Tag Archive | trees

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The Icing On The Cake

This week, Ann-Christine has chosen Trees as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge and there is certainly no shortage of those in my photo files, so in order to select a few for this post I decided to look at the images and choose some of those where I thought the trees added the finishing touch, the icing on the cake, so to speak.  These were taken at Cantigny Park, Chicago Botanic Garden and the Morton Arboretum in Illinois and one in Utah.

 

 

 

 

Pull Up A Seat – At The Arboretum

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to Pull Up A Seat and sit down in any comfort outside, but the weather was just right the other day at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. There is no shortage of conveniently placed seating at the Arboretum. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to rest on the many trails, in the children’s play area, overlooking Lake Marmo or any one of the many other picturesque spots, you will be sure to find a sturdy bench, rocking chair or swinging seat.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – More or Less

Having recently visited the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, it was still very much on my mind when I saw Amy’s choice of subject for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.  You can never have too much of a good thing but sometimes less is as good, or even better. So here is my take on Less is More.

Spring at the Arboretum

Since there seemed to be quite a bit of rain in the forecast, I decided that Friday would probably be the best time to visit the Morton Arboretum in Lisle for my annual dose of daffodils and magnolias.  It was sunny with reasonably mild temperatures but I could see the wind was going to be a bit of a problem.  These conditions require some patience, waiting for things stop dancing about.

The place is packed!  Probably because The Trolls are still on display and there happens to be a plant sale going on, plus the appealing sight of daffodils and magnolias in bloom has brought people out by the hundreds. The car park is almost full when I get there and I end up pulling in next to this guy, with the hope that my car doesn’t suffer the same fate.

The magnolias are, as usual, spectacular! It’s too bad that their blossoms don’t last longer. Timing is everything when visiting for the specific purpose of seeing something at the peak of blooming and some of the pink flowers are past their best but others are just gorgeous!  I love magnolias and even bought our girls magnolia charms for their bracelets this Easter.

You never know what you’re going to come across when walking down a woodland trail at the Arboretum.  And it’s rather creepy, sitting among the trees, listening to them creak and groan in the wind. Looking down, I can see evidence of branches that have come crashing to the ground and hope that I’ve picked a safe spot to take a rest.  And while I’m gazing around I spot a bird that I don’t think I’ve seen before.  Other than the usual cast of characters, robins, sparrows, cardinals and a few others that I recognize, I have no idea what this one is, so any suggestions as to its identity are welcome.

Over at Lake Marmo everything is basking in the sunshine. A turtle paddles by, while a goose enjoys a snooze on the bank and a gigantic fish peers back at me from the gloomy depths below the bridge by Hemlock Hill.

The Troll that overlooks Daffodil Glade is in for a rude awakening. There are almost as many visitors as there are daffodils. Lots of kids rushing about, trampling the flowers underfoot. Well, you’re only young once, and I guess the temptation is probably just too great to resist.  How quickly things change! I’m glad I went to the Arboretum yesterday. It’s snowing today!

 

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

Is It Spring Yet?

I thought it was, a couple of weeks ago, when I was walking through Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. The snowdrops were in bloom, birds were singing and everything looked poised, ready to leap into action but apparently Mother Nature had other ideas as evidenced by a thin film of ice on the outer edges of the lake when I visited there yesterday.

I thought the patterns in the ice would make an interesting picture so I balanced precariously on the edge of the observation deck in a chilly wind to capture these images.

There were several school groups visiting the Center while I was there and while I’m absolutely delighted to see the younger generation getting healthy exercise in the fresh air and looking at something other than their tablets and smartphones, it doesn’t bode well for spotting any kind of wildlife that’s easily scared off by the sound of about 50 screaming kids.  However, it didn’t deter a flock of chickadees that were flitting back and forth among the trees down by the creek.

As many of you are aware, I have a  life-long fear of birds which is a bit of a handicap when I’m out on these nature rambles, but a long lens is an extremely useful tool which makes such pictures possible. It certainly came in handy when I got to the tall trees by the farm where a woodpecker was bashing away at the bark at the very top, next to what appeared to be its nest. This supposition was confirmed when a second bird arrived.

Moving on to the farm, there didn’t seem to be much activity. Even the horse had decided it was too cold to venture outside and gazed morosely back at me from the barn door, as though it was somehow my fault that the weather had taken a downturn.

I was so busy looking at the horse that I was almost taken by surprise by a ruthless gang of chickens. They are my worst nightmare! When I was much younger, I tried to conquer my fear of birds by going into a hen house to collect some eggs.  The results were disastrous, for me and the eggs as I ran screaming back to the farmhouse.

I backed away as the last, a beady-eyed thug, made straight towards me and, with a final click of the camera, I beat a hasty retreat down the path, passing a robin busy looking for its next meal.

The weather forecast doesn’t offer much improvement for the coming week, with rain and chilly temperatures being the recurring theme for our area so it may be a while before I venture into the Valley again.

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