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One Word Photo Challenge – Elephant

We’re out looking for elephants for the One Word Photo Challenge set for us by Jennifer Nichole Wells. They’re not easy to find these days, at least not in our neck of the woods. I can’t remember the last time I saw a real live elephant. There hasn’t been one at Brookfield Zoo in who knows how long, although when I spoke to someone who works there, last year, she did say that they were hoping eventually to bring them back to the zoo if and when funds permit.

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One of the last elephants to reside at Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.  I can still remember going for elephant rides at the London Zoo when I was a kid and watching the elephants at the circus, neither of which you can do now, which in some respects, especially from the viewpoint of the elephants, is a good thing. I don’t think I’ll ever be lucky enough to see elephants in their natural surroundings.

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Instead, I must look elsewhere for suitable images, such as these beautifully carved elephant heads at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, Illinois.

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And this statue of an elephant in Irwin Gardens, Columbus, Indiana.

For more on Jennifer’s One Word Photo Challenge go to https://jennifernicholewells.com/2017/02/14/one-word-photo-challenge-elephant/

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Flights of Fancy

This week, Cee invites us to post images of sculptures, statues or carvings for her Black & White Photo Challenge.  I have quite a large number of statues etc. in the photo files but after my recent post about the hawk I thought I would share some rather more light-hearted pictures of birds.

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When, even as a young child, a feather on a pillow would give me screaming fits, I find I can tolerate being close to these kinds of birds; sculptures. This piece, entitled Stork-like Bird, made of wood, steel and copper, was sculpted by Thomas Hill.

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This display of avian art was captured indoors and outside in the gardens at the Lee Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, last year.

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The Dance, sculpted by Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, uses saplings and plastic bags to recreate two giant sandhill cranes, a real flight of fancy, while the diminutive Common Redpoll, carved by Josh Guge, is life-like in every detail.

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For more on Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/01/12/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-sculptures-statues-carvings-2/

Nature of the Dance – Men’s Fancy and Northern Traditional

I would like to share a few more images taken at the American Indian Center’s 63rd Annual Chicago Powwow.  The costumes and dances were of particular interest to me and luckily the weather was perfect for bringing out all the colors on display.

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One of the categories in competition dancing is Fancy.  The dance originated in Oklahoma and requires considerable agility and endurance. The costumes certainly live up to the name, being extremely elaborate with feathers, ribbons, bells and all kinds of brightly-colored accoutrements. It is said that the dance may represent warriors preparing for battle.

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Although not quite so flamboyant, the costumes worn for the Men’s Northern Traditional dance are still considerably ornamented and are most impressive. The costume may include an Eagle feather bustle, bone bead breastplate, leggings, beaded moccasins and ankle bells. The dancer sometimes carries an Eagle feather fan, pipe bag or dance stick and paints his face to represent a traditional family or national emblem.

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There are several different interpretations of the dance which is thought to either represent a warrior recounting his feats in battle or searching for his enemy while other stories mention a hunting or gathering role. Some of these dancers look quite fearsome so I’m guessing it has more to do with the fighting aspect.

 

 

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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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/

 

 

North Carolina Arboretum

As a prelude to our planned visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville last week, we decided to make a side-trip to nearby North Carolina Arboretum.

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Set in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the facility, which is part of the University of North Carolina, was officially designated as an arboretum in 1989, although the idea for an arboretum near Biltmore was originally conceived by famous landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted in 1898.

The arboretum also includes a beautiful botanic garden and since we only had a limited amount of time to look around, we concentrated our efforts on this area.

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To view the Quilt Garden to its best advantage you have to stand on the stone overlook. From there you can easily see the patterns laid out in the flower beds, butterflies being the motif at the time of our visit.

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On the far side of the garden is Blue Ridge Court which features a pool and a splendid statue of Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape architecture, sculpted by artist Zenos Frudakis, which was unveiled just two months before our visit.

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The Baker Exhibit Center includes a greenhouse and indoor display area. Outside, in the gardens, bees and butterflies are definitely encouraged to stop by.

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There was a certain amount of restructuring going on in the garden area and parts of it were inaccessible to visitors but there was still quite a lot to see.

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I may have been tempted to wander further afield, down one of the many trails in the arboretum, but after I spotted this sign I figured enough was enough!

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The Ribbit Exhibit.

Every year in early spring I love to visit Morton Arboretum to see the gorgeous naturalized daffodils in bloom. This year, as an added bonus, there was an intriguing display of sculptures called The Ribbit Exhibit and since it featured one of my all-time favorite creatures, the frog, I couldn’t resist trying out my new camera and capturing a few images for the picture files.

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These whimsical statues are the work of artist J.A. Cobb and are made from sheets of copper. There are 23 of these delightful characters scattered about the gardens surrounding the visitor center and Meadow Lake.

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This adorable young lady is Sasha. Cobb draws each frog piece on a sheet of copper, then hammers and folds the sheets into shape. Sasha looks as though she’s patiently waiting for her dancing lesson to begin.

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Bentley and Tortuga the turtle in the Children’s Garden. A chemical patina gives the frogs that nice green color.

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Skully looks right at home in Meadow Lake.  There were  plenty of real frogs too, down by the water’s edge. Even the turtles were climbing over each other to check out the Ribbit Exhibit.

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It seems as though once you make eye contact with frogs they stay absolutely still.  I was sitting only a foot or so away from these guys.

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Emerson the caffeinated croaker taking a coffee break and soaking up the sun outside the visitor center. The Ribbit Exhibit is on display through September 25th so hop on over to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, and take a look.