This week, guest host, I. J. Khanewala, is looking at The Ordinary as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Whilst walking round the track at our local gym last week, I couldn’t help thinking that this ordinary piece of exercise equipment bore a strong resemblance to the praying mantis in our garden, only on a much larger scale. Once the idea got into my head, it persisted until finally I had to stop and whip out the phone to take a picture.
This week, Cee is featuring metal art as she hosts the Photographing Public Art Challenge. I found some interesting pieces of artwork, some of which were made of metal, at Sinnissippi Gardens in Rockford the other day. I don’t know if the last image qualifies as artwork but I like to think of it as such, with the artist using flowers as their medium.
This week, Cee is looking for Fences and Gates for her Black & White Photo Challenge. We came across an interesting set of gates leading to the Fabyan Villa Museum along the Fox River in Batavia. Colonel and Nelle Fabyan’s 300 acre country estate was called Riverbank and included a working lighthouse, a windmill and a private zoo as well as gardens, a swimming pool and tennis courts. They hired Frank Lloyd Wright to enlarge and re-model the existing farmhouse in 1907 and the Villa then became their home until 1939. The museum is open to the public on Wednesdays and Sundays from 1pm – 4pm.
In response to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, I go under and over the mighty Mackinac Bridge in Michigan.
This week, Ann-Christine has chosen Feet and Shoes as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. There was some fancy footwear and footwork at the 63rd Annual Chicago Powwow In Busse Woods, Illinois.
For those of you who are interested, the 68th Annual Chicago Powwow will be held on October 8/9/10 2021 at Schiller Woods, Chicago. If you’re in the area and are looking for something to do, I can highly recommend seeing this event.
Some Yellow beauties from the Chicago Botanic Garden and Volo Auto Museum for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.
This week, guest host, Anne Sandler, has asked us to look at the world in Black and White for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. She also asks us to describe the process by which we convert our pictures to black and white images, so I thought it might be helpful to show both the original picture and the processed image. I don’t have an expensive camera or a lot of fancy software for doing this kind of work but what I have seems to be sufficient. For the first two b/w images I opened the originals in Microsoft Digital Image, converted them to black & white then made lighter and darker versions of both pictures. After that I sent them over to Canon Digital Photo Professional and put them through the HDR processor then sent the resulting images back to Digital Image for a final spruce up. Do I really know what I’m doing? Heck no! But I like the results. I find that the lack of color helps to focus the eye on the bold lines of the architecture.
The next two images were converted solely with the Digital Image software. I’ve used this program for years and it’s done the job remarkably well. Of course there are some things that it can’t do but I can live without all those extra features.
Here are two recent images from the photo files that really caught my eye and which I thought would work well for the theme of Orange in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week. Captured in our garden and at Volo Auto Museum.
This week, Patti is challenging us to pick a color and go from large to small for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I decided on blue for the color and took Chicago as the setting. Plenty of blue in the big city beginning with blue skies reflected in the waters of Lake Michigan.
Overlooking the lake, on Michigan Avenue, the Roosevelt University building really stands out in the crowd.
Next up, the Evening Star, built in 2001, part of the Shoreline Sightseeing fleet, offers Architecture and Classic Lake Tours on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.
If you have ever visited the Art Institute in Chicago, you will probably have seen Marc Chagall’s ‘American Windows’ which debuted there in 1977 and were made famous 10 years later by an appearance in the film ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’
The skies may not have been blue the last time I went to the Air & Water Show downtown but there were a few blue umbrellas to keep the rain off.
It’s always nice to see a swath of blue in the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park. I’ve really missed my trips downtown this past year but I’m hoping to make the trip again soon, once I figure out how the trains are running now that things are slowly returning to pre-COVID conditions.
No piece about The Windy City would be complete without mention of the Chicago Cubs and cubbie blue. Even long- time rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, were decked out in blue.
I’m now down to the smallest blue items for this topic which are paperweights at the Chicago Art Institute, some of the 1,400 paperweights in the Arthur Rubloff Collection.
This week, Amy has asked us to recount our Photography Journey. Mine has been a long and varied one. Starting in England, it probably began in the late 1950’s when I appropriated my parents’ Kodak Brownie camera. My subjects were usually my dear Mum and Dad but when they weren’t available, I’d sneak up on the dog.
Although I liked the results that I got from the Brownie, there were so few pictures on a roll of film and I later switched to the smaller format of the Kodak Instamatic, only using the Brownie on the odd occasion. The pictures weren’t anywhere near as satisfactory but evidently quantity took precedence over quality in those days. Black and white eventually gave way to glorious color and in the late 1960’s the lens was focused mainly on my eldest daughter and my parents’ garden, with occasional visits to Whipsnade Zoo.
I brought both the Brownie and the Instamatic with me when we came to live in the US in 1973 and continued to use them to capture our family’s early days in Chicago. But I wanted more! I longed for a camera where I could change the lenses and add filters and swagger about in a photographer’s vest, pretending to know what I was doing. Then in 1987, my husband bought me a Minolta X-370 and, so that I might give it a good test run, we took a trip to Niagara Falls and, later that summer, to the Badlands in South Dakota. During subsequent years it accompanied us to Virginia Beach, Wisconsin, Iowa and Florida amongst other places.
I experimented for a while with a Polaroid camera but, although it was useful for those situations when you needed the picture right then and there, the results were disappointing to say the least and the novelty soon wore off. I even branched out with a Super 8 movie camera but the short duration of the film, the high cost of processing and the fact that it had no sound were not in its favor.
My first foray into digital photography was in 2002 with a Canon Elph. Wow! What a revelation! No more eking out pictures on a roll of film and saving what I could spare from the housekeeping to get them developed, only to find that half of them were duds. Digital photography was here to stay, thank goodness!
Later I received the gift of a Canon EOS Rebel. Since then, I’ve upgraded to a newer model and rarely go anywhere without it. I’ve tried to vary the content of my pictures but I suppose nature is my preferred subject, although the family photo files take up quite a bit of space on the hard drive. Over the years I’ve belonged to a couple of camera clubs and learned quite a lot about composition and presentation from my time there, but I never could get the hang of f-stops and metering and technical stuff like that. These days I usually set the camera on automatic and hope for the best.
The last two images were, I thought, especially appropriate for this challenge, the first picture being of our youngest granddaughter taken just days after she was born in 2019 and the second of my dear mother taken two years before she passed away in 2011, at the age of 96, both the focus of much of my photographic journey.