoned house series, is presented in black and white.
"But for these moments, you need color," McKane said.
McKane describes his passion for the visual power of the transition from day to night as "a love affair — and those always start at night time."
He also points out that scenes in cities, which may not be very attractive during the day, take on a special beauty at that moment.
"Some people call it the blue hour, but it's actually about ten minutes. And you have a longer moment here in Kansas," he said.
The moment, when it's no longer day but not yet night, is missed by most people as they hurry from one commitment to another.
McKane will even stop alongside the highway to catch the moment.
"Kind people will stop to ask if I'm okay," he said.
McKane gets the shot by being at the right place at the right time.
And in the process, McKane says you become an expert on lots of unexpected topics.
For example, McKane discovered that a tower in Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, often cited as the first open shopping mall in the world, is a half-scale recreation of the Giralda tower in Seville, Spain. He has photographs of both structures in his show.
McKane's exhibit will be at Carnegie through the end of the year.
Carnegie will be closed today through Tuesday for Christmas, then open regular hours until Dec. 29.
Those hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, call Carnegie at 225-6388.