Tag Archive | Morton Arboretum

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

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Spring/Wood

After the recent spate of b/w photography it’s nice to get back to some colorful images with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge which this week focuses on spring/wood.  The photo files are bursting at the seams with spring pics but I thought I would keep to three different venues that have provided some great opportunities for photographing this seasonal subject.

 

What better place to start our spring tour than in the woods at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. These pictures were taken last year but it won’t be long before the daffodils are blooming among the trees once again.

Our next stop is at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois.  A wonderful place to visit at any time of year, the Garden looks especially pretty in its spring colors.

On a more rustic note, our last port of call is at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/03/28/cees-fun-foto-challenge-spring-wood/

Morton Fall

You have to drive quite a distance from where we live before you can consider yourself ‘out in the country’ but visiting the Morton Arboretum in Lisle is a great way to get that country feeling especially in the fall when even a trip all the way up north doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll get those colorful autumn pictures.

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One of my favorite spots is Lake Marmo, named after Margaret Morton.  The lake is on the west side of the arboretum. Drive down the hill from Daffodil Glade and leave your car in one of the parking areas then take a walk around the lake. You’re sure to see something of interest such as waterfowl or frogs.

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There are walking trails all over the arboretum but if you don’t feel that energetic you can just pull in to one of the parking areas and still get some nice shots.

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I do enjoy walking, however, and like to get off the beaten track once in a while. Didn’t see too much in the way of wildlife this time. No coyotes, but I did spot a garter snake slithering away as I made my way across the grass.

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Back on the east side of the arboretum, near the visitor center, is another lake, Meadow Lake, surrounded by colorful grasses, which makes a very pleasant walk especially when the weather is mild and sunny as it was when I was there last week.

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Nature

It’s all about nature this week for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge and I am definitely ready for this one.  When I first became interested in photography I spent most of my time taking pictures of wildlife and flowers and although I’ve broadened my horizons since then, I’m still looking out for those nature shots.

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Pelicans on the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa.

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A friendly frog in the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in Iowa.

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A lounging bison on Antelope Island on The Great Salt Lake, Utah.

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A remnant of Autumn at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/20/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-its-all-about-nature/

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Vibrant Colors

Cee’s choice for her Fun Foto Challenge this week are Vibrant Colors, an easy thing to find in the photo files as they always stand out from the rest.

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On the Scarecrow Trail at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, these colorful creations made by various scout troops are a regular feature in the fall.

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These eye-catching decorations were on display at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington.

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The vibrant colors of this costume worn by a participant at the 63rd Annual Powwow in Busse Woods really made a splash!

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Gorgeous blooms at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin.  For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/18/cees-fun-foto-challenge-vibrant-colors-2/