Most people see a puddle with a little weedy grass growing out of a crack in the sidewalk/pavement. When I walked past this spot I saw a miniature island paradise complete with sunshine peaking out of a few clouds in blue skies. I am ever the optimist. I look imaginatively at people and things.
Chicago is FLAT unless you include concrete overpasses and underpasses. Starved Rock State Park is a short two-hour drive west from my hometown flatland. The change in environment is extreme and refreshing. Also, it is exhausting for Chicagoans’ muscles used to walking flatland. So, while I rest my arthritic knee and other stressed body parts, I will share some this area’s splendor. My aches are welcome remnants of time well spent; my body will heal and my memories will last for ages.
Some images are from the nearby Matthiessen State Park which we visited as well thanks to the strong recommendation of our daughter. Both Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks in Illinois are results of glacial movement south and then melting and retreat. These parks are witness to natures’ strength and constant change.
I first became aware of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) when I toured a perennial farm outside of Racine Wisconsin. They recommended it as dependable, colorful addition to any perennial Midwest garden. The native plants in this image adjoin the migratory bird preserve in Lincoln Park, along Lake Michigan. Their presence, just a few blocks from our new condo, makes me feel more at home in this bustling urban neighborhood.
These images show more context of Jerusalem Artichoke to their environment and stages of bloom than the previous single image with the spider and dangling petal. Jerusalem Artichokes are one of a multitude of late-summer, early fall, sunflowers.
For those that like to eat what they grow, check out the following site: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vegetables/growing-jerusalem-artichokes-zmaz10onzraw.
I am testing out, enjoying, my new Olympus TG-4 with it’s macro setting. Amazing! I set it to focus on the center square, then I can rearrange the composition before fully pressing the shutter.
One’s appearance changes as one’s point of view shifts. This is true for persons as well as other objects observed. Photographic portraits seem, by the nature of being a photograph, to depict the subject in an unbiased, impartial manner. Other, non-photographic portraits are mere “likenesses”, “representations”, “portrayals”, or “depictions”. The latter portraits may not be seen as exact and true. All portraits can be insightful into the essence of a being (animal or plant).
The images here show different characteristics of this Lotus. The overall image provides background information; it tells where the flower is in relation to its setting. The closer images show details of this species. Most portraits are straightforward in pose; a back view tells yet another story of this same flower. Which image is most demonstrative is always dependent on the viewer.
Getting down to a child’s eye level is the best way to appreciate them. Children are less intimidated when you’re at their level inviting an opportunity for them to open up to new ideas and share their thinking. This learned lesson from years as a teacher, is similarly applicable when photographing wildlife.
An eye level view with spring wild flowers is worth a little dirt on the knees. Tip One: wear long pants to avoid irritations and be careful to not crush your subjects. The forest floor is plentiful with blooms this spring. I’m unsure if it is a result of restoration in this area, or if the temperatures and precipitation were perfect for such abundance.
These images of the native White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)
show a top and inside view of its flower. The inside view of the flower is only possible from a ground level perspective because the plant is only 5-6 inches tall and the flower faces downward when open. Tip Two: spend a few extra minutes getting to know other low growing (and moving) wildlife while at your new vantage point.
See “It’s Complicated” posted October 2013 for more information about the White Trout Lily.
This is a day that finds me most aware of my the many blessings in my life. Some are large and obvious to many. Some are small and would easily go unnoticed if I had not taken some quiet moments to not think about myself. A blessed Easter or Passover to you. Happy Spring to everyone; may springtime awaken your senses and help you realize the great wonders around you.