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CFFC – Patterns at The Lizzadro

Cee has chosen Patterns as the topic for her Fun Foto Challenge this week so here are some interesting patterns that I found on a selection of rocks, gemstones and fossilized wood at The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Elmhurst, Illinois.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Blue & Yellow

This week, Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is all about colors and more specifically, Blue & Yellow. Going through the photo files, the blues & yellows really stood out, making it easy to find these images taken at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Morton Arboretum, Wausau, Green Bay Botanical Garden, Como Park Zoo and my own garden.

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For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, go to Blue and Yellow.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Flowing Water

This week, Cee is looking for flowing water for her Black & White Photo Challenge.  A couple of months ago we took a trip to Minnesota to visit, among other places, Minnehaha Falls. It was a very dull, wet day when we were there so we probably didn’t see them at their best. I think, in this instance, the black/white treatment does them and the resulting flow of water more justice than the original color shots.

Closer to home, here are a couple of images from my visit to the Air & Water Show in downtown Chicago. Walking back from the lakefront, I took in Buckingham Fountain and a slightly less well-known fountain outside the Chicago Art Institute.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Flowing Water.

 

 

In Search of Trolls

It was a gloriously warm, sunny day at the end of summer when we went in search of Trolls at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. These trolls weren’t the nasty kind that invade the internet but the ones that hide in the woods. As you will see, we found six of them and saw some other interesting sights along the way.


It would appear that these trolls are not exactly friendly creatures as we soon realized when we came across this car crushed beneath a huge boulder. The perpetrator, a character named Rocky Bardur, was standing just a few yards away.


We came across a whole host of monarch butterflies among the flowers outside the visitor center after which we managed to creep up on troll number two, Sneaky Socks Alexa, who was waiting to spring a deadly trap.


Further along the path, a heron seemed to be pointing the way to Joe the Guardian who was standing on a hill overlooking the expressway.



I must say that going on this Troll Hunt encouraged us to take paths that we have never trodden before, giving us the opportunity to see familiar scenes from a different perspective.


I’m not sure if troll number four found us or we found her. Furry Ema certainly looked like she was up to no good.



Walking across Daffodil Glade, we saw a tree that looked as though a troll had breathed on it. And it wasn’t too long before we came across number five, Niels Bragger, lurking in the woods.

Little Arturs was easy to spot. He was taking a break in Bobolink Meadow. These 15 to 60 foot giants were created from recycled wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, and he has done a fantastic job!  The Arboretum hopes to keep them on display through to 2019 depending on how they weather. It will be interesting to see how they stand up to a Chicago-style winter..


 

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

During our recent trip to Minnesota we were pleasantly surprised when we made a last-minute decision to visit Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in Saint Paul.  The conservatory was our main focus but when we realized that the zoo was right next door, we thought, “why not.” The fact that there was no admission fee for either place made a visit there even more enticing.


Besides the splendid plant collections inside the conservatory, there was a beautiful Japanese Garden and a spectacular show of water lilies outside the Visitor Center.

Although the zoo may not be as large as some, it had an amazing collection of animals in natural enclosures that allowed for some nice close-up photography opportunities.



 

 

 

Both the zoo and conservatory are operated by the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department and are open year-round.

I can highly recommend a visit to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. It’s a great place for family fun as it also includes a small amusement park and carousel.



Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Weird and Wonderful Water Lilies

The subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, set for us this week by Tina Schell, is Colorful and, following her example of introducing a little “fun and frivolity” into the mix, I decided to experiment with some pictures that I took recently at the Como Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota.



One of the reasons I started playing around with these images was the fact that, after looking at the many pictures of water lilies that I’ve amassed in the photo files over the years, they’ve all started to look very much the same.


For those of you who approve, I’ll try this ‘digital messing about’ again sometime with another subject. For those of you who don’t, I promise to try and restrain myself from getting too carried away with the experiment in the future.



For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to #8: COLORFUL