Bright Lights on a Winter Night

In December, the Chicago Botanic Gardens has a light show, which people attend at night. Local artists create structures that are lit up one way or another. The show is called “Lightscape” and has become an annual holiday tradition. There is a set path you walk through the gardens, passing a lot of beautiful “bright” creations.

Countdown to Christmas: Lights, Love, Colors, Candy, Candles, Creature, Desserts

Due to pressing tasks related to the holidays that have taken up much of my time, I really got behind in Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas!

Days 12 & 14: Lights and Colors
Holiday decorations in many colors

Our former house in Des Plaines is decked out for Christmas far better than we ever even attempted to do! I’m proud of our daughter & son-in-law (who live there now) for putting so much effort in it! Notice the moving colored lights projected onto the second floor dormer!
Christmas tree elegantly decorated in blue & gold, in the lobby of our senior community’s main building. I like the way the lights on the tree reflect onto the dark blue of the sky outside!
Close-up of one of those decorations

Day 13: Love
Who doesn’t love Christmas? Here’s a bouquet of mostly roses (symbol of love) in our house earlier this week.

Day 15: Candy
Today we walked the halls of the apartment building in our community, for several purposes: exercise (too cold to walk outside!), taking photos, and working on a scavenger hunt. Residents not only decorate their doors, but also the ledges outside their apartments. Sometimes there is candy set out for anyone to partake of!

FRANGO MINTS!! How could I resist this traditional Chicago treat?

Day 16: Candles
Candles make me think of Hanukkah, which we celebrate every year because my husband in Jewish. Since I have no photos of the menorah we use every year at Hanukkah (which ended last night), here is another of those ledge decorations outside someone’s apartment.

Day 17: Creature
Creature?? What does this have to do with Christmas? Oh yeah – elves!

Day 18: Dessert!
Dessert for me means some concoction involving ice cream. But right now, it’s Christmas cookies! Having a box of them in the house makes it hard to resist them! So each night, I have one or two cookies with a cup of tea and a piece of fruit. Christmas isn’t Christmas without cookies!

Back in the days when we could have parties and take cookies from a common plate, a friend of mine gave a holiday party in her apartment, including this delicious variety of cookies!

Len-Artists: Reflections of…

Guest host Shower of Blessings has given us the theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #87: Reflections.

My car is a source of several types of reflections:

Reflections of holiday lights on its hood
Light from its headlights reflecting on snowfall
An image in its driver’s side mirror (Rocky Mountain National Park)
Bodies of water are also great sources for photographing reflections:

One of the ponds at our senior community – the reflection was clearer on the water side (left) than the ice side (right).20200108_155657
Hippo and its reflection (Serengeti National Park, Tanzania)
Egrets on the edge of a lake (Tarangire National Park, Tanzania)
In this close-up of two geese that are part of a sculpture, the reflection of the top of the sculpture, geese in flight, can be seen in the pond. (Chicago Botanic Gardens)
Polished surfaces, such as glass and mirrors, are good places to look for reflections.

Glass pots on display at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington – the pattern at the bottom of the pot on the left is reflected on the platform.
Glass bowl
Glass sculpture on the roof of the museum after a rainfall – the birds are actually reflected in the puddle – it reminded me of the egrets in Tanzania!
The polished floor in the courtyard of a mosque in Cairo, Egypt
It took me awhile looking at this photo to realize it was actually a mirror image I was photographing, at a restaurant in Cairo. There was also a mirror at the far end, where the actual scene of our group having dinner was reflected, in the second photo.
Finally, semi-spherical mirrors were used to enhance flower exhibits at the annual orchid show (Chicago Botanic Gardens). This photo is a bit blurry but I liked the reflection – and you can see my camera in my hand at left!

And now, a theme-related video of a golden oldie from the 1960s!


Sculpture Saturday

Mind Over Memory has a photo challenge called Sculpture Saturday. Here a few photos of sculptures I’ve taken over the last few months.

Rocking horse light sculpture, North School Park, Arlington Heights, IL (this park has a wonderful holiday lights display every year).

Modern art sculpture somewhere in Chicago – taken during our Open House Chicago 2019 tour

Sculpture at Buddhist Temple in Chicago – taken during Open House Chicago 2019.


Taken at the Chinese pagoda at Chinese Reconciliation Park in Tacoma, WA

Chicago Botanic Garden’s LIGHTSCAPE

Last week, my husband and I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s holiday light extravaganza, called Lightscape. We had to purchase tickets online in advance, and reserve a specific entry time. Many of the dates were sold out, particularly weekends, but I was able to register for 7:15-7:30 on Thursday, Dec. 19. Once we entered, we could stay as long as we wanted until closing time at 10:30. Of course, we didn’t stay that long. Fortunately, it was a relatively pleasant evening, although we were glad we had dressed warmly.

A lot of spectators were there when we were – it was quite crowded, and on the dark path, it was inevitable that we would accidently run into someone. There were lots of children running, also, who also ran into people, including us. Everyone was nice about it, though – there was a general understanding that there were crowds, it was dark, but with patience, we would be rewarded with spectacular light shows.

I’ve been to Chicago Botanic Gardens often enough to understand the basic layout and the types of gardens that are showcased in different areas. Each of these designated areas was used by the artistic light companies to showcase to best advantage each particular light display. The path through the exhibit was marked and one only had to follow it to see everything.

Entrance to the exhibit was through this arc of changing colors of light – it’s hard to see but there is a bow on the top, to resemble a giant light wreath!

These photos were all taken at Lightscape.  Overall, it was a fantastic show and definitely worth the price of admission + parking!
This brilliantly lit Christmas tree was surrounded by trees with multicolored lights, like the one in the photo above.
This part was called “Singing Trees.” As carols played, the trees lit up according to the tone and pitch of the music. I have to admit, though, that in these photos, the trees look like giant Daleks (“exterminators” on the Dr. Who series)!
Looking across one of the ponds to the Japanese garden, with the red lit trees reflecting in the still water.
In the warm seasons, water tumbles over these rocks to form waterfalls. These strings of flowing white lights are meant to resemble waterfalls.
Lights in the form of snowflakes on the path leading to…

…pink “cherry blossom” trees.

I took a video walking through hanging curtains of light that pulsated and changed colors.

The tulip garden

This realistic looking “carpet” was projected onto the path.

Dale took this photo of me standing on the “light” carpet – my coat was transformed into an amazing technicolor dreamcoat!
Cathedral of Light

It’s no wonder that this “cathedral of light” was used in the advertising for this event!

A rainbow of pulsating, moving lights covered a large (normally) grassy area, which I recognized as the place where crowds lay on the ground to watch the solar eclipse two years ago!

This was the last thing in the exhibit.
One of the coolest photos I took was in the parking lot on our way out – the border of the Botanic Garden was marked by a series of trees, whose branches were traced in brilliant white lights. We had seen this from the road when we were entering, but couldn’t get close enough for a good photo, until we were leaving.
The lights were actually brighter than in this photo, but I took it without flash, without changing the ISO setting. I like it because all the details of the tree can be seen.
I hope you enjoyed this photographic tour of Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Gardens!