Another brilliant piece of timing by Amy in choosing Countryside for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week! Last weekend we rented a log cabin in the Wisconsin countryside (a first) so the whole family could get together. Daughters, spouses, grandkids and us, experiencing the joys of country living, at least for a couple of days. As someone once said, “It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Don’t get me wrong. We had a wonderful time but there are just some things that I cannot get used to.
The bugs! My God! The bugs!! If nothing else, the size and quantity of bugs in the countryside make this city girl want to stay close to the city. When we arrived at the cabin we were greeted by screams and shrieks coming from inside. “Aaaagh! Kill it! Kill it!” This coming from the kid who once travelled up the Amazon in Peru and trekked through the jungle in Thailand. Even she was having a hard time dealing with the bugs in Wisconsin.
I don’t know why it is, but I feel far less comfortable in the countryside than I do in the city. My imagination seems to get the better of me and my nightmares threaten to become a reality. Speaking of nightmares, I have this recurring one where I am walking in the country and suddenly come upon a wild animal, usually a lion. I don’t doubt there is a psychological explanation for it but it makes me very nervous when I’m hiking through the woods.
Everything seems to take on a sinister appearance in the countryside and my fear of birds takes on an added dimension.
Even the most innocuous country scene promises to hide some new danger. Was that a bear I saw lurking among the bushes?
We were obliged to take refuge in the cabin for several hours one afternoon when we heard the sound of someone taking target practice close by. Apparently I feel far less threatened by all the shooting that takes place in Chicago, even though, looking at it logically, the odds are probably in my favor here in the Wisconsin countryside. And I probably stand more chance of being mauled to death by a pit bull in Chicago than I do of being dispatched by a bear in Wisconsin. But there it is. Give me the city over the countryside every time, except for short visits.
This week, Patti has selected Nature as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Ever since I took up photography as a hobby many years ago, I have focused principally on nature, so when I saw the subject for this week I wasn’t really sure where to begin; literally thousands of pictures in the photo files relating to nature. I decided to whittle down the numbers by eliminating those animals or birds that we’ve come across in zoos and the like. We’ve already covered landscapes in a previous challenge so those were out. I could have featured some of the gorgeous blooms that we’ve seen in various gardens but instead I concentrated on wildflowers. Add to all that, I included some of the weird and wonderful things that I’ve found while out and about and there we have it. My take on nature.
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.
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.
The letters for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week are G or H and, keeping to my chosen theme of nature and more specifically animals, bugs and the like, I didn’t have too hard a time coming up with the goods.
The patterns on this giraffe make for great camouflage among the leaves at Brookfield Zoo.
Despite being stripped of his brilliant color by the b/w treatment of this image, a greedy goldfinch in our garden still makes a good subject for the letter G.
A giant grasshopper; at least it appears that way thanks to this close encounter at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
A hopeful hen looking for food and a handsome horse waiting to do a little light work at the Volkening Heritage Farm in Spring Valley Nature Center, Schaumburg.
A hungry hawk making short work of a hapless sparrow.
This picture of a huge hippo was taken back in the day when Brookfield Zoo still kept a number of large mammals. Somehow the whole zoo-going experience just hasn’t been the same without these giants.
Cee is certainly putting us through our paces as she has us crawling and flying for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge. For some, like this great blue heron taking off into the sunrise just outside Mackinac City, flying comes naturally…..
while most of us need a little help, like this plane coming in for a landing at O’Hare Airport in Chicago………
And others just launch themselves down a hill and hope for the best, like this ski jumper in Fox River Grove.
Crawling takes a bit of practice, as our granddaughter demonstrates. How quickly they grow up! Now she’s swimming, bike riding and doing gymnastics.
And here’s something we found crawling up the wall at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center in Ashland, Wisconsin.