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).


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
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Light from its headlights reflecting on snowfall
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An image in its driver’s side mirror (Rocky Mountain National Park)
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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)
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Egrets on the edge of a lake (Tarangire National Park, Tanzania)
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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)
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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.
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Glass bowl
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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!
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The polished floor in the courtyard of a mosque in Cairo, Egypt
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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.
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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!
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And now, a theme-related video of a golden oldie from the 1960s!

 

On the Hunt for Joy: Getting Outside

Cee has a new challenge, which she will post every Wednesday! It is called On the Hunt For Joy. The first topic is Get Outside.

And in fact, this is exactly what I did today, on my way home from a lecture. It was very cold today (colder than it has been this month but not unusually cold for January) and not a day I really wanted to go outside, but I was hot at that point from being overdressed and when I stepped outside, it felt really good!

What made me go outside was a beautiful late afternoon sky and I knew I wanted to take photos of it reflecting on the big pond behind our community’s main building. Taking off my gloves, I took several shots with my cellphone and decided to take the long way home. It didn’t take me long to feel cold (especially my hands) but I enjoyed the walk anyway because of the beauty of the afternoon. Here are a few of the photos I took.
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The half-frozen pond created this undulating ridge across it and behind it were gentle ripples on the water.
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WWE: Mystery on Frozen Pond

In mid November, I was walking around our campus on a frigid day, and noticed some blobs on one of our frozen ponds. From a distance with the naked eye, it looked like ducks frozen in place with their heads sticking out of the water. Of course, I knew it couldn’t be that – probably clods of dirt, but how did they get into the middle of the pond?

I didn’t have my camera with its zoom lens with me, just my cellphone, so I took a couple of pictures, which basically reproduced what I was seeing with my own eyes. It didn’t get me any closer to figuring out WHAT was on that frozen pond.

Here’s the image I took with my Samsung Galaxy:
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What I found curious is that the blobs all had white streaks behind them, as if there was something just below the frozen surface.

I walked home as quickly as possible to get my husband and my camera. It was close to sundown already and I didn’t know if the phenomenon would still be there the next day, since the temperature was supposed to rise above freezing, so I suggested we drive over to the pond (which Dale calls “Swan Lake” when the swans are on it). We both brought our cameras and stood on the bank near the water’s edge. I fitted my zoom lens onto my Sony and magnified it to 300mm, the highest it would go. In the tiny image I could see on the viewfinder, I still couldn’t tell what it was.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I’ve finally gotten around to downloading the photos I took that day onto my computer. Here’s what I discovered:
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The blobs were clumps of wet leaves that had blown into the pond just as it was freezing, creating the effect we saw.  The white streaks around the clumps seem to indicate that due to the leaves, the freeze was slightly thinner in those spots; perhaps a few leaves had frozen just below the surface.

Meanwhile, here is another cellphone photo I took that day, of the other pond on campus. I liked the wavy ridges that appeared on its frozen surface.
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Posted for Jez Braithwaite’s Water, Water Everywhere photo challenge.