I have quite a lot of catching up to do as we’ve been out of town for the past week but luckily I have a whole new batch of images in the photo files to work with, so here goes! Ann-Christine was looking at Artificial Light when she hosted the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge recently. For me, one of the most challenging situations in relation to photography is taking pictures in artificial light. Add to that the difficulties of capturing images of continually moving subjects in water and behind glass and that is definitely one big challenge. The first day of our trip to Duluth in Minnesota was a rainy one, so we spent the afternoon at the Great Lakes Aquarium.
This week, Patti is asking us to Go Wide for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. So often we focus on a single item and fail to take a step back to look at the bigger picture. When we visited the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford recently, I felt as though there were some shots that just couldn’t hold everything that I wanted to include. I don’t own a wide angle lens for the Canon EOS so I tried using the camera on my Galaxy phone and the results were quite pleasing.
Sinnissippi Gardens in Rockford lies on the banks of the Rock River. Usually when I take a picture of a river, I like to do so at an angle, so the phone camera came in useful for this shot too, as well as some wider-angle pictures of the gardens and lagoon.
This week, our guest host, Sofia, asks us to Look Up and Down for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. We did quite a bit of looking up when we visited the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, the other day. There was some artwork that required us to look up and we also had to look up to see the waterfall gushing underneath the bridge. As we were leaving the Gardens we looked up to see someone trimming one of the very tall trees.
From the Japanese Gardens we went down the road to Sinnissippi Gardens where we looked down at plants growing in the conservatory and fish swimming in a pool, while outside we looked down at a pair of swans who in turn appeared to be looking down at some ducks.
Last week, I posted my entry for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge on another blog site, one that I rarely use, so you may want to follow this link and hop on over there to see my thoughts and pictures on the theme of Walking.
This week, Patti looks for our take on Inspiration for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I recently spent some time with the lions at Brookfield Zoo and looking through the resulting images, I was inspired to write this little poem.
With thoughtful gaze and stealthy stride,
Behold the monarch of his pride,
Awaits the dawn with stoic grace
And measures out the time and place,
A kingdom of a lesser space.
What long forgotten freedom lies
Within the memory of these eyes?
To rule again, his roar imparts,
The plains of home from which life starts.
Your realm lies here, within our hearts.
Following the sad and untimely death of their two lions, Isis and Zenda, in 2020, Brookfield Zoo acquired two 4 year-old male African lions, brothers named Titus and Brutus, from Utah’s Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. It certainly is interesting to see how they are adjusting to their new home.
Brookfield Zoo is a participating institution in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ African Lion Species Survival Plan. African lions are listed as ‘vulnerable’ according to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, due to hunting and loss of habitat.
This week, our guest host, Ana, is looking for Postcards for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. In this age of texting, emails and social media, I’m guessing that postcards are rarely used now, which is kind of sad. I remember as a child, sneaking a peak at the naughty postcards for sale on the pier or promenade at the various seaside resorts that we stayed at, usually depicting a very large lady with a little, hen-pecked husband and featuring some rather saucy innuendoes.
Later, before I got into photography, I would buy postcards that showed the places I’d visited, more for my own use as mementoes, not bothering to send them to anyone as I usually got home before the postcards arrived, thanks to the third-class postal delivery. Also, what could you really write about on such a small space except, “Lovely weather! Wish you were here.”
The postcard that had the biggest impact on my life came addressed to my husband from his girlfriend which was one of the reasons he became my ex-husband; the moral of this story being, ‘Never commit to a postcard what you wouldn’t want everyone, including the postman, to see.’
Here are a few postcards from my recent visit to Cantigny Park in Wheaton. “Lovely weather! Wish you were here.”
Another timely choice of theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge from our guest hosts this week, Rusha and Bert, who would like to see our take on Getting Away. We haven’t been far afield for some time but we did manage to get away on a trip to Wisconsin this past weekend. It’s amazing how many activities you can pack into a single day when the moving force is a three-year old.
Our youngest granddaughter started the proceedings with a demonstration of her ballet skills. I think she has quite an interesting technique.
Next she showed us how to have fun at the beach. Her choice of venue on this occasion was Bradford Beach, just north of Milwaukee, and I was able to get one or two interesting shots while we looked for shells and feathers, including one of the historic water tower nearby and an impromptu exercise class that had been conveniently set up next to the bar. I had to admire their enthusiasm and I joined them in spirit if not in body.
Our final stop of the day was at the Milwaukee Zoo, where we got some useful tips on feeding the goats. In between trying to stop our tour guide from climbing into all the animal enclosures I did manage to snag some shots of a Cinereous Vulture, one of three, who demonstrated clearly why it was unable to make it in the wild.
Also in the same enclosure were a couple of Southern Ground Hornbills. I’m not sure if this was part of a courting ritual but one of them seemed intent on impressing its partner with a dead rodent. She clearly wasn’t interested so he hopped nearer to the fence to show us. I could imagine him thinking, “What’s not to like?! as he waved his trophy around, looking for some sign of appreciation..
A little further on we came across two grizzlies, one of which appeared to be playing a game of hide and seek.
The last shot of the day was of a peacock chick. I’d never seen one before so I was quite pleased to be able to capture this image.
After all that, our tour guide was showing signs of fatigue and it wasn’t too long before she was fast asleep in the back of the car as we made our way home. I was feeling quite exhausted too and although it was great to get away and see the family, I have to take issue with that old saying about a change being as good as a rest.
This week, John, our guest host, is asking us to go On The Water for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I can’t swim so I never feel very comfortable in or on the water. However, I do occasionally venture out, usually on a pontoon boat, which is how I captured the first two images, one with the Yacht Club in Des Plaines and the other on an excursion around one of Wisconsin’s many lakes.
Needless to say, the next few subjects are totally at home in the water. Images captured at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford and Crabtree Nature Center in South Barrington.
This week, Tina would like to see One Photo Two Ways. Very often, after I’ve been on a photo shoot, I look to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge for a way to share the resulting images. This may not be exactly what Tina was asking for, but it’s my take on looking at a scene in two different ways. These images were captured on a recent visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden. I’ve taken so many pictures there over the years, that I’m always hoping to find a new way to look at the many familiar views.
In the Heritage garden, some flowers really stand out on their own, but they are only part of an overall display that also stands out in the Garden.
The Circle Garden is one of my favorite spots to sit and enjoy a break so the second shot was taken from a nearby bench.
The English Walled Garden is another favorite place at the Botanic Garden for photographers and artists alike. You can just see an artist painting a picture in the first shot. I got a little closer with the second image to try and get a glimpse of her work.
In the next image, it would appear that this busy volunteer was toiling away in the garden on her own, when in actual fact there were two others working with her. Usually I do my best to leave people out of the picture but on this occasion they just seem to fit in so well.
The Rose Garden has an abundance of beautiful blooms but it’s difficult to capture everything in one shot so I usually take individual pictures of the roses and put them into a collage.
On Evening Island, the bells ring out the hours so that you can hear them from quite a distance. The Carillon is only a small part of the overall landscape but the bells really make themselves known.
Two more views from the English Walled garden.
This week, Amy is thinking about the song “What A Wonderful World” and has carried it through as the theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I agree! It is a wonderful world and nowhere do I feel that more than when I’m outside among the flowers and wildlife in the garden. Everything has been blooming beautifully so far this year and it certainly is gratifying to see some positive results after all the hard work. The peonies have come and gone but they were spectacular while they lasted.
Also gone, for now, are the irises. They really put on a splendid show this year. So many different colors, it was hard to choose a favorite. It looks like I’ll be able to put quite a few out for anyone to help themselves, when I divide them later this year, as I do with the daylilies and other perennials. What I don’t appreciate is people coming into my garden uninvited and pulling up armfuls of plants as I saw one woman doing while I was walking home one day with my youngest granddaughter asleep in her stroller. I was too far away to remonstrate otherwise I would have given this audacious plant pincher an earful. Of all the nerve!!
Caught in the act! A baby bunny eating the nigella plants. No worries! There’s plenty to go around. Nigella reseeds (isn’t nature wonderful?) and comes up again without any help from me, although I do collect some of the seeds to scatter in other parts of the garden. It’s a pretty little flower and even the seed pods are quite decorative.
The possum re-appeared, and a tree in a neighbor’s backyard across the street disappeared. We have lost so many of the large trees in our area over the past several years due to diseases of one kind or another. The Village has replaced many of them on the parkway but it will be a while before they are large enough to provide much shade or attract any of the larger birds like the hawk or the flicker. It’s wonderful how they seem to return to the same places to nest and raise their young and I’m sure there will be a few of our feathered friends that will miss this one-time home.
Poppies added a blaze of color to the garden and the white ones brightened up any shady areas. This is probably when the garden is at its most colorful, with poppies, irises and peonies all blooming at the same time, and we very often see people stopping by to take pictures which is fine by me. I’m out there with the camera myself most days.
The birds have been busy in the garden too. the goldfinches making good use of some nesting material provided while a hawk stops by in search of a quick snack.
After some much-needed rain last night, the garden is refreshed and ready to produce the next lot of blooms which will include daylilies, oriental lilies, coneflowers and phlox among others. We live on a corner lot so every part of the garden is visible from the sidewalk and it’s nice to take a break once in a while and chat to passing pedestrians. I also love it when the little group from the local daycare walk by and wave, with the occasional tiny voice piping up “Hello!” as they go past. They are our future and I hope they will grow up to appreciate nature and perhaps share the interest in gardening that I have enjoyed for so many years. It truly is a Wonderful World.
This week, Tina is thinking of cool colors like blue and green for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. The majority of birds that visit our garden are sparrows so, when this little guy showed up the other day, it was quite an event. What was even more surprising was the fact that he stuck around long enough for me to run and get the camera. I’m no expert so I had to resort to my Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds. The closest I could come to it was an indigo bunting but, if anyone knows differently, I’ll be happy to hear from you. This is the first time in 30 years that we’ve seen one of these in the garden so I’m guessing he was blown rather off course.
I’ve been working hard in the garden for the past few weeks, restoring the area that was damaged when a main sewer line had to be replaced at the end of last year. It’s going to take a while for everything to grow and fill out, but in the meantime I was happy to see that the irises are looking absolutely fantastic. These are just the ones that appear in different shades of blue.
The false indigo is just starting to bloom too and will hopefully attract the bees. I’ve also taken delivery of some Blue Brazilian Sage plants that, when the blue flowers eventually emerge, should prove to be absolute hummingbird magnets. We’ll see!