This week is a special one for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, celebrating its one-year anniversary, and we have been invited to choose our own subject. I’d like to do something completely different on this occasion and feature some pictures that my 10-year-old granddaughter took the other day at Navy Pier in downtown Chicago. She was using my SLR camera and did a fantastic job. The only contribution I made was to do a little cropping but the content and quality of the pictures are unaltered. I’m so happy that she is taking an active interest in photography and will do everything I can to encourage it.
This week, Cee is looking for ways to get around for her Fun Foto Challenge so here are a few things that people drive (ride, pilot or captain.)
Two images captured downtown on the Chicago River. With all the traffic on the roads, sometimes the quickest way to get around is on the river.
A horse of a different color; one on the carousel at Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota and the other at Arlington Park Race Track in Illinois.
And two cars on display at the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois. For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Things People Drive (ride, pilot or captain)
Working on the barges at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in Cairo, Illinois.
Working the tour boats on the San Antonio River in downtown San Antonio, Texas.
Working to keep us safe on Lake Michigan at the Air & Water Show in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Working to keep the lakes and gardens beautiful at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Up until recently I’ve usually made my trips to downtown Chicago on a weekday but the lure of the Metra weekend train pass got the better of me and this time I planned to venture down on a Saturday and Sunday. The fact that the Air & Water show was on, posed something of a challenge. Normally I would avoid big events such as this like the plague but since I’d never seen the A&W show and feeling rather adventurous I decided to take action and go ahead with the plan, and was I glad that I did!
I wasn’t, however, willing to walk all the way from Ogilvie Station to North Avenue Beach, the site of most of the day’s action, but I figured Oak Street Beach would still afford a pretty good view of things and I was right. I perched on a wall by the beach and stayed there (the place was so crowded I didn’t dare give up my spot.)
Although most of the action was in the air, the water provided one or two interesting shots as conditions on Lake Michigan were fairly choppy.
To be honest, I couldn’t actually see what I was photographing most of the time. I’d never taken shots of anything like this before and wasn’t prepared for how quick the action was, as the planes went zooming overhead.
So I just set the camera on automatic action and kept my finger on the button, hoping for the best. Not that I’m offering it as any kind of excuse for the poor quality of the images but, as you can see, the visibility wasn’t exactly at its best, although, thankfully, they did allow the smoke to clear somewhat every once in a while.
When I went back on Sunday I decided to skip going to the beach and walked down to Navy Pier via the River Walk, then south along by DuSable Harbor. Even then, I still got a good view of the aerial acrobatics although the water was a lot calmer by the harbor.
Thanks to Patti for setting the topic for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. For more on this challenge go to #9: Action
“We’re not going shopping!” I made this clear at the outset when granddaughter and I went for a day trip into downtown Chicago during her visit this summer. “This all about sightseeing, ” I told her.
Remember these words, dear reader. How futile are the best laid plans of a gullible grandparent when set against the machinations of a canny and resourceful nine-year-old.
Things started out well. We took the train to Ogilvie Station and stopped by the Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza. She slid down the shoulder of the iconic Chicago artwork a couple of times, as countless children have done before her, and then ran off to chase the pigeons. It’s funny how, at that age, girls want to act like an adult but very often behave like a five-year-old. I, on the other hand, quite frequently act like a spring chicken until my bones and bunions let me down and I feel more than twice my age!
I thought she might enjoy seeing the inside of the State of Illinois Center, or the James R Thompson Center as it’s now known, with all its lines and angles, so we crossed the street to take a look. I saw her eye the shiny glass capsules as they ascended to dizzying heights and by tacit agreement we made our way towards the nearest elevator door.
Disappointed that we were only allowed access to the 2nd floor she soon lost interest and we walked down towards Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park. It promised to be another scorching hot day so we sat for a while by the fountain at the Millennium Monument, listening to a jazz band playing beneath a nearby tent, while granddaughter dabbled her fingers in the water. Was this where the germ of a brilliant plan took shape? Quite possibly.
I was quite happy to remain there enjoying the music but granddaughter was ready to move on so we continued through the park, people-watching and gazing up at the Chicago skyline.
Young girls of a certain age who have achieved ‘princess’ status are, maybe not surprisingly, difficult to impress but sight of Cloud Gate, or The Bean as it’s more commonly called, drew a gratifying “Wow!” from the kid.
If you like this, I thought, wait till you see the Crown Fountains! As we made our way down to the lower level of the park we could hear the excited shrieks of small children and I could tell it had piqued the interested of a now rather warm and weary sightseer. “If you want to take your shoes and socks off, you can go for a paddle,” I told her. She quickly divested herself of the aforementioned footwear and, finding a seat where I could keep a close eye on the proceedings, I watched as granddaughter joined in the fun.
Bearing in mind that the only things I had in my backpack were a couple of bottles of water, a bag of Doritos and some spare camera equipment, it was inevitable that the following happened. Can you see where I’m going with this? The kid edged closer and closer to the smiling face on the fountain and, when the water suddenly gushed out from the pouting lips, she dived in.
My first reaction was to laugh but then the thought occurred to me ……. Wait! What! No! I had planned to go for lunch somewhere! You can’t exactly present the maître d’ with a sopping-wet child and ask for a table for two. I thought about calling her back but by this time she was as saturated as she could possibly be so I let her stay to enjoy a couple more cycles of the fountain. Eventually she returned with a sheepish grin. “Sorry, Grandma! I couldn’t help myself!”
There was nothing for it but to go in search of a clothes store. We headed back to State Street (there was no way I was paying Michigan Avenue prices for a dry outfit) and found a convenient Target shop. Everything from top to bloomers had to be replaced and eventually, after much deliberation and several trips to the changing room, we made our purchase and emerged back onto the street. Lunch at one of my favorite downtown restaurants followed and we were ready to continue exploring.
Back through Millennium Park we went, past the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and over the winding BP pedestrian bridge that crosses Columbus Drive and leads to Maggie Daley Park.
For someone who loves climbing, sliding and having lots of fun as much as our granddaughter, this is a kid’s paradise! We had reached the ultimate goal!
We rounded the day out with ice cream. I had my doubts when the kid asked for a double scoop on a cone, especially in that heat, and my fears were realized when, after only a few licks, the ice cream toppled to the ground. I’m not sure if I heard right but I chose to ignore the word that issued from those young lips. I couldn’t really blame her. Time to go home!
On our return to the station we stopped on the bridge over the Chicago River and waved to the tourists, some of whom waved back. Everyone was happy. I’d got to share one of my favorite places to visit and the ‘princess’ had gone shopping.
As the train pulled out of the station I could see granddaughter gazing intently at the window, not at the rapidly receding skyscrapers but, I suspect, at her own image in that new outfit. All was well.
Cheri Lucas Rowlands has given us Waiting as the subject for the Weekly Photo Challenge and it wasn’t too difficult to come up with a few images that I thought might give the impression of waiting for something or someone.
Island Queen, waiting to carry passengers from Bayfield in Wisconsin to the town of LaPointe on Madeline Island.
The train now waiting at platform 1 is on display at the National Railway Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
A horse-drawn wagon, waiting to take visitors back to the entrance of Wade House Historic Site in Greenbush, Wisconsin.
Waiting for the sun to rise in Nebraska. This image was captured from a fast-moving car as we traveled back home from Utah.
For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Waiting
The current subject for Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge is Boats and Ships. My earliest recollection of boats comes from when I was a small child and we went on a sightseeing trip down the river Thames in London. Since then my water-going experiences have been limited to a ferry-crossing to Mackinac Island, the occasional trip down the Chicago river, a couple of outings with the Des Plaines Yacht Club on Lake Opeka, and one or two other sightseeing excursions on rivers and lakes. I’ve never been on an ocean liner or cruise ship so I don’t know whether sea sickness would be a problem and since I’m never likely to find out, it will forever remain a question unanswered.
A ship and a boat at The Tall Ships Festival at Navy Pier in Chicago.
A boat docked in Sturgeon Bay, Door County in Wisconsin.
A sightseeing boat passing through the lock at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.
A ferry boat crossing over to Mackinac Island.
Competitors with the Des Plaines Yacht Club in a race on Lake Opeka.
Sightseeing boats making their way up the Chicago River.
For more on Nancy’s A Photo A Week Challenge go to A Photo a Week Challenge: Boats and Ships