CFFC: Twists in Nature and Man-made Swirls

The topic for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is twisted & squiggly shapes. Many are found in nature, such as twisted trees…

…and saguaro cacti, which can be quite humorous to look at!

Artists have used the patterns and fractals found in nature since ancient times, such as

petroglyphs

and modern sculptures,

and a swirled “mane” on a Chinese lion statue.


And here’s one more…try to guess what it is!

CFFC: Curves & Arches in Chicagoland

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the theme curves and arches. Here are some recent (mostly pandemic & post-pandemic) photos in Chicago and suburbs.

Curves

Morton Arboretum (Downers Grove) sculpture
Millennium Park, Chicago – the famous “Bean”! (Although its real name is “Cloud Gate.”)

Arches

An example of Chicago’s eclectic architecture
Chicago venue – site of “Immersion Van Gogh” exhibit
Upon entering the building for Immersion Van Gogh, there is this beautiful stained glass window.
Façade of Moody Church in Chicago
Restaurant window painting of Frida Kahlo & friend, during the summer exhibit of original Frida Kahlo works at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn
Arched entry to Martin Auditorium at Ravinia festival, Highland Park
Festive arches of light at North School Park in Arlington Heights last Christmas

LAPC: Keep Walking

Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge #163 invites us to share photos of our walking trails and discoveries!

We used to hike much more than we do now. Even so, when we are traveling and there is an opportunity to take a walking tour, we take advantage of it! Also, we go on day trips in the Chicago area, to a variety of places to find something artistic or unusual.

On our first day in Tanzania, we spent the morning on a genuine hike! This ficus tree captured my interest.

On that same hike, our guide stopped to pick up something off the ground – a giraffe turd! Holding it in his open palm, he told us it was the turd of a male giraffe, because of its somewhat football shape. Female giraffe turds are flat on each end! Several of our group of hikers crowded around to get a close-up of this unusual find! The guide patiently waited, while with his other hand he looked at something on his cellphone!

Where there is giraffe poop, you can be sure there are giraffes nearby! This one walked nonchalantly away from us – since it was also a male giraffe, I wonder if his was the deposit we had been examining!

Later during that trip, on the day we arrived at Serengeti National Park, another hike had been arranged! I love to walk because that is when I see the small things that would be missed on a bike or traveling in a vehicle! I took photos of these three small things on that hike.

giraffe footprint
Scorpion flower
Dung beetles roll dung into balls, then dig a depression in the earth and push the dung ball into it. The dung beetles lay their eggs in it.

Most of my walks are short treks either around campus or somewhere else in town. On campus one day, which happened to be my birthday, Dale and I were taking our usual walk around campus, when we came upon two other residents who were walking their dogs and had stopped to chat (while social distancing!). It’s common for residents to greet each other or chat on these walks, but before long, someone says, “Well, I need to keep walking” and they go their separate ways.

During the pandemic, we’ve taken day trips to far-flung suburbs and nature reserves.

Dale stops on a wooden bridge over a marsh at Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve.
Reflections in a lagoon – Cuba Marsh

Some of my favorite walks are in sculpture parks! Our walk at Morton Arboretum, which happened to be on my birthday this year, was in search of a new installation of sculptures by a South African artist.

Dale approaches the first sculpture, called “Hallow,” at Morton Arboretum
We did not stop to rest on this bench, although the scene was inviting.
The last sculpture, “Basilica,” of the installation that we visited. The artist of these beautiful sculptures is behind the left hand. It was cool to be able to meet and chat with him a little! I don’t know who the little girl was – she just happened to get in my picture!

Life in Colour: Blues

Jude’s Travel Words blog’s topic for Life in Colour this month is the color blue. Jude challenges us to find “unusual” blues! OK, I’ll do my best…

Sky reflected in a car’s headlights
Glass art decoration at The Moorings
Selfie after modification by SnapSeed
Steps up to an Immersive Van Gogh presentation
Viola
Siberian bugloss
Dandelion after modification with SnapSeed
Aquarium at Brookfield Zoo
Chagall Windows at Chicago Art Institute

Several shades of blue in this shot of a church in Budapest
Blue door, blue bag in Budapest
Graffiti in Germany
Modern building in the outskirts of Amsterdam
Eiffel Tower at dusk

PPAC #4: Human + Nature

I love this challenge that Marsha and Cee are hosting! It’s Cee’s turn this week.

Today I am featuring some interesting sculptures by Daniel Popper, an artist from South Africa, which are on display in various locations at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. The installation is called Human + Nature.

This is the first sculpture we saw, not far from the entrance to the park. Its title is Hallow.

Further on down the path, we came upon another one, called Sentient.

There was another sculpture in that part of the park, but even with the map, we couldn’t find it. So we drove across the highway to the smaller part of the arboretum, where we saw two more.

I neglected to take a picture of this one’s title, but it was something like Mother or Beauty.

The last one we saw was called Basilica, and there we met the artist himself, who was using spray paint to touch up a few details. Our visit was at the beginning of the display. These sculptures will remain for about a year, before they are dismantled and Popper takes them to their next destination.

The artist poses next to his sculpture, Basilica.

CMMC: Up Close and Personal

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge this week has the topic close-up or macro.

Hazel doesn’t really like me getting this close for a photo. She seems to be sleeping, but one eye is slightly open!

Center of Queen Anne’s lace

Taken from our balcony on our river boat cruise on the Rhine: apparently this swan is used to getting up close to humans (probably wants an edible tidbit!)

At a Buddhist temple in Des Plaines, IL

Our niece got into the shot I was aiming for.

Sometimes you run into (almost literally!) an unexpected subject. This caterpillar was hanging from a single thread – probably weaving its cocoon.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what I’m taking a picture of! Take a guess!

I took this selfie when I was about to go outside for a prolonged period in February – rather frightening! With my glasses on, wearing a mask caused my glasses to fog up and I could barely see!

A piece of a multitude of faces, taken at Morton Arboretum’s display of sculpture by Daniel Popper. (See my blog post in PPAC #4 for more!)

APAW: Weathered

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge has the topic weathered. Nancy says,
“Living close to the mountains and rural areas, I come across weathered items to photograph frequently. There are also a lot of different treatments that you can use to make an image look weathered. With this week’s challenge, try lots of different techniques.”

I tried “weathering” some of my photos using SnapSeed and my other limited photo editing software, but I couldn’t get that “weathered” look. So I relied on my naturally weathered photo subjects.

Three subjects taken in Poulsbo, Washington

Meet Josephine, a javelina I picked up at an art fair in Tucson, Arizona. Her natural look is weathered, because she is made from metal treated to appear rustic or weather-beaten. I experimented with SnapSeed, but I think her natural state is a better look. What do you think?


I did use SnapSeed to create a “grunge” look on some other items in my house, while working on a still life photo project. Click on the photos to see them larger.

Southwestern USA, and particularly along Route 66, is a great place to find naturally weathered subjects.

Weather-beaten vehicle at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, California – now retired, it’s just for show!

North of Victorville, CA is Bottle Tree Ranch. Besides “trees” made from bottles, there are a lot of old junk items that the artist collected and put on display. The longer they are left in place, exposed to the elements (heat, wind and dust, occasional rain), the more weather-beaten they become! A bizarre place, but a photographer’s heaven!

Life in Colour: More White & Silver

I’m joining in this challenge again, to contribute white buildings, and more, in Chicago!

View of white skyscrapers from Millennium Park:

And silver in Millennium Park – “Cloud Gate” sculpture (known by locals as “the Bean”)

This silver structure in Millennium Park…

…projects faces. There are actually two of these, with a shallow wading area in between them (the wading pool is only filled in warm weather – these photos were taken in October.).

A few more whites in Lincoln Park

White yachts

PPAC #1: Photographing Public Art – Denver

I am happy to get in on this brand new challenge with co-hosts Cee Neuner and Marsha Ingrao! For this very first week, Marsha is the host. She says:


The #PPAC is deliberately open – photographer’s choice. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Seasonal Displays
  • Graffiti
  • Statues and Sculptures
  • Collections
  • Store Windows
  • Car Shows
  • Artistic Construction (benches, buildings, bridges)
  • Wall Art (not just murals)
  • Challenge Guidelines
  • Art has to be freely visible from a public street, freeway, or walkway.
  • Photographers have free access of use for their photos – no copyrights by the artists.
  • The challenge starts every Friday by 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
  • Write a post on your blog, publish it, and include a link back to the appropriate host’s post – not on Cee’s or Marsha’s #PPAC page. Also write us a comment and paste the link into the comment. Sometimes pingbacks are missed.
  • Visit at least two or three other participants in the community and leave them a comment.

Here are some public art pieces in downtown Denver, Colorado. From these photos, you can see why I fell in love with Denver and hope to visit again soon!

This was the first sculpture we saw, in the downtown business district.

Most of the public art we saw was on a pedestrian street, closed to traffic.

These decorated pianos were available for anyone to stop and play (we actually saw someone playing one of them), but I don’t know how well-tuned they were!

Other public art-based entertainments: chess/checker boards!

My husband wasn’t interested in playing chess or checkers – he was just tired and wanted to sit down for a minute!

More cows:

Cows weren’t the only public art bovines on display – there were bison also!

Another sculpture:

Cleverly designed restaurant signs can also be classified as public art!

L-APC: Spots and Dots

Spots and Dots is the creative topic for Leya’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.

flowers (2 orchids at Chicago Botanic Gardens, sunflower at Cantigny Park-Robert McCormick estate, Wheaton, Illinois)

animals (Tanzania)

art: sculpture (dalmations in Sao Paulo, Brazil; abstract sculpture in St. Charles, Illinois; giant pumpkin somewhere in Japan – this photo was a screenshot; Chinese lion at Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois)

museum art (tapestry, light display)

Leda Catunda, Onca pintada No. 1, 1984, (at museum in Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Exhibit at Museu do Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

public art

Lightscape light show installations for the holiday season, (Chicago Botanic Gardens, Dec. 2019 and Dec. 2020)