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APAW – Things With Wings

Nancy’s choice of subject for this week’s Photo A Week Challenge is Things With Wings so to kick things off, I brought back my feathered friend from the Chicago River for another appearance. I took so many shots with different poses and angles that I don’t think I’ve ever had to use the same picture twice.

Some beautiful wings at the Chicago Botanic Garden butterfly exhibit. A must-see at the Garden every summer.

Taking a stroll around our own back garden earlier this year, it was good to see plenty of bees buzzing around, and as usual there were grasshoppers galore.

For more on Nancy Merrill’s Photo A Week Challenge go to Things with Wings.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Making a Splash

This week, Patti has chosen water as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, but more specifically, as she implies in the title, she is looking for us to make a bit of a splash, maybe like these sparrows taking a bath in the fountain at the Chicago Botanic Garden or koi fish threshing about in a feeding frenzy at the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford.


For the Polar bear it was not so much about making a splash as blowing bubbles, but you can always be sure of seeing lots of splashing at the Dolphin Show at Brookfield Zoo.

For larger birds, it isn’t always easy to perform a graceful takeoff or landing on water but they do their best. A cormorant takes of from the pond at Clearwater Park in Mount Prospect and a pelican settles down after making a splashdown on the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.

For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to #21 Splash!

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.

 

 

Pull Up A Seat – In The Garden

Winter is hardly upon us and already I’m looking forward to next spring. It’s too cold to sit anywhere but indoors at the Chicago Botanic Garden right now, but I can imagine how pleasant it will be when I can once again enjoy the warmth of the sun and feel the gentle breezes as I sit back and relax in some of my favorite spots in the Garden.





For more on the Pull Up A Seat Photo Challenge hosted by XingfuMama go to Photo Challenge of places we sit…or might sit…or art about sitting.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Magical Light

This week, Amy has chosen magical light as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. From sunrise to sunset and any time in-between there are opportunities for capturing a magical moment when the light seems just right.  I’m not usually out and about that early in the morning but on one or two occasions I’ve managed to get some fairly decent shots as the sun came up such as when we were on the road in Nebraska or spending a few days in Mackinaw City.

Even when the weather conditions are less than perfect, there is still a chance that the light will provide some interesting pictures. The first image was taken at the Chicago Botanic Garden and the second in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

I always enjoy seeing the effect of light shining through the trees or through an overhead canopy of autumn leaves, as seen here at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle and River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook, Illinois.

I rely heavily on luck more than judgement when taking pictures and it isn’t always easy to come up with suitable shots for these challenges which is why I had to reach way back in the archives for this shot taken at Navy Pier in Chicago.  The sunset image was taken from the shores of Lake Michigan in Mackinaw City


I rarely take night shots but on this occasion the moonlight tempted me outside to capture this image.  For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to #19: Magical Light.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Blending

This week, Ann-Christine asks if it’s better to blend in or stand out in a crowd. Frog and Toad evidently feel it’s a good idea to blend in with their surroundings. They know their lives may depend on it, the frog in a pond at Spring Valley Nature Center and the toad crouching on a dry river bed in Lafayette, Indiana.


The monarch butterfly, however, enjoys flaunting its gaudy patterns in the open and doesn’t seem too concerned about standing out in a crowd. These two, in downtown Chicago and at the Morton Arboretum couldn’t resist showing off their true colors.



So is it better to blend in or stand out? The next picture was taken in our garden and shows another creature who likes to remain inconspicuous among the leaves, a praying mantis, and its hapless victim, a monarch butterfly. So I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to Blending In – or Standing Out?

A Photo A Week – Reflections at Cantigny

The subject for Nancy Merrill’s Photo A Week Challenge is Reflection and I seem to have captured one or two at Cantigny Park in Wheaton without even realizing it. Quite often, I’m not fully aware of everything that’s in the picture when I take the shot so sometimes it’s nice when something unexpected shows up, especially when I can use it for a photo challenge.


For more on Nancy’s Photo A Week Challenge go to Reflection.