OWPC – Panorama

The One Word Photo Challenge from Tourmaline this week is Panorama and, going through the photo files, I’ve come to the conclusion that some of my best panoramic shots were taken on our trip to Utah a couple of years ago.

For more on the OWPC go to This Week’s Challenges: April 15 – 21 (OWPC, WW & CYW)

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – 50+

This week, Cee is looking for something or someone older than 50 years for her Black and White Photo Challenge.  How about 50 million years old! This fossilized fish, swimming in a sea of stone is from the Eocene period and can be seen at the Lizzadro Museum in Elmhurst.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Objects or People Older than 50 years

Weekly Photo Challenge – The Garden Awakening

It was good to see the Chicago Botanic Garden awakening from its long winter sleep today.  Stretching its arms and giving a bit of a yawn, it welcomed us back for another year of spectacular flowers and foliage.  Everything was neat and tidy, all the winter debris cleared away and emerging tulip leaves promise a beautiful show on the Esplanade in a few weeks.

Over in the English Walled Garden, a robin watched me as I stopped to take a picture or two.

The waterfall is yet to begin its cascade down towards the lake but the birds were singing and you could almost hear Mother Nature rolling up her sleeves, spitting on her hands and murmuring, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

A stroll around the immaculately-kept Japanese Garden showed me that it won’t be too long before the azaleas are in bloom.  All kinds of buds were showing on the branches of shrubs and trees.

If it’s true that “the earth laughs in flowers” then it was positively giggling like a giddy schoolgirl today as hundreds of brightly-colored crocus poked their heads out of the grass in front of the Carillon Tower.

Walking back through the Sensory Garden towards Spider Island, I was filled with anticipation, thinking about all the wonderful things that the garden will have to show us in the coming months now that it is finally awake.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Awakening

Is It Spring Yet?

I thought it was, a couple of weeks ago, when I was walking through Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. The snowdrops were in bloom, birds were singing and everything looked poised, ready to leap into action but apparently Mother Nature had other ideas as evidenced by a thin film of ice on the outer edges of the lake when I visited there yesterday.

I thought the patterns in the ice would make an interesting picture so I balanced precariously on the edge of the observation deck in a chilly wind to capture these images.

There were several school groups visiting the Center while I was there and while I’m absolutely delighted to see the younger generation getting healthy exercise in the fresh air and looking at something other than their tablets and smartphones, it doesn’t bode well for spotting any kind of wildlife that’s easily scared off by the sound of about 50 screaming kids.  However, it didn’t deter a flock of chickadees that were flitting back and forth among the trees down by the creek.

As many of you are aware, I have a  life-long fear of birds which is a bit of a handicap when I’m out on these nature rambles, but a long lens is an extremely useful tool which makes such pictures possible. It certainly came in handy when I got to the tall trees by the farm where a woodpecker was bashing away at the bark at the very top, next to what appeared to be its nest. This supposition was confirmed when a second bird arrived.

Moving on to the farm, there didn’t seem to be much activity. Even the horse had decided it was too cold to venture outside and gazed morosely back at me from the barn door, as though it was somehow my fault that the weather had taken a downturn.

I was so busy looking at the horse that I was almost taken by surprise by a ruthless gang of chickens. They are my worst nightmare! When I was much younger, I tried to conquer my fear of birds by going into a hen house to collect some eggs.  The results were disastrous, for me and the eggs as I ran screaming back to the farmhouse.

I backed away as the last, a beady-eyed thug, made straight towards me and, with a final click of the camera, I beat a hasty retreat down the path, passing a robin busy looking for its next meal.

The weather forecast doesn’t offer much improvement for the coming week, with rain and chilly temperatures being the recurring theme for our area so it may be a while before I venture into the Valley again.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Rise/Set

Sunrise and Sunset. To be quite honest I haven’t seen too many of either, especially the sunrise, or at least, not photogenic ones. And it seems like we’ve been given this topic as a challenge so many times that I’ve exhausted my supply of images on that subject. Luckily, the few that I have seen have been well documented and although I have used these scenes before, each of the following views is slightly different from the pictures I have shown previously.

Included in this selection; sunset from our garden – sunset in Oglesby, Illinois – sunrise on the road in Nebraska – sunset over a smoky Salt Lake City after the wildfires in California – sunrise in Lowell, Indiana – sunrise from Mackinaw City, Michigan – sunset from Mackinaw City, Michigan and sunrise (or sometime a little after) in Ashland, Wisconsin.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Rise/Set

Weekly Photo Challenge – Favorite Place

When Cheri Lucas Rowlands asked us for our interpretation of our favorite place for this week’s Photo Challenge, it will come as no surprise to some of you that I chose the Chicago Botanic Garden. On so many levels and for so many different reasons this is my go-to place, the place that never ceases to enchant me and to bring back so many happy memories. And where else would I go to see so much of my favorite color, purple!

No matter what time of year you visit the Garden there is always something beautiful to see. I have been here in all weathers and all conditions and there has never been a time when I’ve said I wished I’d stayed at home.

Every aspect of the place is pleasing.  Every path you take presents a different and spectacular view.  And the flowers are sensational!

Combine fantastic foliage and flowers with the appeal of various fountains, waterfalls and lakes and you have the perfect place to spend the day.

My mother adored the Garden and we spent many happy days here right up until a few weeks before she passed away. Our favorite spot in this our favorite place to visit was, perhaps not surprisingly, the English Garden, mainly because it reminded us of home and the other favorite places that we left behind so many years ago.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Favorite Place

Weekly Photo Challenge – I’d Rather Be……..

…….photographing flowers.  And that’s exactly what I was doing last week during a second visit to the Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden with a cousin who was visiting from England, despite the blizzard that was raging outside.   I know!  The first one isn’t an orchid, but it was just too beautiful to not capture an image.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to I’d Rather Be…