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!

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!)

Travel in Green

HeyJude at Travel Words has a Life in Colour Photo Challenge 2021, and the theme for March is green. Here’s my gallery of green:

Last Photo: September

This is Bushboys World‘s monthly challenge, Last Photo: September to post the last photo of the month on your camera or cellphone (or both!). This is a fun and easy challenge to participate in. Don’t forget to click on the link to see others’ contributions!

I did a bit of editing to this photo of a katydid. It’s a rare insect to spot – at least for me. But I feel an affinity for this katydid, since we share a name! 🙂

I have now added this photo, because I downloaded the photos on my memory card for my Sony camera today. This is the last photo I took with my camera in September at a kitschy Egyptian-ripoff place in Wadsworth, IL (near Gurnee). At this place, they supposedly sell a special bottled water called “Gold Pyramid Natural Mineral Water” but the place was closed and the gold pyramid (which is a house) is no longer gold because they had a fire. So we took pictures at the entrance and through the gate.

The Changing Seasons: September 2020 – Beauty and Weirdness

Marilyn Armstrong of Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth has taken over a monthly challenge called The Changing Seasons.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month. To join in, you can either:
 1. post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month. Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots. 
or
2.  post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month. Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

In either case, tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them. One thing that won’t change though. Include a ping-back to Marilyn’s post, and she will update it with links to everyone else’s.

Marilyn says, “For those of us who have participating in this challenge for years … since the first years when Baron Guzman ran the challenge, I think we have our own style on how to make this work. I could never use a single picture. I’m too indecisive. Especially given the rapidly changing climate we are experiencing, I think this is an important challenge.” Ditto for me about indecisiveness! So here’s my September photo gallery: Visits to kitschy or pretty places in our area (because we can’t travel), flowers, and season changes were the things that characterized September 2020.

Recycling styrofoam at Dart Co. in Aurora; sculpture called “Solitude”; Mr. Eggwards (Humpty Dumpty doppelganger); sunflowers at Cantigny estate in Wheaton; Tribune magnate McCormick’s house at Cantigny; outdoor BBQ stove at my niece’s house in Evanston; 4 silos surrounding Inverness Town Hall; Black Lives Matter billboard (a little bit of sanity in an area full of Trump signs on lawns); all that’s left of a factory in Grayslake, now in the middle of a park; kitschy Egyptian copies of statues & pyramid in Wadsworth, officially known as “Gold Pyramid House” (the pyramid isn’t gold right now because they had a fire); hibiscus flower after rain; rare red flower called “cardinal flower” (it disappeared within a day or two); zinnias in my garden; mini petunias in my garden; tree branches on the campus of our community; katydid (I feel an affinity – we share a name!); sunset in a nearby suburb; another sunset in a nearby suburb; West Lake (pond on the campus here) with its many ducks – most of them young adults (a few months ago most of them were ducklings).


5 Things I Hate (?) About Summer (!)

This is a tough one to write about, since my favorite season is summer – it would be a lot easier to list 5 things I LOVE about summer. But since this is Dr. Tanya’s topic for her 5 Things challenge, this week, here goes…

1. Humidity – I would love to live in a drier climate. It can be a mild day, but I still sweat due to the high humidity here in Midwestern USA!

I’d rather be living in the orange or yellow zones! Seriously, most of the time our humidity in the summertime is 70-80 %, even though the map shows an AVERAGE of 55% for northern Illinois.

2. Extreme heat – temperatures in upper 80s and above. I just have to stay inside an air conditioned house in those conditions. I admit, though, that I didn’t mind it while traveling in Europe last year during a heat wave – maybe it’s less humid or maybe I was just having too much fun to care!

National Weather Service issues heat warning | News ...

3. Bugs, especially mosquitoes and stinging insects. This is the one thing that every summer brings, and one of the few things I don’t like about this season.

Mosquito Control & Removal | How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes | Orkin

4. Excessive air conditioning – I realize it’s highly desirable to have air conditioning, but many buildings have cranked up the air conditioning so that I feel cold – after all, we are wearing summer clothes, we don’t want to freeze in a restaurant! Hotel rooms, too – I hate their air conditioning – it’s usually noisy and I don’t sleep well in air conditioned rooms.

LG LT1216CER: 12,000 BTU Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner | LG USA
In our old house, we relied on window units like this one and fans. Now we have central air.

5. Getting into a hot car that’s been sitting in the sun – I can open the windows a little bit and put a sunshade over the windshield while it is parked, but these things don’t help too much – and if I’ve left a water bottle in there, the water is warm, ugh!

21 children have died in hot cars this year | Fox 59

In the past, at the top of my list would be “sunburn” – but I don’t get sunburned anymore. My lifestyle has changed and I tend to protect myself, if needed, with sunscreen, but mostly by wearing a hat! And I just don’t go lie on beaches anymore – skin cancer is too much of a risk!

Perspectives Great & Small

Sometimes a photograph cannot convey the bigness or smallness of something unless it is given perspective by including another object whose dimensions we are familiar with. For example, I can post photos of the immense pillars of Karnak in Egypt, built 3,500 years ago, but you can really get an idea of how massive they are when I am sitting in front of one of them. How tiny I look in comparison! Yet these same pillars were constructed, put in place and decorated by people my size or perhaps smaller. To do this as intended, the ancient Egyptian artisans had to have the perspective to see how large each figure had to be relative to the overall design covering the column when chiseling the images. They always started at the top, using hills of sand covering the rest of the wall or column, on which they would stand, and remove layers of sand as they worked their way downward.

In a similar way, sometimes we think of something – like an insect – as small, until another familiar object is included in the picture. To see how large this early emerging mosquito is – in mid-May, relatively early for mosquitoes around here – my husband put his hand next to it to gain perspective of how large it actually is!

As soon as I took the photo, I opened the door and quickly went out – I didn’t want to be in the same space with THAT giant mosquito!

Square Perspective, 7/3/20

2020 Photo Challenge #6: Patterns

2020 Photo Challenge is about working on techniques to improve one’s photography. This month’s theme is patterns. Here are some of the host’s suggestions:
February:
Being Creative with Patterns
look for various types of patterns – squares, circles, triangles and so on.
Shoot from a different perspective. Look up, look down or shoot from a distance
Break the pattern, disrupt the continuity in some way
Use pattern as a background for a more substantial subject.

Patterns in Vienna:
Palace fence pattern20190706_101329

Candy bowls
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A mistake that generated light wave patternsDSC01968
Wooden floor tessellation20190707_102856
Three patterns in one photo (Cologne)
20190627_122815
Screen pattern as background for moth
20190803_151859 (2)
Patterns in nature:
20190911_165241
20190301_142356 (2)20190301_141706

Stare at this picture - the pattern of the plant's leaves can make you dizzy!
Staring at the pattern of this plant’s leaves can make you dizzy!

DSC02428
20190112_151031 (2)
Patterns in art (Palestine and Egypt):
20190112_14270120190112_142025SONY DSC20181227_13481020181227_124730