Tag Archive | Lens-Artists

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Messages

The theme for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, suggested by Donna from Wind Kisses, is Messages. If you take a hike around the Giant City nature trail, you may see some messages carved into the huge sandstone bluffs that tower over the pathways in this State Park near Carbondale, Illinois.

Many of these messages, worn with time, are not easy to find, but others, more deeply etched, are still easy to read, some dating back to the time of the Civil War.

There is evidence of human habitation in this area from as early as 10,000 years ago, but European settlers didn’t move into this region until the early 1800’s.

The cliffs and canyons were used as safe havens for both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War and one can imagine weary soldiers carving their names for posterity on these massive stones before going into battle.

The State of Illinois acquired more than 1,100 acres of land in Union and Jackson counties in 1927 and dedicated the area as Giant City State Park.

LAPC – Wildlife Close To Home

This week, Anne Sandler has chosen Wildlife Close To Home as the theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. You couldn’t get any closer to home than this lot! If I left the door open they’d be walking inside and making themselves right at home.

There has been a flurry of activity in the garden since I put up the new birdfeeders. The squirrels have been temporarily thwarted by the store-bought baffle but they still have access to one table and have also been enjoying the pumpkins left over from Halloween.

We’ve had quite a variety of birds attracted by some premium quality seed mix and suet blocks. I don’t know how long I can afford to go on feeding them this gourmet diet but until the cash flow drys up I continue to take advantage of this current feeding frenzy. Some of the birds are merely passing through on their way to warmer climes while others are with us all year round.

Not sure what this little guy is but if anyone can enlighten me, I’d welcome your comment. As for the rest, I do know enough to recognize robins, blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves, finches, woodpeckers, sparrows and juncos.

There’s safety in numbers but when the hawk flies through, you’d better make a quick getaway. This time it managed to snag a sparrow.

And let’s not forget all the other critters that show up from time to time, including rabbits, foxes, raccoons, possums and ground squirrels. There’s no shortage of wildlife on our own doorstep (literally in some instances.)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Memorable Events

This week, Ann-Christine has suggested Memorable Events as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. This is usually the time of year when I have a hard time coming up with fresh material so it’s nice to be able to go back into the photo files for this one, although I still prefer to share images that haven’t been used before. It’s always satisfying to know that a day’s shooting has been reasonably successful and last year I had some memorable moments at Brookfield Zoo when I was fairly confident that I’d come away with at least a few good shots.

During much of the pandemic, the gorilla enclosure had been closed so I cheated a bit with the first shot, capturing instead an image of the new statue that had just been installed near the entrance.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Double Dipping

This week, Tina has suggested that we try Double Dipping for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I take up where I left off last year, at the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford. I had intended to use these images for Jez’s Water, Water Everywhere challenge, so this seems like the perfect opportunity to double dip.

Like the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Anderson Garden is designed around its many water features which include everything from gushing waterfalls and large koi-filled ponds to meandering streams and secluded spots where the sound of water trickles from bamboo fountains.

There is plenty of wildlife to see, in, on and around the water. The koi are easily persuaded to rise to the surface with a handful of special food purchased at the Visitors Center.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Serene

This week, Patti is keeping things Serene for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. To my mind, there is nothing more serene and peaceful than a Japanese Garden. The following are some of the images that I captured on my most recent visit to the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford, one of the most tranquil and beautiful of its kind in the Illinois area.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – PowWow Portraits

This week, Tina has suggested that we Choose our own theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. In this, the season of goodwill, I thought this little story was rather apt.

I often wonder what my Great-Grandmother would have made of these portraits. She and my mother were very close, right up until her death just days before my mother got married in 1936. She shared many stories about her life and this is one that my mother passed on to me.

In 1873, when Alice was only 16 years old, she, her husband and two-month-old son boarded the Hibernian and set sail from England for a new life in Canada. From what I can make out from records that I obtained from Ancestry, they lived somewhere in the Cobourg area of Ontario.

I don’t know what conditions were like in Cobourg at that time but the family was probably only just making a living and, after three years, Alice was already expecting her second child. She recounted to my mother how one day a North American Indian came to their door with what she at first took to be a knife. I can only assume that she had good reason to be, as she recalled, terrified, but when she realized that it was only a spoon and that he had come in the hopes of obtaining some food, they readily shared their meal.

Being the family historian, that story has always intrigued me and for a long time I wanted to visit an American Indian Pow Wow just to get a sense of the traditions and customs. This year was our second opportunity to experience a Pow Wow and the gentleman in the last picture very kindly offered my daughter, granddaughter and myself shelter from the freezing rain under one of the organizers’ tents. We were very grateful and at that moment I felt like our family history had come full circle, with one good turn being repaid by another.

Wishing you all the blessings of the season.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Celebrating

This week, Amy asks us to show what it’s like to be Celebrating for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. The Native American Pow Wow is a sacred social gathering, a celebration of the American Indian culture. This year, the 68th Annual Chicago Pow Wow was held in October at Schiller Woods, and although the weather was chilly and wet on the day that I visited, the lively drumbeat and energetic dancing eventually saw the sun shine on this well-attended event.

Intertribal dancing, where everyone is invited to join in, is more of a social dance resembling a pleasant walk in the park with a friend. It is interesting to note that the Pow Wow this year was held on the same weekend that President Biden declared October 11th Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and it was nice to see a Maori dancer among those in the circle.

Competition dancing is a whole different thing and takes a good deal of energy and stamina, especially when you consider the weight of the regalia that some of the dancers wear. With intricate footwork, bells jingling and the fast beat of the drums, the dancing gets underway and it is quite an impressive sight.

The regalia must be appropriate to the dance and some of the designs are absolutely stunning! I can only image the hours that are spent on beadwork like this. The Pow Wow provides a unique opportunity to preserve the rich heritage of American Indian traditions and share those traditions with other cultures. The Pow Wow brings everyone together.

The fancy feather dances are my favorite, with competitors twirling and displaying those colorful plumes. So much of the Native American culture is bound up with nature. Even the rain that was falling at the beginning of the proceedings was considered a blessing, although I found it difficult to look at it in that light as I sat shivering on a wet hay bale. But thankfully things warmed up and dried out later in the day.

There is often a significant cash prize at stake for the winners of these dances so they are hotly contested. But no matter what the outcome, everyone has cause to celebrate a successful Pow Wow. After months of careful planning, drummers, singers and dancers at this 3-day event provide a stirring display.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Colors Of Autumn

This week, Amy is looking at the Colors of Autumn as our topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I wanted to share pictures that I had taken recently rather than delving back into the photo files to come up with images that have probably been used several times already, but it’s a little too early for fall color in our neck of the woods just yet. However, we were up in Minnesota on the second day of Autumn last week when we stopped off at the Silver Creek Cliff Overlook, part of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. There were traces of autumn hues in the trees and the many different colors of rocks on the cliff face combined with a blue sky mirrored in the waters of Lake Superior made a very colorful scene.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Artificial Light

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.