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, Tina has chosen Serenity as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Whenever I hear the word serenity I always think of the peace and tranquility of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett. Both inside and out, the atmosphere here is quite serene. I especially like to hear the gentle chanting inside the Mandir during prayer ceremonies and the tinkling of the little bells at the top of the towers. These pictures were taken on a cold, sunny day in March of last year.
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.
This week, Patti has chosen Street Art as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge so I decided to revisit my trip to downtown Chicago for the Air & Water Show last summer. There is always so much to see in the city and you can bet you will come across some street art in one form or another. Thirty-three of these brightly-painted police dogs, placed mostly along the Magnificent Mile, helped to raise money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
This week, Patti has chosen History as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Coming from a country so rich in history, I deeply regret not taking up photography while I was still living in England. From the majesty of London’s past with its towers, bridges and cathedrals to the Roman ruins of Verulamium in St. Albans and the mysteries of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, I saw all these historic places yet have nothing to show for it, at least no pictures for which I can take credit. A few years after arriving in Chicago my husband bought me my first SLR camera and ever since then I’ve tried to document all the places of interest that we’ve seen, if for no other reason than to look back at the images in the years to come, perhaps with the grandkids and hopefully their families, and say, “This is part of your country’s history.”
An important part of Chicago’s history was the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. It destroyed so much of what had gone before but led to one of the greatest revival stories in American history. The sculpture shown above is part of the southern bridgehouse of Du Sable Bridge or the Michigan Avenue Bridge as it is more commonly known. Entitled ‘Regeneration’ and created by Henry Hering, it shows workers rebuilding Chicago after the Great Fire. Below is the iconic Chicago Water Tower, the only public building to survive the fire.
On a recent trip to Texas we visited another of America’s famous historic sites, The Alamo in San Antonio. I don’t pretend to understand the rights, wrongs or reasons for many of the wars that have been fought, down through the ages but, as in all battles, men died at the Alamo fighting for a cause that they believed in.
South Dakota has its share of historic sites, even prehistoric ones, including the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs and the Indian Village archaeological site in Mitchell. Something a little more recent, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, designed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, depicts four U.S. Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln representing the birth, growth, development and preservation of the United States.
Speaking of Abraham Lincoln, one of the first places I photographed when I got my Minolta film camera was the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. Later images captured with a Canon EOS Rebel show the old State Capitol Building and Lincoln’s law offices, both in Springfield.
This week, Amy has chosen Architecture as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I like to visit historic houses when we go traveling so there are lots of building images in the photo files but for this challenge I decided to go with just a few examples of architecture close to home that, for me, stand out in the crowd. The first building is the Ward W. Willits House in Highland Park, Illinois, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1901.
Next up is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, Illinois. This place always takes my breath away, it’s so beautiful! And the facts and figures involved in the building of this architectural marvel are mind-boggling. The limestone and marble stones were quarried in Turkey and Italy and shipped to India where 70,000 cubic feet of stone was carved by 2,000 craftsmen. 40,000 pieces were then shipped to Bartlett where they were fitted together over a period of 16 months.
I love the architecture in Evanston and especially on the Campus of Northwestern University. Perhaps it’s because it reminds me a little bit of the college towns back home.
Another impressive piece of architecture that incorporates all kinds of symbolism is the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois.
One of the wonderful things about downtown Chicago is the diversity of its architecture, an interesting blend of the ornate past with the bold lines of present-day designs.
I’m a city girl at heart and although I’ve lived in the suburbs for many years now, there’s nothing I love better than a trip downtown, which is why I was so pleased to see the subject for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Cityscapes. Many thanks to Patti for providing us with this challenge. Although I was born in London, I now live near another great city, Chicago, which is where these images were captured.
For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to Cityscapes.