Tag Archive | Morton Arboretum

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.

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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?

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..


 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Twisted in the Wood

There is something incredibly beautiful and dramatic about trees unadorned by their leaves, especially when they are gnarled and twisted with age.  Twisted in Arches National Park, Utah.

Twisted driftwood on the sands at Whitefish Point in Michigan.

Twisted in springtime at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois.


Twisted in autumn at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.  The clouds seem to mirror the contortions of the branches.


For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Twisted

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Leaves or Trees

This week, Cee is looking for leaves or trees for her Fun Foto Challenge so here is my take on the subject.  Like many people, my favorite time of year for viewing trees is in the Autumn when the colors are at their brightest.  Although the Chicago Botanic Garden is not chiefly known for its variety of trees, there is still plenty of fall color to be seen.

One of my favorite times to visit Morton Arboretum in Lisle is in the Spring when the blossom is on the trees.

Another good place to see Autumn color is at local Forest Preserves such as Busse Woods in Schaumburg.

Looking at trees from a slightly different angle at River Trails Nature Center in Northbrook.

Trees are remarkably resilient, finding a foothold even in the most inhospitable of places such as this rock in The Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois.

Even in death, trees hold a certain fascination for me, telling their history through rings and roots.

For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Leaves or Trees

Art and Autumn at the Arboretum

Just in time, we were able to catch the last few days of this year’s sculpture exhibition, Origami in the Garden, at the Morton Arboretum last month. These beautiful metal sculptures, created by Kevin and Jennifer Box, are modelled after the art of Origami or paper folding and the Arboretum was the perfect backdrop for this amazing artwork.

 

Not only did we get to enjoy the art but also some nice autumn scenery, even if the colors weren’t as vibrant this year.

In order to replicate the Origami creations, each sculpture goes through a 35-step, 12-week process of casting in bronze, aluminum or steel.

The turtles are real, but the raptor is another of Kevin Box’s clever creations.

This piece, entitled Double Happiness, shows a pair of nesting cranes which often appear in art as the symbol of companionship and happiness in marriage.

These intricately designed birds appear to be flying away from Meadow Lake.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Trees

The subject for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge requires two E’s in the title this week, so trees seemed like a good fit. These images were captured at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Morton Arboretum in Spring and Autumn (my favorite time of year.)

“He who plants a tree

Plants a joy;

Plants a comfort that will never cloy;

Every day a fresh reality,

Beautiful and strong,

To whose shelter throng

Creatures blithe with song.

If thou couldst but know, thou happy tree,

Of the bliss that shall inhabit thee.”

Lucy Larcom.

For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter E – Needs to have two E’s in the topic word