This week, Ann-Christine invites us to share some Winter images for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I have to admit that I am a creature of comfort and rarely stray too far from home during the winter months. The older I get, the less appealing the idea of getting togged up in boots, scarf, mittens and heavy winter coat becomes. These shots, three at the Chicago Botanic Garden and one at the Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg are a few in my very sparse collection of typical winter photos.
This week, Tina is celebrating Spring for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. One of my favorite local places to visit is the Spring Valley Nature Center and Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg. Sadly it wasn’t open this Spring for obvious reasons and and will remain closed at least through August. That being the case, here is a nostalgic look back at Spring in Spring Valley.
This week, Tina is taking us down the Long and Winding Road for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. We’ve traveled down quite a few of those, over the years. The first shot was taken in Wyoming when we stopped at a rest area on our way to Utah.
Once we got to Utah, there were plenty of winding roads that were so dwarfed by the surrounding landscape that sometimes it wasn’t even possible to tell that it was a road until a tiny dot that may have been a truck or a car came into view.
Of course, distance is relative. After a day of walking around with the camera, looking for things to photograph, especially in hot weather, even a trail at the local nature center can seem like the long and winding road. Now I can’t get that song by the Beatles out of my head! Thanks, Tina!!
This week, Cee is looking for fences and gates for her Black & White Photo Challenge. I captured these images at the Volkening Heritage Farm, Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg last year. I haven’t had an opportunity to visit so far in 2020 and for now the facility is closed because of the virus. I will be sorry to miss seeing all the wonderful sights that nature has to offer there this spring but hope to return in the summer.
Another entry for Becky’s Square Light Photo Challenge. This time it’s featherlight. Images captured at River Trails Nature Center, The Morton Arboretum, Spring Valley Nature Center and The Chicago Botanic Garden.
This week, Tina has chosen Cold as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. There was a time, not so long ago, when I would have thought nothing of standing around in the cold capturing images at the nature center. These days it’s almost impossible to convince myself that it’s worth the effort to put on fifty layers of clothing and risk slipping on the ice just for a few pictures, which is why I had to go some way back in the photo files to find these, taken at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.
Last week I decided to take advantage of some slightly cooler weather to take a summer walk at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. Ever since they built the beautiful new children’s play area here the place is always busy and it’s good to see that parents are also walking further afield in order to introduce their families to the fascinating world of nature. And Spring Valley is just the place to do it.
As well as seeing all the flowers that are still blooming among the grasses on the prairie, I was interested to see this growth spiraling around the stems of some of the larger plants. I have no idea what it is even though I tried Googling it later with no success. If anyone has any suggestions I’d be glad to hear from you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before.
Meanwhile, over at the pond, waterlily pads cover the surface of the water and the frogs take advantage of these comfy seats while a family of ducks look on from a slightly less comfy place on the shore.
Also at the water’s edge are signs that a beaver has been at work, and when I say signs I mean literally as there is a notice nearby pointing out that beaver have been spotted at the lake.
I sit for a while along the woodland trail and watch chipmunks scurrying about finding food, and then, walking back down the path towards the parking lot, I see reminders that it won’t be too long before autumn is upon us once more.
I guess by now it has become pretty evident that I like to try and keep upbeat with the pictures that I post; sunshine and flowers and all that kind of thing. But today while I was walking along the path at Spring Valley I heard the church bell, not chiming the hour as I first thought, but keeping up a somber toll as if for a death and that gave me the idea for this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge. Thanks to Tina at ‘Travels and Trifles’ I’m looking for Something Different A somber view of nature (with the help of a little photo manipulation.)
A view of our local park after a heavy rainfall taken with my phone camera. The day was sunny but with a little assistance from Snapseed the results looked quite different from the original.
The remains of an old tree at Spring Valley looked quite cheerful in the original picture but after I superimposed a shot of the smoke and flames taken at last week’s burn, it took on a whole different look.
From fire to ice. With a bit more photo manipulation, a koi fish trapped in a frozen pond.
And autumn leaves on a rotting log seem a little more forbidding with the color drained from them with a bit of photo processsing.
The frog is, as it was…..dead. Just below the surface of a watery grave. Perhaps the victim of a cruel winter, pollution or maybe just old age. The more somber side of nature and just a little different from the images I usually like to capture.
One of the last things I did in March was to visit Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. I stopped on the way to visit the elk in Elk Grove Village and while I was there, almost stumbled over a nest of garter snakes.
When I arrived at Spring Valley the sun was shining although it was rather chilly, and one of the first things I noticed was that it looked as though they had been burning off some of the old growth in the field.
The smell of burning was quite strong so I figured it must have happened recently and I wondered what the chances of spotting any wildlife in the area would be. No worries! I got a nice close-up view of a water rat over by the pond.
And a little bit further along the bank I spotted this creature (not sure exactly what it was, and would welcome any suggestions.) It was very skittish and didn’t keep still for long so I was only able to get a quick shot.
Meanwhile, over at the farm, the horses and cows were enjoying the sunshine.
I was right about the controlled burning. As I was returning to the parking lot I spotted smoke rising from the far side of the trail and, hurrying in that direction, I managed to capture the last of the day’s work.
It’s rather scary to see how rapidly the fire spreads but with the experts on hand to keep things under control I felt quite safe and the fire quickly went from a raging inferno to a few wisps of smoke and some dying flames.
So with that, I said goodbye to March and today it’s Hello April. With not much sun and chilly temperatures in the forecast for the coming week I don’t anticipate doing much in the way of photography for the next few days. But there are signs of hope in the garden. Just a few colorful crocus shivering in a cold wind. Come on April! Let’s see what you can do!
Thanks for choosing this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Amy!
This will probably be my last hurrah for the Spiky Squares Photo Challenge unless something unexpected presents itself before the end of the month. This has been a fun challenge and has certainly prompted me to look at things from a whole different perspective. Thanks Becky!
Some spikey squares from Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. Hopefully I’ll be seeing more of the outdoors in the weeks to come, now that Spring is finally here.