Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Nature

It’s all about nature this week for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge and I am definitely ready for this one.  When I first became interested in photography I spent most of my time taking pictures of wildlife and flowers and although I’ve broadened my horizons since then, I’m still looking out for those nature shots.


Pelicans on the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa.


A friendly frog in the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in Iowa.


A lounging bison on Antelope Island on The Great Salt Lake, Utah.


A remnant of Autumn at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/20/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-its-all-about-nature/

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Vibrant Colors

Cee’s choice for her Fun Foto Challenge this week are Vibrant Colors, an easy thing to find in the photo files as they always stand out from the rest.


On the Scarecrow Trail at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, these colorful creations made by various scout troops are a regular feature in the fall.


These eye-catching decorations were on display at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington.


The vibrant colors of this costume worn by a participant at the 63rd Annual Powwow in Busse Woods really made a splash!


Gorgeous blooms at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin.  For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/18/cees-fun-foto-challenge-vibrant-colors-2/

Halloween Challenge – Fall

We’re at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm which must mean it’s FallJennifer Nichole Wells has selected Fall or Autumn for today’s Halloween Challenge and I’ve made a special trip to the farm for this purpose.  Everything looks very colorful at this time of year especially when the sun’s shining.




I wanted to find somewhere different to take autumn pictures this year and during our trip up to Duluth we stopped off at Council Grounds State Park in Merrill, Wisconsin. The trees were just starting to change color.



And of course, it wouldn’t be Autumn without a trip to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. We’ve been making this pilgrimage every year for more than forty years and Mother Nature never disappoints.  For more on Jennifer’s Halloween Challenge go to https://jennifernicholewells.com/2016/10/18/jnws-halloween-challenge-fallautumn/




Weekly Photo Challenge – Local

For this week’s Photo Challenge on The Daily Post, Jen has asked us for something local (as in home.)  I have written several posts on one of my other blogs, Incidentally, at http://skfjrifnd.wordpress.com/ about the towns and villages in the Chicago area.  I wish I could think of here as home but that term will always be reserved for dear old England, so for now I will just share a few images of my favorite places to visit that are within an hour’s drive of our house.  I suppose they could be considered local.


The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe; one of the most worthwhile annual subscriptions that I’ve ever kept up has been to this place.


Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg; always a pleasant walk and a good opportunity to do some nature photography as well as visit the farm animals.


Millennium Park in downtown Chicago;  despite all the bad things that I read about Chicago these days, I still enjoy the occasional visit, especially to Millennium Park where there are so many good things to see.


Morton Arboretum in Lisle;  I have to visit this place at least twice a year, in the Spring to see the daffodils and in the Autumn for the fall color.


Arlington Park racetrack in Arlington Heights; always a favorite venue during the summer months and a fun day out even if I don’t always pick the winner.


Brookfield Zoo;  We’ve been taking children and now grandchildren to the zoo for more than forty years. The big cats are always popular. “Here kitty.  Nice kitty.”


BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett; one of the most beautiful buildings in our area and such a peaceful place.


Lilacia Park in Lombard; I never miss the Lilac Festival. It was always one of my mother’s favorite parks.  For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/local/


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Rocks

This week, Cee is looking for rocks for her Black & White Photo Challenge.


As you cross the causeway to Cana Island in Door County, Wisconsin, you’ll see quite a few of these cairns, or rock piles, lining the way.


An iconic feature of Arches National Park, Balanced Rock stands 128ft tall, the top part being as large as three school buses.


Another interesting rock formation also in Utah.


Split Rock Creek in Palisades State Park, South Dakota, is lined with beautiful Sioux Quartzite formations.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/13/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-rocks/

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Yellows

There was no shortage of images featuring yellow for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.  Like red, yellow usually shows up well in pictures and I’m always on the lookout for bright colors.


These cheeky sunflower faces caught my eye at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington the other day.


We visited the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau last week to see their ‘Birds in Art’ exhibit.  This beautiful piece, entitled ‘Lesser Bird-of-Paradise’ (Oil on tupelo), was created by Gary Eigenberger.


Maybe not quite so artistic but very creative, this pumpkin was decorated for the Scarecrow Trail at Morton Arboretum in Lisle last year.


Trees showing off their autumn finery at River Trails in Northbrook, Illinois.


Splendid yellow costumes worn by participants in the American Indian Powwow in Busse Woods this September.

For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/11/cees-fun-foto-challenge-yellows/



The Last Hurrah


last-hurrah11The flowers in our garden are starting to wind down now and the process of clearing up has begun.  I’m always sorry to see the beds starting to look empty but there are still the last few remnants of color to be seen. The seasons seem to fly by faster every year,. Sometimes it feels like we hardly have time to enjoy the results of all our labor out there and it’s only when I take the camera around to shoot some pictures that I really can stop to appreciate just how beautiful these flowers are.



The weather has been very wet here during the past few weeks, although thankfully not as bad as some places, but it has meant that we were not able to complete some of the tasks that we had hoped to finish by the end of the growing season.  Trying to dig muddy, soil with a high clay content is next to impossible!  So some things will have to wait until next year.



Everything seems to be soaking up the mild, sunny days, expending their remaining energy into putting forth a few more blossoms and generating those all-important seeds that will bring the garden back to life next year. I really enjoy walking round collecting the seeds, one of the less arduous tasks in the garden, and people often stop by to ask if I have any to share, which I’m always happy to do as I usually end up with way more than I can use.



Cleome, Cosmos, marigolds, 4-o-clocks, snapdragons and nasturtiums are the most prolific and there are quite a few gardens in the neighborhood that have enjoyed a nice display of flowers as a result.