Monday, April 7, 2014

weekend explorations

I found these beauties at the Morton Arboretum over the weekend. I don't think the purple burst of color has been such a welcome sight before! It's been a long winter. So happy to see these crocuses popping up on the east side.

No visit to the Arboretum is complete without a stop at the Spruce Plot -- at least for me. This forest is my favorite place at the Arb. There's just something about it that grounds me every time I set foot on the shaded path that leads into the plot. Maybe it's because I feel sheltered and protected there, or perhaps it's because the towering trees remind me that there are larger powers at work. Whatever the reason, I try to stop by this magical place once a month. The light -- and the photos -- are different every time.

I also tried my hand at a puddlegram -- much to the amusement of some unsuspecting hiikers. For the uninitiated, a puddlegram involves capturing a reflection in, well, a puddle. Search the tag on Instagram, and you'll find hundreds, if not thousands, of fantastic images. They do require some ungraceful squatting on city sidewalks and wooded paths so you can get the angle just right (without falling OR dropping your phone!)...and people WILL look at you funny. I'm pretty sure the hikers who happened upon me trying to frame this shot thought I was doing *something else* in the woods at first. Oh well...the things we do in the name of photography!

I'm looking forward to adding more green and blooms to my photos as spring unfolds.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Sun Will Shine Again

Street art from last weekend's 8x8 Gallery photo walk
in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. 
Mother Nature teased us with a taste of spring earlier this week. It's coming. There are signs of it everywhere. 

My Oregano survived the brutal Chiberia winter!
I started prepping my garden bed Sunday, 

even though it's still pretty early here in zone 5. 
A walk through the Morton Arboretum yielded sunshine, ponds released from winter's grasp, and even a nice surprise on a path. 

I can't wait until this crabapple tree bursts with blooms!
This pond was frozen solid just a few weeks ago. 

I was really excited when I found these snowdrops
just off a path on the west side of the Morton Arboretum! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Spring has officially arrived in Chicago, at least on the calendar. The thermostat says otherwise -- it's not even 30 degrees as I write this. Authentic spring weather will be much appreciated once it arrives! 

I went to Chicago March 20 to chase the sunlight as it set downtown. Thanks to this post by Nick Ulivieri (one of many talented photographers I follow on Instagram) I learned about Chicagohenge. During the spring and summer equinoxes, if the weather cooperates, the sun will rise and set in near-perfect alignment with the "canyons" in the Chicago Loop. I couldn't miss that! 

I went downtown way too early in the afternoon and wandered around, visiting the Bean and popped into the Chicago Cultural Center, did some writing at a Corner Bakery, then went over to the Art Institute of Chicago. There's a pedestrian bridge that seems custom-made for photographers -- I've taken quite a few shots from that bridge. I got there way early, and was not the only one there waiting for the light to change. As it got later, more and more photographers congregated on the bridge. I'm sure anyone who saw us up there was wondering what the heck we were doing. It was pretty fun because I knew a few of the photographers from Instagram and 8x8 Gallery photowalks around Chicago. It's a big city but a small world. 

The sunset was really something to see -- the weather was perfect! I took some photos with my Galaxy S4 and more with my Nikon D3000. If you go on Instagram and search the tags #Chicagohenge and #urbancanyon_henge14, you'll find plenty more fabulous photos. 

Check out this Flipagram that shows the progression of the sunset. 

And a few favorite photos: 

My favorite because of the sunbeams. Nevermind the top of someone's hat on the bottom right Taken with Galaxy S4.

Alignment. The only way this would have been better? If there was a train on the El tracks and I had a zoom lens. And had the settings on the Nikon a little different. Taken with Nikon D3000. 

Another one I like because it has the flare, and because I got the plane in there, too. Not quite sure which camera this one is from, but I think the S4 because it's a bit grainy from zooming in.