Becky has returned with a new subject for her Square Photo Challenge which this month is Lines. The season is almost over for the Chicago Cubs and sadly Wrigley Field left field line will not feature in any of this year’s playoff games. The numbers on the score line just didn’t add up to enough wins to take the boys in blue through to a repeat of the 2016 series. Not only that, but they are now looking for a new manager. After taking the team to World Series victory three years ago, Joe Maddon will not be returning for the 2020 season. Hard lines!
Well, here’s something a bit different. I’ve never been to a girl’s softball game before, so last weekend we went up to Wisconsin to watch our eldest granddaughter play in a softball tournament. It seems like only yesterday that she was a toddler playing with her dollies and tea set and now she’s ten years old and ready to take on the world.
For the first couple of games, we choose to watch from a place of comparative safety behind the fence and sit back to enjoy what is, for us, a new experience. You have to admire the enthusiasm that these girls show, and I can’t help noticing that they’ve picked up one or two mannerisms, probably from watching major league baseball games on TV, although I somehow can’t imagine Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the others standing in the dugout singing “We are the Yankees, couldn’t be prouder! If you can’t hear us we’ll shout a little louder!” which the girls proceed to do until they reach an ear-splitting crescendo that scatters a flock of birds roosting in a nearby tree.
During the second game there is a lot to cheer about as the hits are coming fast and furious and we spend most of our time either clapping the team or slapping the mosquitoes that are evidently ravenous up in Wisconsin. By the end of the game we have scored 16 runs and a gazillion mosquito bites despite a liberal application of bug spray and Skin-So-Soft.
The next couple of games are played at another park, the field brand new, the playing surface pristine. I hadn’t planned on making a panoramic view of the field so I take pictures from all different angles and when I finally download the resulting shots and decide to stitch a couple together to give an idea of what the place looks like, I have one heck of a time trying to get things to line up.
It’s not easy to get a clear shot through the chain link fence so I opt to be a bit more adventurous and observe the game from along the left field line. My husband, who is rather more cautious, chooses a spot a bit further down at the end of the safety net.
“The ball will have to make a sharp turn for it to hit me,” he says as he settles down. Famous last words! Almost at the first crack of the bat, the ball comes hurtling towards us and makes a freaky wild turn. Luckily his reflexes are still pretty good and he gets a hand up to protect his head, the ball giving his palm a pretty sound wallop. I am very impressed by Wisconsin hospitality when a man comes running all the way from the other side of the field with an ice pack. There is a lot said about the rivalry between Illinois and Wisconsin and this good Samaritan wasn’t to know we were from Illinois but I’d like to think he would have extended us the same curtesy even had he been aware of the fact. Be that as it may, we are extremely grateful for this friendly gesture.
By the end of the fourth game our team has a 2-2 record. Granddaughter has played some excellent games at first base, got several key hits and has shown that she knows what to do when it comes to running the bases. It all comes down to the final game and our girl goes up to bat. After watching the ball whizz over her head and a few wild pitches outside that get away from the catcher, she gets knocked down by an inside pitch to the leg. She crumples in a heap and the coaches rush out as we hold our collective breath. They eventually get her to her feet and she hobbles to first base. She’s obviously in some pain but she doesn’t come out of the game and even steals second base. Attagirl!
They end up winning the game and then I find out that the first game that they lost wasn’t part of the tournament so they are actually 3-1. Hooray!! They make it into the Championship game which is being held this weekend. That was one wild and crazy tournament! Unfortunately we won’t be able to make the game but we’ll be there in spirit.
Thanks to Tina over at Travels & Trifles for picking the Wild topic for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.
There’s only one way from here and that’s down. A brave soul going down the slope at the year-round ski jump facility of the Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, Illinois. For more on Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge go to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – June 23, 2017
This week Cee invites us to take a view from the side for her Fun Foto Challenge. I try to take pictures from as many different angles as possible which includes from the side.
Side view of one of the heads sculpted by Jaume Plensa, on display at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.
Two yachts racing side by side at Lake Opeka in Des Plaines.
An interesting mural on the side of a building in Lexington, Kentucky.
The side of a vintage car at Bluesmobile Cruise Night in Mount Prospect.
A side view of the great Mackinac Bridge in Michigan.
A wild turkey showing its best side at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/03/14/cees-fun-foto-challenge-view-from-the-side/
Every summer I walk, optimistically, through the gates at Arlington Park racetrack and wonder what the odds are of me picking a winner. It doesn’t happen very often, probably because I have my own method of selecting the horse most likely to be first past the winning post. I go through the program and look for names. If it’s catchy, great! If it includes a family name, like Uncle Charlie’s Fortune, even better! Never mind that it’s a rank outsider (it usually is.) That’s the one my $2 is going on. And not just to place. It’s going to win. Maybe.
Once I’ve put the bet on and it’s too late to do anything about it, I go down to the enclosure to see what my chosen horse looks like. As they parade past, I check out the numbers, hoping that mine is the one that looks full of pep and ready to go. More often than not it turns out to be the horse that they had to wake up in order to push it out of the stalls.
There’s mine. It may appear like the person leading it out has more energy but never mind. Even if the horse looks like it’s really not planning on running today, perhaps the jockey is wearing the right colors. Purple would be good.
Alright!! Hope springs eternal and I dash off to watch the horses make their way onto the course and out towards the starting gate. I silently plead with my nag not to exhaust itself by galloping about too much before the off. Take a nice gentle trot out there, would be my advice. I once picked a horse that got all the way to the start and then had to come back to get some piece of equipment checked out. By the time it got back to the start again, it had lost all interest in the proceedings and sauntered home in last place.
My horse is usually the last one to be coaxed into the starting gate. It has other ideas. It has decided to retire from racing and become a show pony. The others are becoming impatient but finally Uncle Charlie’s Fortune is persuaded to participate in the event. Could this be my lucky race? Will I be the first in line with a winning ticket? Not likely. My pick, which is supposedly running in the 2-o-clock, might be lucky if it finishes amongst the runners in the 3-o-clock!
At last they’re under starters orders and they’re off! Last one into the gate and last one out. Good old Uncle Charlie. But what’s this? All of a sudden the old war horse has caught the whiff of battle and is gradually creeping up closer to the front runners. What once seemed an impossible dream is now becoming a reality and as they come spinning out of the turn, Uncle Charlie has fought his way into the lead and hangs on to win it by a nose. At 100-1 and against all the odds, Uncle Charlie is bringing home the bacon.
For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/against-the-odds/
If you want to know what it takes to climb Hidden Peak (elevation 11,000ft) at Snowbird in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, take a look at this picture of some of the legs and feet (and heart) that made it to the top during the Wasatch 100 endurance race last year.
If you recognize yours among these, let me say, “Congratulations!” That was an amazing accomplishment! We took the easy way up, by aerial tram. I consider myself fairly reserved but I couldn’t help cheering as these hardy souls, some walking, some biking, a few even carrying their bikes, made it to the finish line.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/08/09/cees-fun-foto-challenge-legs-and-feet/
If, as Cee points out, every well-composed photo has a main subject, then I certainly had trouble staying focused on the principal topic of my images while at the marathon race at Snowbird in Utah recently. It was difficult not to get distracted by the surrounding scenery which was breathtaking in itself. Still, I felt the challenge that these competitors faced, biking and hiking all the way up Hidden Peak, could only really be appreciated if some of the rough terrain was included.
With this picture I took a much wider angle of the final stage of the race, I suspect more for a shot of the view rather than the participants.
Going back, I cropped the image to focus more on the cyclist, while leaving some of the mountains in the background to give an idea of the height of the peak.
Most of the time, however, I zoomed in on the people rather than the scenery.
Cee also asks us to share images that illustrate three emotions; happiness, sadness and beauty or inspiration.
This photo of my grandson always makes me smile. I hope he will always be as happy as he has made me.
An image captured at an American Lung Association Fight For Air walk. It made me sad to see the names of so many people who had lost their lives due to various forms of lung disease, much of it caused by smoking, a problem which our own family has had to confront over the years. Almost all the people participating in the walk had been touched by this tragedy in one way or another.
The beauty of this scene at Arches National Park just took my breath away. Not only was it awe-inspiring but also very humbling.
For more on Cee’s most instructive and helpful tips on her Compose Yourself Challenge go to http://ceenphotography.com/2015/10/07/cees-compose-yourself-challenge-week-2-what-all-well-composed-photos-have-in-common/
Continuing on the numbers theme, this week’s Fun Foto Challenge on Cee’s Photography Blog calls for Three Items or The Number 3.
Three water fountains in the Rose Garden at Cantigny Park.
Three road wheels on a tank at the First Division Museum in Cantigny Park.
Three butterflies enjoying some purple flowers.
Lucky number 3! A racehorse at Arlington Park.
Three fish cruising in the waters of the Garden of Reflections at the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to http://ceenphotography.com/2015/06/23/cees-fun-foto-challenge-three-items-for-the-number-three/
Earlier this year the circus came to town in the form of the NFL Draft. The Draft is always held in the Off-Season and, since this was the first time in 50 years that it had been held in Chicago, I thought it would be worth taking a few pictures. Thankfully, Krista at The Daily Post has provided the ideal opportunity for me to share some of these images.
Eyes on the prize; during the Off-Season we’re always hopeful that the ‘Bears’ can finally field a team that will come away with the trophy. Unfortunately we always seem to end up saying, “Wait till next season.”
Inside one of the structures in Grant Park, large screens show the latest picks with all the facts and figures.
The commentators seemed to be enjoying themselves. I’m not sure who they are but I have a feeling the guy on the right has something to do with the Northwestern University football team.
The distinctive logo of the Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s on a helmet displayed at Pioneer Court on Michigan Avenue along with others from around the league.
The weather was better then, at the end of April, than it has been recently, and the crowds were enjoying a leisurely stroll around all the attractions in Grant Park.
For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge on The Daily Post go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/off-season/
Don’t get me started on hats! Whatever happened to that essential fashion accessory that always finished off any ensemble so perfectly? Even when our girls were growing up we used to love going to the local department stores to try on all the fancy hats. Sometimes they looked really good, other times we just had a laugh. Of course people still wear hats but they are rarely worn as a fashion statement. (I don’t count baseball caps as fashion accessories, especially for women.)
Some of the hats that you see today are worn strictly for ceremonial occasions or as part of an ethnic costume; dancers performing with the Ballet Folklorico in Elgin, a participant in the Polish Parade on Columbus Drive in Chicago and a Knight of Columbus forming part of the honor guard at a religious ceremony held in Grant Park, Chicago, for example.
Some hats are worn more for protection. Whether you’re swooshing down the slopes of the year-round ski slopes at Fox River Grove or riding a favorite in the 1 o’clock at Arlington Park you need the right kind of headwear.
When you’re a kid, and more importantly a princess, you can get away with anything. At this age everything looks cute.
Looking back at some of our old family photos I came across one taken at my grand-aunt’s wedding in 1911. For the purpose of illustrating the theme Hats I’ve extracted some individual portraits from the group. Now these ladies really knew something about hats!
For more on Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge on Where’s My Backpack? go to http://wheresmybackpack.com/2015/05/15/travel-theme-hats/