Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Photo @ Morton Arboretum spruce plot, November 2014. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hello, winter

We got our first measurable snowfall this week. Barely enough to cover the ground, but it was enough to make everything pretty. The Minnesotan in me is looking forward to more snow, snowshoeing,  winter photo explorations and other adventures. 

Photo taken at the Spruce Grove at the Morton Arboretum 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday

Continuing (inadvertently!) this week's black & white theme. Photo @ Wilson's Creek in northern California, July 2014.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Black & White Challenge

If you've followed my photography for a while, you know I love color, and I tend to avoid having people in my shots. I'm a patient shooter -- I've waited on paths until people are out of the frame just so I can get a "clean" shot. Maybe it's my inner introvert, or maybe it's because I don't like being photographed myself, but there's just something serene about photos of nature without any people in them. 

Last week, however, I was challenged to not only post five photos in black and white but also to include people in the shots. Oh, the humanity! I took a trip to the Morton Arboretum and got in a couple photos with people in them, and also dug through my files to find a few more. The challenge was a good exercise for me. Black and white photography can be really fun -- it tends to bring out details you may miss when the photo is in full color, and you can play with the shadows and light a bit more. 

As for including people in my photos? It's something I need to do more often. At first, I felt like a stalker, photographing people out minding their own business. Capturing candid moments. Going up to strangers and asking them if I can take their photograph? Way out of my beloved comfort zone. Which is exactly why I need to do it more often. 

Watch for more black & white -- and people -- in my photos now and then! 

My favorite of the five! The shadow + light turned out perfect. @ Meadow Lake (Morton Arboretum)

Jump! Action shot @ the Chicago Botanic Garden (back when it was warm out!). (The levitating guy on the right is the one who set me up for the B&W challenge. Thanks, Myk!)

Reflections. @ Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.

Springfield Mile. Kenny, Bryan and Jake at 120+mph. Shot with DSLR.

Another favorite -- caught this pair in a stride-by at the Morton Arboretum.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Chicago Cultural Center

This weekend's adventures took me to the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall. I've been to the Cultural Center a handful of times, but somehow had never been in this side of the building! I'd been to the Healy Millet dome on the north side of the building plenty of times, but had no idea the Cultural Center was also home to the world's largest stained glass Tiffany Dome. I should probably be embarrassed to admit that, but I'm not. It's really fun to make discoveries like this. There's so much to see and do in Chicago that it's impossible to know -- and do -- everything. Discovering it is the fun part!

The room the dome is in was closed for a private party when we were there, so I couldn't explore the room or take photos directly underneath the dome. My photos from this visit didn't turn out all that great, and they don't do the dome justice. I was playing with the manual camera settings and messed up. I ended up editing these photos in HDR to try and salvage them. I plan to go back and take more photos and figure out what I'm doing wrong with the camera, as well as enjoy the beauty of the space. It's a gorgeous location.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Fullersburg Woods

The fall colors are fading, but the weather is still (mostly) pleasant, so Baxter and I headed out for a short hike this weekend. I wanted to go to Starved Rock State Park but I logged a 4.5 mile run Saturday and my legs didn't feel up to doing a long hike, so I decided to stick closer to home and do something short and easy. In the spirit of exploring new places, we went to Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook.

Baxter had a great time, as usual -- even though he was outfitted in a doggy backpack. (He got a lot of smiles on the trail.) Anytime he gets to go out with me is a good day!

Such a poser. (He's always alert for squirrels & other dogs on the trail.)

Monday, November 3, 2014


This is something to keep in mind as we head into the busy holiday season.