Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year of the Horse

 Happy New Year !!!

May year 2014 bring many great photo opportunities, and happiness to you and to your family !!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Me, the Moon and the Lights

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing is going your way and everything you try just gives you more headaches?  I had one of those days.  Solution? Go out to see a beautiful light show at the Illumination show at Morton Arboretum.   I know it sounds crazy, but as soon as I started walking the snowy trails I forgot all about my troubles and  I was just mesmerized by the lights dancing in the trees.  It was not just pretty x-mas lights wrapped around the trees and shrubs, but the lights were moving, changing colors and projected across the pond and the sky.  There were several stations where you could interact with the lights. I hovered my hand over one station and depended on how many fingers I showed, the pattern of lights  projected across the pond changed.  I sang Jingle Bells to the black walnut trees and the lights responded to my voice.  The most popular with the children were the hug a tree.  The color of  lights changed depended on  how hard you hugged one of the four trees.  I was kept warm by several warming stations throughout the trail with roaring log fires.  My original plan was to take a quick photograph and get into the club house to see the lights from indoors but I ended up staying out for over 3 hours in the frigid 12 F cold.  I had this suspicion that I was the last person to leave the place... lonely car in the parking lot was the clue....  me, the moon and the lights.

Sharing with : Weekly Top Shot #114
                      Our World Tuesday

Friday, December 6, 2013

Land of Mandela

Table Mountain at Sunset from Signal Hill in Cape Town, South Africa

Several years ago I was fortunate to visit this beautiful country of South Africa where Nelson Mandela called home.  With the passing of Nelson Mandela it brought back wonderful memories of my time spent in the town of Cape Town, South Africa.
My impression of the country was just breathtakingly beautiful, people warm, kind and helpful. Everywhere I went I was welcomed and shown the best that they could offer. I meet many people.  A young, black security guard at the boat dock who I asked to recommend a good place to eat.  To my shame, he told me that he never goes out to eat because he needs to help his family. A white shop owner who had lost his management level job because of the company wanting to promote less qualified black employees.  A white African student who wished that other people around the world would realize that South Africa is not as hot as other believes and it is a civilized place to live.  A Ghanaian who was in South Africa to get a better education and wanting to open his own travel agency.  The honorary Mayor of Bo-Kaap sitting on a lawn chair in blue Adidas sweats who was trying to greet all of the tourists.  A white gay man at the St. Georges Cathedral (This is the seat of the Anglican Church in SA, and former cathedral for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noble Prize and Templeton Foundation winner ) who had painted his finger nails purple, helped me with the service which was conducted in English, Afrikaan, and Zulu. Three school aged girls who kept following me at the Kalk Bay and wanted me to take their photographs.  An outdoor flower market owner who gave me a single flower of Protea which kept blooming throughout my stay in Cape Town. So many great memories, so many wonderful people.

Sharing with :  Weekly Top Shot
                       Our World Tuesday

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Star light, Star Bright

I was in Chicago and stopped by the Christkindlemarket at the Daley Plaza.  I have been going to this traditional German American holiday market for the last several years. Just walking around the market makes me feel like, Yes Christmas is just around the corner.  One of my favorite shop (I have many and will post a few later) is this paper star store.  I love the bright colors of each star and each one has the different designs that makes it so special.

Linking with : Our World Tuesday

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cranberry Harvest at The DeGrandchamp Farm

To me Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without Cranberry sauce. I love the sweet and tartness of the sauce and the beautiful red color that it brings on to the plate. The De Grandchamp Farm in Michigan State opened up the farm to the public at harvest time and we were treated to a hay ride to the bog. Cranberries grow on short bushes and when the berries are ripe and red, the whole area is flooded with water. Why you ask?  Because after being dislodged from the bushes, the berries which have four air filled chambers, will float to the top.  It is the easiest way to gather them and load them into the truck for processing.

Happy Thanksgiving 

Linking with : Our World Tuesday

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fall colors at Starved Rock State Park

I drove to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois today. I was not the only person who thought that today would be the perfect day to view the beautiful fall colors.  The trails that are usually empty were filled with fellow photographers.  Even with a lack of water at several waterfalls, walking through the trails did not disappoint me.

Linking with: Our World Tuesday
                    A Southern Daydreamer

Friday, October 25, 2013

Walking in the woods after the rain

The colors of the leaves intensified by the morning rain sparkled as I walked through the woods. Every once in a while the gentle breeze rustled the trees and the rain drops that were still on the leaves and branches came down. As I walked I could see my breath in the moist, cold air... Soon we will see the first snow of the season.

Linking with:   Weekly Top shot
                      Monday Mellow Yellows

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sounds of Autumn

My husband said "It sounds like autumn out here".  I stopped and listened.  Well I know I am a little hard of hearing but what was he hearing?  Then I heard it..... the little rustle of golden leaves. A light breeze shook the trees and the beautiful colored leaves started falling making soft, barely audible swishing sounds. A little stronger breeze and all of the sudden plop, plop, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang... and I started dodging what was coming down on my head. What is it?  It was the sun ripened acorns and black walnuts hitting the ground and on our drive way. Yes, this is the unmistakable sounds of our autumn.  What does your autumn sounds like?

Linking with            Sunday Snapshot
                               Monday Mellow Yellows
                              Macro Monday 2
                               Our world Tuesday
                             Tuesday Muse

Sunday, September 15, 2013

End of the Summer

As the temperature drops I am ready to put away all things summer.  All the patio furniture should be washed and stacked, fountain turned off, drain all the water and the container put away in the garage, ferns that flourished during the summer (actually doubled in size) will be brought indoors for the winter.  What do you do to get ready for the winter?  Oh yes, one more thing, take a trip to a much quieter Lake and enjoy the last warmth of the summer.

Linking To : 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Memorial Mural of Sept 11

9-11 Memorial Mural Dedicated to the first responders.
4508 N Milwaukie Ave Chicago, Il
Painted by Jill Arena and Cyd Smillie

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news of the attack on the world trade center? 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Muffler Men of Old Route 66 in Illinois

I drove down to St. Louis, Mo from Chicago on the Old Rte 66 last week.  I had already done some of the drive this summer, so I got off the Interstate in Springfield to photograph one of the Muffler Men that stand on the Rte 66.
I read about these giants (stands between 18-25 feet tall) but had no ideas what the attractions were. While I was taking pictures of the Gemini Giant (the Muffler Men on the right) cars would drive up and people will pile out and get their pictures taken with it.  It is pretty amusing that these fiberglass guys that were made back in the 1960's are getting their pictures taken with the i-phones and i-pads. 

Let me introduce you to the Muffler Men from the old Rte 66 that I encountered.. From left, this guy stands in Livingston,IL in front of the Pink Elephant Antique Mall. The Harley Davidson guy was moved from Kansas and after arriving here, he was painted with the Harley Davidson name on his chest. I think it is pretty fitting that so many Harley Davidson motorcyle riders drive on the Old Rte 66. In Springfield,IL there is the "Lauterbach Tire men" whose head was decapitated back in 2006 by the Tornado that hit the area. Now with his head screwed back on, he holds an American Flag.  I wondered what he used to hold, maybe a giant wrench.  Next is  "The Hot Dog man" in Atlanta, IL this guy used to stand in front of the Bunyon's in Cicero from 1963 to 2003.  After the place closed it was moved to the Rte 66 in Atlanta and is now called "Tall Paul"  It still holds the giant hot dog from the days.  The last is the "Gemini Giant" of the Wilmington IL.  He stands at the corner of the parking lot at the Launching pad drive-ins (which is now closed and up for sale along with the Gemini Giant).  His rockets were stolen and had to be replaced twice. What would you do with the 8 foot long styrofoam rocket in your garage?
Since I had mentioned the Pink Elephant Antique Mall I wanted to share with you "The Pink Elephant" that stands in front.  It is visible from the Interstate and there is no way that you can miss it if you are driving on I-55.  If you would like to see it up close and personal get off at Exit 33 and take the frontage road.  As you can see it is painted bubble gum Pink.....If you would like to know the locations of the Muffler Men drop me a note, I can direct you to them.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mural Monday -- Have you ever had a feeling that something is watching you?

Well I sure did. I turned around to see what was there and here it was cold as a stone, just watching me with this eye.... It could easily have been over shadowed by the huge wall of murals right behind it, but its intensity was too strong.   W Lexington St. & S Cicero Ave.  Chicago, Il.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tasty Tuesday ... Blueberry Crepes

Please visit my food blog "Munchy Delight Adventure" where every week I will be posting images of yummy delights from my travels.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mural Monday --- Ben Slow in Los Angeles

I happened to see this wall art tucked away next to the Mexican fast food restaurant at the corner of Sunset Blvd. & Sanborn St. in Los Angeles. At first glance this looked like a magazine advertisement, but with closer examination the careful placement of the Red layer, the way the collage like image was put together I felt that this was a very calculated art work.  

It turned out that this work was done by Ben Slow a Mural artist from London. Here is a link to his blog where he talks about this piece. .http://www.slowbenart.com/new-endings-on-paper/

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thames to blame

London Eye at Night.  London England 2013

I hate tripods. Yes, me who takes many night and nature photography at very slow shutter speed, hate using it. Tripods are heavy to carry, I can't be spontaneous, it slows me down and sometimes I can't get the angle that I want.  But I love the results, crisp sharp images, the silky water and the blending of the moving lights are just mesmerizing to me. 
During my recent trip to London I didn't take my tripod because of the above reasons, but also because of the weight restrictions of the airlines. So what do I do when I see a subject that requires a slow shutter speed with long exposure?  In this particular instances I put my camera on a stone wall, propped the lens up with my scarf and used the timer. This was a 20 second exposure at F-14, ISO 200.  I think it turned out pretty nicely...
I was so intent on capturing the London Eye that by the time I was satisfied with the image I was left all alone on the banks of the Thames River.  After putting my camera away I hurried to the Underground station and hopped on to the tube (London subway).  I felt relieved and tired and was looking forward to getting into a warm bed. 
After a few minutes the tube stopped. I mean dead stopped between two stations.  I tried to stay calm, and in about 15 minutes it started moving again.  After getting to the next station, the announcer came on the intercom and announced that this would be the end of the ride and that there will be no more tubes running until signal problems were fixed.  We were to find another way to get to our destinations. What? I had several more stations to go.  How was I going to get back to my hotel?  I had a pass for all day tube ride to get around the city but No Cash.
I ran out of the station to orient myself as to where I was. However, since I had been taking the underground in London the surface streets meant nothing to me.  To make it worse, the streets were deserted.  By this time it was close to 10 pm and I was getting little scared. So I walked around the station until I started seeing some cars.  I figured that whether I had money or not the only way to get back to my hotel was to hail a cab.  So I waited for a cab to come by and when I saw one I waived frantically but it did not stop.  Another cab came by.  Again I waived but it did not stop.  Why weren’t they stopping?  Couldn’t they see me? Or did they think this lunatic, funny looking lady was too scary looking that they didn’t want to stop?  Or did they secretly know that I didn’t have any cash?

But I had to get back to my hotel.  I didn’t know which direction my hotel was and I didn’t have a phone that I could use in London.  So I started jumping up and down (with my camera bag jumping up and down with me) waving my arms to get their attention. Finally one cab driver saw me or felt sorry for me and he stopped.  Thank goodness. I told him which hotel I was staying at and I asked the driver if he could take me to the hotel in under 10 pounds. Can you believe this? I was negotiating with the cab driver; me who didn't have any cash on me.  As the cab was getting closer to the hotel I had to come up with a plan.  I could ran out of the cab just as he drove up at the hotel then... well that wasn't going to work.  Maybe if I pleaded with the front desk, they could pay the driver and charge it to my room?  Well that was as good as it was going to get.  Just as the hotel came into my view it occurred to me that I had put 20 pounds into my wallet for an emergency.  I had forgotten all about it. Thank goodness I remembered.  I gave the driver a huge tip and I didn’t have to embarrass myself at the front desk. Soon I was back in my room.  phew..... 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

All traffic on the Chicago River stops for the fountain.

We were all enjoying the beautiful evening on the dinner river cruise when suddenly we were stopped in the middle of the Chicago river.  As we looked toward the Trump Tower (building with the long blue antenna) we saw this huge fountain shooting from one side of the river to the other. It was all lite up with white light and we can see the trails of water coming down like a summer rain storm. There was one boat in  front of us also waiting for this beautiful show to be over.  It only lasted for 10 min. but what a sight, even though we were pretty far away, we could feel the spray of the water hitting us. The very next night, I decided to try photographing this scene with my camera this time on a tripod with very slow shutter speed. It turned out beautifully but I think this photo turned out better. Oh by the way, the next night I was shooting in the mist of thunder and lightning. I barely finished shooting right before the huge rain drops started coming down.  On top of that I was standing right next to the dark river at 11 pm alone.  I kept thinking if I missed a step and fell into the dark river no one would know....

Nicholas J. Melas Centennial Fountain,  North Bank of the Chicago River.  Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Landmark Mural

Until recently my nephew (just turned 9 yrs old) collected miniature models of famous landmarks from all over the world.  When I saw this mural I immediately thought of my nephew and had to stop and admire it. Because this mural seems to depict the twin towers of the World Trade Center I believe that this was probably painted before 2001.  If my assumption is correct, then it is amazing how the landmarks are still in tact compare to the top where the paints are flaking off.  But I think that this also adds to the charm of this piece; don't you think?  I also love that this has the monochromatic tone to it and everything is in a silhouette .... How many of the landmarks can you identify?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Start and End of the Route 66

The historic route 66 "BEGIN" sign stands at the corner of Michigan ave and Adams St. in Chicago Illinois. You can also find the "end 66" sign at the corner of Jackson and Michigan . Why not both on the same street? Well, Adams and Jackson are both one way streets where Adams runs to the west and Jackson runs to the east.  

At the end of the Route 66 is the Santa Monica Pier over the Pacific Ocean in California.   It is filled with amusement park rides and there is a small information booth dedicated to the end of the Route 66.  The actual end of the Route 66 is at Lincoln and Olympic, but there is no marker or anything special about the intersection. I am sure that if you have followed the true Rte 66 then it will be the place to end, but why not come and enjoy the festivities of the pier where Dan Rice was responsible for placing this "End of the Trail" sign at the pier.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I am hooked on old Rte 66. The Mother Road

As I travel Illinois Rte 66 this summer I am visiting many of the small towns on the route. I feel that this photograph represents many of them now. Once well traveled, the over 2,000 mile long road which starts at Chicago goes through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and to Santa Monica, California.  Now only the emptiness remains where once there was bustle and a busy road where people traveled with hopes and excitement.

Saturday, March 16, 2013