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!

Just One Person … and Many Ducks (Sweden)

We took our first cruise in 2015, on the Baltic Sea, stopping at interesting historic ports, such as Tallinn, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as some of the major Scandinavian capitals. I captured this wonderful scene in the town of Sigtuna, Sweden, which has a renowned boarding school and is often a destination for church retreats.  The name of Sigtuna comes from an old English word for town (tuna), which was originally a Viking word.

After a wonderful lunch and a tour of the historic parts of town, learning about runic stones and mythology, visiting a 13th century church, and seeing a scary-looking contraption that was put on people who were jailed for drunkenness at the Town Hall, we were free to walk around on our own. We strolled down the street with lots of souvenir shops. Then we headed down to the lake on a sloping street past picturesque houses (some quite large) with pretty gardens. Along the lake was a park, including a spiral path with a faux runic stone in the middle, a miniature golf course that used tiny versions of local buildings for the holes, and many ducks who hoped for tidbits from an old couple sitting on a bench. There were lots of ducks in the lake as well, and this little girl on the lake shore trying to attract them. She was the picture of innocence and inquisitiveness of childhood and I loved her black hat! She is just one person (with many ducks!) in Sigtuna.

Here is a gallery of photos taken in Sigtuna.

CFFC: Dark Red

Cee’s fun Foto challenge continues with a color theme. This week is dark red including maroon and burgundy.

bathroom décor at a wedding venue, Chicago
ceiling in bathroom at a wedding venue, Chicago
Field of flowers, Israel
Light show at Abu Simbel, Egypt
Lightscape 2019, Chicago Botanic Gardens
Seussian field of fake flowers, Chicago Botanic Gardens
Painting by Malangatana, Art Institute of Chicago
Red leaves, park in St. Charles, IL
Mural on the side of a law firm building, Geneva (?), IL
Dahlia
Painting by Edouard Manet, Musee d’Orsay, Paris

October Kinda Square

Hurray! Becky’s back with another of her month of square challenges! This month the theme is kind (or a word containing the word kind). To get us started, here are Becky’s suggestions:

Here are some ideas you may wish to consider:

  • Something of the kind (similar to something or even a carbon copy)
  • Our imagination kindled (inspire us!)
  • Of its kind (a unique object or an example of something such as a flower or bird)
  • Two of a Kind (or one, or three or multiple!)
  • Kindred spirits (kindness in action or photographs of people)
  • Take kindly to (something you like)

Today Dale and I went out to the western suburbs and visited a park in St. Charles with a lot of unusual sculptures. These sculptures are truly “one of a kind” or “kinda weird!”

In case you can’t read its name on the side, it’s called Playing Mantis by Paul Bobrowitz of Colgate, WI, made of stainless steel.
Interim X by Bruce Niemi
Portals by Victor Nelson

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).


CFFC: Touching

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is on a series exploring the senses. This week it is the sense of touch.

Touching each other is something many people miss during this pandemic, where we are told to stay 6 feet away from others and not to touch our face! In fact, handshaking as a form of greeting someone may become a thing of the past.

Touching, or petting, our furry friends is one of the ways we communicate with them, and it is something that they generally like. This touching is pleasurable for both human and animal.

IMAG1317 (2)
Hazel’s fur is so soft and smooth.

Contentment!
You can tell Hazel enjoys this attention!

20200422_124059
Dogs also love the attention. Dale always stops to pet some of our neighbor’s dogs, like this one, “Iphi” (short for Iphigenia).

We are touched by raindrops that fall on our heads when we pass under a tree just after a rain shower.
20190717_190216
Just as we find out it is raining when the raindrops touch us, we are also touched by the wind, the sun’s heat, or the cold of winter.
IMAG1410_1
Animals and people touch to show love for each other.

Romantic love:
20200323_140827

SONY DSC
20171108_185853
VVS-70th-Opening-Night-BBQ-87
Sisterly love:
SONY DSC
Old friends coming together:
SONY DSCVVS-70th-Class-Photos-51
Sometimes we want to touch something because of its texture.
20170831_142117_001
20170821_122647
20190430_151229
20190717_202106 (2)20190110_121838 (2)20190111_142513d

 

Dutch Goes the Photo: Trees

Jansenphoto’s Dutch Goes the Photo has a Tuesday challenge and the topic is trees.

FB_IMG_1492272834984
Walking tree in Costa Rica: As this tree puts down new roots over the last layer, it actually moves – about 1 foot per year!

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Tree trunk in the Bahamas

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Orchids grow on the side of this tree in Izapa, , Mexico. Orchids are “bromeliads” – plants which grow in “the air”, i.e. on other plants.

20190628_113435
This tree with a big hole in its trunk was in the woods along the path up to Marksburg Castle in Germany. I don’t know what caused the original injury to the tree, but animals have surely taken advantage of its shelter.

SONY DSC
Acacia tree in Tanzania, with used & abandoned weavers’ nests hanging down.

20191024_192427
This normal tree in our community, after dark gets spooky and full of shadows.

Picnic area. This tree is beautiful!
At a state park in Wisconsin, in autumn.

Late afternoon sunlight shimmers on South Blue Lake-Bearskin Trail
Evergreen tree branches touch, framing the glimmer of light on a northern Wisconsin lake.

20171108_121602
Brilliant fall color in Des Plaines, IL

Jan06-snow brilliance
Snow brilliance in Des Plaines, IL

 

 

CFFC: Winter Scenes

Sometimes it snows here in winter; sometimes it doesn’t. But it always gets cold! Fall, winter and spring can be unpredictable! Here are some of my favorite winter photos, posted for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – winter scenes.

This is our new house on Halloween – our first major snowfall of the year (that day and in early November were the biggest snows we’ve had this winter, until today!)
20191031_141848.jpg
Flower pot covered in ice, with tree reflected in it
20190313_115951.jpg
This was taken a few years ago from our front porch during a snowstorm.
Febsnow2.jpg
The maple tree behind our house, its branches tinged with snow
IMAG0157.jpg
Taken from our front porch in Des Plaines after a nighttime snowfall.
DSCN3219.JPG
Sometimes the ground just gets covered with frost, like these leaves and grass in January.
20181216_090104
Pretty snow scenes at Prairie Lakes Park in Des Plaines.
20190121_15450420180117_145239_001
Usually in March, the snow starts to melt. But we can’t be complacent – April has been known to produce some unexpected snowstorms! (Somewhere there’s a photo of my tulips coming up with snow on the ground around them!)
20180314_112727
After a long winter, one of our gardens looked like this early last March.
20180111_144124