Back in mid October, my father and journeyed to Devil’s Lake, a state park in Wisconsin. It was a cloudy fall day and a bit chilly. We’d heard some less than accurate information about a nice, smooth path around the entire lake, so we decided to circumnavigate the lake first. It was not a nice, smooth path. We ended up losing the path at one point and followed the railroad tracks back to the parking area. Closer to the start of the path, there was a rugged area with lovely purplish rocks and some plants sporting fall color.
We grabbed a quick lunch at the visitor’s center, and decided we wanted to find the rock feature known as Devil’s Doorway. The trail was rugged. In some areas, we had trouble discerning where the path was. Getting down the final hill to Devil’s Doorway proved to be especially difficult. Dad remained at the top. I went down myself, being sure to keep my back to the hill and my face towards the edge of the cliff as there is nothing to prevent hikers from falling off the edge. Being out on that ledge was beautiful – up there by myself like my own little world (well, with the occasional other hiker). I could see the entire lake, and the doorway itself is a unique feature.
Next Time: Fall Catch-Up
I actually did three shoots this fall. Time to edit and post them. Lots of catching up to do.
When I was young, my Dad’s mother would frequently mention visiting a place called the House of David as a child. My Aunt and Uncle spent the most time with her in her final years and investigated the history. Basically, there was a cult in the area that ran sort of an amusement park. They had small trains you could ride, ice cream, a greenhouse, a zoo, bands (yes, jazz), and you could also get your picture taken. My immigrant great-grandparents took their kids to this park for fun about 100 years ago.
We were all in the area in July of 2021 for a family reunion. My Aunt and Uncle drove out to the remains of the park with my sister and I. Despite its largely derelict and abandon state, the park is open to the public – mostly as Eden Springs campground. It was misting a light rain, but we were able to spend some time exploring the area.
The men of the House of David were known for their long hair and beards. We only saw one long haired life form out mousing around. Probably dual rolls in pest control and greeting.
There is a slow movement by a non-profit group to restore the park. Many of the buildings are literally falling apart. Some are all fixed up and quite lovely.
The train station is functional, and the small trains now run occasionally.
It appears not all of the original train track is presently in use.
We also saw this old, abandoned electrical tower.
A stone wall and staircase led downhill to the remnants of a large cement pad where they used to hold dances. Research indicates they had a regular Polka night. Grandma loved Polka. She probably danced there.
If you’re curious about the House of David and the history of the place, you can visit their website:
The campground also has a website:
Finally posting my annual macro outing from April! It was a quick trip out to a local park on an unusually nice day. Flower prospects could have been a bit better. I was also testing a new tripod and boots for my trip in May. I still have an attachment to that lens and need to use it at least once or twice a year.
I went to Ohio on vacation in May, so I have some waterfall pictures from that trip. Hopefully, I can get them edited soon. I’d also like to do a still life for June.
Today is officially the first day of winter. Does that also mean yesterday was the last day of fall? Didn’t fall end more than a month ago? I considered this early November outing to be my goodbye to fall this year.
The first park I went to that day was pretty bleak. Almost all the leaves were already down.
So I moved on to another nearby park. I wandered and took in the end of the season: the trees turned colors or bare, the dry prairie, the late afternoon light. I parted with the day and the season. My last fall shoot of the year is almost a ritual. Hopefully, finishing my editing and blogging it will help me prepare for the end of 2021. In a way it feels like 2020 and 2021 were one big long very weird year. In another way, it feels like 2021 is ending before it even got going. Whatever the feeling at the moment, it’s time to reflect and part ways with 2021.
Hopefully, I’ll still get a Christmas post in this year. What I have planned would be more appropriate for solstice. I’ve been to some outdoor light shows at parks in my area.
Time flies, and I am a few weeks behind posting. These were taken at a nearby park in late October.
I know I haven’t posted in a while. There’s been a lot to keep me busy lately, so I focused on making sure the photos exist. Seasons are fleeting. I can always edit and post later.
Dad and I journeyed to Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin. It was the first time we’d hiked a state park in Wisconsin. They’re a little different than what we’re used to, and our map reading and navigational skills were rusty. We got lost. Eventually, we found the waterfall. It’s an odd one: one big rock with a stream trickling over it.
We hung around the “canyon” for a bit.
When we were done at the waterfall, we headed out the scenic route. Not only was it prettier, but it didn’t involve a tall, slippery stone, uh, “staircase”. Dad was happy about both of those qualifications.
We decided the “scenic route” to the waterfall is the most photogenic part of the park, and we should return in the future. Hopefully, we won’t get lost next time.
In mid August, I went for my first hike since foot surgery. Hot weather and time constraints kept me from venturing out sooner. Returning to my favorite woods after a couple months felt like a long awaited breath of fresh air. As I walked along the familiar trails late that afternoon, I felt summer fading away.
The sun was low and the late summer flowers were moving gently in a light breeze.
I continued on to my favorite spring wildflower site. It was now overgrown with nothing but green. Fall will change it, and winter will change it again. Summer is certainly the least photogenic season for that area of the park. It makes me want fall.
However, as I continued out of the park, the fading sun and fading milkweed made me realize I should enjoy the season presently slipping through my fingers.
I stayed late and photographed the moon at dusk. Remind me not to rush ahead thinking the next season of life will make all things better. Remind me to stop and enjoy the good in what I have now. If I rush through life, I will miss so much texture, so much joy, and so much beauty.
My apologies for not blogging in October. I will have to blog twice in November to make up for it. Fortunately, I’ve been out to shoot three times since I last blogged, so I have material.
My first shoot for the fall was at a local forest preserve I enjoy. There was lots of colorful ivy on the trees.
One of my favorite things about going out in nature is that it is always changing and full of detail. There is always something different, something I haven’t seen before or haven’t seen in this light. To me, this tree trunk looks like the head of an animal with its mouth open. What do you think?
I don’t think I’ve ever photographed the pond much, but I liked it that day. I liked all the leaves blowing in the wind and the late afternoon sun.
I hope you were able to get out and enjoy some lovely fall scenery where ever you live.
Time-wise, at this point I’m just going to say I’ll do two posts this month to catch up. Anyway, to the blog.
May first was the first day local forest preserves in my area were officially open (COVID-19). Earlier in the year, you could park outside and walk in. Dad had been itching to go out for some time, I wanted to do wildflower macro, and Mom was worried Dad would be mauled by coyotes. With parks officially open, Dad and I decided to meet at a forest preserve we’d never been to, but many members of the photo club recommended. Mom was OK with this. Upon arriving, Dad did not see anything that interested him. We did see several people. No coyotes. We agreed to reconvene later at Dad’s favorite spot across town. I stayed and got in my annual spring macro wildflower shoot. Different species this time, but still a nice day.
Later in the day, Dad and I met at his favorite forest preserve. The scene he was watching wasn’t right for the shot he was trying to get. I had walked down the road to and from his point of interest instead of driving because I wanted the exorcise. I found an interesting stump on the side of road. Dad was curious about what I was photographing. He decided he wanted to photograph it too. Waiting for him to get his gear set up, I decided to take a few more shots and see if I could get something I liked better. This was the result. I haven’t seen his yet.
It’s June. It’s Dairy Month. As a former 4-H kid, it is my duty to make milk look good to you this month.
A few weeks back, I went out to a more distant, more in-town kind of park. It is in another city not too far from me. The weather that days was not the best. Dark, cloudy, and somewhat windy. It had snowed recently, then mostly thawed. I had missed peak color. We actually had snow on Halloween and several times after. Not good for any outdoor fall activity. I had to make compromises with ISO and shutter speed. Most of the photos are OK for the blog, but they wouldn’t do well as sizable prints.
Many of the trees along the river were bare.
Oddly enough, the geese cooperated.
The flag above the trees.
I found a stationary subject, so I walked back to the car and got my tripod. Worth it. I like the curve and the way the fungus is on it.
Happy Thanksgiving! Sort of a cultural farewell to fall, or more like the day when we temporarily extract our heads from our Santa hats to give thanks and eat turkey before plunging into Christmas for the next entire month. Naturally, I plan to do a Christmas post next month.
I woke up this morning to find a thin, fresh layer of snow on the roads. It is the middle of April. This should not be. I want spring, and so does everyone else. We are in protest. My boss reportedly put his snow blower away weeks ago. I am not washing any more winter outerwear until I can put it away for the summer. The daffodils are trying, but they keep getting snowed on. Too bad. Some flowers would be really nice right now.
About a week ago after exercise class, I was commiserating with some ladies in the class. One said there were flowers at a local park. From her description, I was hoping they’d be grape hyacinths, but at this point, I’m not picky. There were two colors of what I believe are Scilla and some little yellow flowers. Quite small. I should have brought the macro, but the park is in a so-so area of town, so I was a bit insecure about it.
Old grass and leaves from the winter were still hanging on and refusing seasonal change.
There were ducks in the large cement water feature. It used to be more of a natural pond when I was young, but now it looks like a fountain close to the greenhouse and main gardens and rather like an industrial drainage ditch as you get farther away. The ducks don’t seem to mind though.
The whole world is full of both change and consistency, and here I am wanting to rush one thing on while complaining that another has changed. There will be beauty in the future, but there is also beauty now.
Back when I went to go see the steam engine, I found some of buildings in the area interesting. After the train left, I took a couple of photos. Since they didn’t fit with the train post, I saved them for a week when I was in the middle of a non-photo project and didn’t get around to shooting anything. Well, that’s been the last three weeks. I really did want to post them though. I love the stained glass awning.
A short distance from my home, there is a park with a lake. One lovely weekend morning, I decided to go walk the path by the lake. Morning or not, may other people were up and about fishing, biking, camping, and hiking. Maybe I should have gone out earlier – less crowding and better light. But it was still a pleasant excursion.
I liked the way the light was hitting the new foliage on these trees.
Farther down the path, I spotted these lovely wildflowers.
Humans weren’t the only ones out. Mommy duck and her babies were hanging out in the shade looking for food as the day got hotter.
Next Time: Milk
Yes, milk. June is Dairy Month, and I was a Midwestern 4-H kid for 10 years (no, I didn’t have any animals, not even a cat at the time). This means I spent the entire month of June promoting dairy like crazy for 10 years straight. I’ve never quite forgotten it.
Last month, the local photo club decided to visit Yerkes Observatory. It is connected with the University of Chicago, but located in a small town in Wisconsin. Built in 1895, it houses what was the largest telescope of the time. Many astrophysicists studied there over the years. Albert Einstein even visited in the early 1920s. You can read more about the observatory here: http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/
We began with an educational tour and a look at the telescope itself. Not the best conditions for photography, but I had to get a few shots.
The floor in the telescope area moves up and down. During the tour, we were sitting on the edges of the building, which remain stationary. Our guide announced that he would go over to the desk and raise the center floor while whistling the theme from Star Trek. He was rather good at it. Here is the somewhat Original Series looking control desk.
After lunch, Dad and I stuck around for exterior photographs. This is the largest dome anong with the entryway to the building.
On the other end, there are two smaller domes and more ornate carvings.
Dad wanted to stick around and see if the sun would come out. While waiting, I photographed some of the carving on the entryway pillars. The Satyr is a caricature of Mr. Yerkes. According to the tour guide, he was one of the not so well-loved wealthy industrialists of his time. He built the observatory to improve his image with the public, which is why it is such a grand building.
The architect was a bit eccentric. No one knows what all the caricatures and symbols on the building mean because he had his son burn his papers upon his death. He also made fun of Rockefeller. Originally, there was a bee stinging Rockefeller’s nose, but he visited the observatory, and the powers that be thought they should have all the bees chiseled off the columns before he arrived.
Moons, stars, and the man in the moon also grace the pillars.
Wandering around the building, I noticed that the side doors were not as well-kept as the fronts – not at all. This did not surprise me, as I imaging keeping up a grand old building of that size is a challenge. The peeling paint and old door knob had a nice rustic quality about them, so I thought they’d make an interesting shot.
Finally, Dad got what he was waiting for. The sun came out.
Next Time: Flowers or Old Camera
Spring is coming slowly. If it doesn’t come fast enough, I’ve purchased an old Kodak folding Autograph and an Argus I’d like to do posts on sometime.
Several weeks ago, I went out for my last Fall shoot of the year. There wasn’t much left, but the colors were vibrant.
I’d planned it to be much more. A few days of vacation to take from work that month were supposed to be a long weekend for two parks and an architecture shoot. It rained until the last day. Fortunately, that last day was a great one. Sunny, not too hot, and enough rain to make falls that aren’t always there flow steady. Dad came with and managed to haul all his gear (he shoots 4X5 film) up and down long staircases and around waterfalls through steep and narrow trails.
In the morning, we only saw a few smaller falls.
My research on the park paid off for our afternoon hike. Two more out of the way canyons with three waterfalls total.
Also some lovely rock formations. One almost looks like a person emerging from a cave.
Camera or Necklaces
Earlier this month, my family and I took a trip to Michigan. Dad and I went to explore and photograph Sleeping Bear Dunes for a day. Dunes are new to me. I’m used to hiking in woodlands or prairies with black dirt and limestone.
Dad, on the other hand, grew up near the beach and close enough to a different set of dunes in southwestern Michigan. He takes to them both like second nature – skipping stones and scaling dunes despite the wind.
We spent most of the morning and early afternoon scouting out the place, then came back to some of the more interesting spots later in the day. This is particularly important for Dad, since he shoots 4X5 and has a lot of gear to haul.
Eventually, he settled on an old Coast Guard station and museum in the area. I took a few pictures of the place as well.
Overall, we had a good long day out. I hope to go back and explore it some more next year.
Next Time: Waterfalls
Photos from the expedition to Starved Rock.