The photographic explorations of a former film student.

Posts tagged “park

Labor Day Outing

I hadn’t been our to shoot for a while, so I went our on Labor Day to warm up a bit for the fall photo season. A few stray branches were starting to turn a little bit, but it was still mostly summer vegetation.

This bush has a few red leaves, but mostly still green – still summer.

It was cloudy and a little rainy, but a few bees were still out. Unfortunately, there were also a lot of mosquitos.

I decided to photograph one landscape. There were some lovely oak trees. The photo wasn’t working for me. After attending a photo club meeting with a black and white contest, I decided to convert the photo to black and white.


Eden Springs and the House of David

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.

My sister petting the long haired cat who greeted us.

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.

A run down building next to a fixed up one with kept gardens.

The train station is functional, and the small trains now run occasionally.

My relatives by the train station – faces obscured for privacy. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you they’re great.
Detail of a station window showing different colors and patterns of glass.

It appears not all of the original train track is presently in use.

Rundown section of train track covered in vines – and possibly Christmas lights?

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:

https://www.israelitehouseofdavid.com/

The campground also has a website:

http://www.edenspringsparkandcampground.com/


Winter Wetlands

No, I did not plan to quit blogging this year. My goal for this year is ten posts. These photos are from mid January. Not too long after that, I decided my nearly ten year old monitor wasn’t cutting it for photo editing, so I needed to research, order, and set up a new one before posting again. Winter’s not quite over. These are from a local wetlands. It was a late scouting trip.

Wetlands Sunset
Tree Trunks in Snow
Moon-rise

End of Fall / Official End of Fall

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.


Twilight of Summer

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.


One Last Nice Day

We had an unusually warm day in November. Most of the leaves were down, but it was such a nice day, so I decided to go out anyway. Who would want to waste the one last nice day of the year?

Christmas is coming soon. I do plan to do one last post for the year with a Christmas theme, but there is something that has been on my mind lately. I know the holidays will be different for many people this year. They will certainly be different for me from this year on. So take the pictures. Everything ends. Everyone dies. You never know when it will be the last day or the last Christmas for a loved one, a home, a relationship, a tradition, or a pet. I made the decision to haul my DSLR and speedlight to a crowded family gathering last Christmas. It was the last Christmas for someone there. My sister recently asked for the picture of us. We would not have a good one if I hadn’t brought the camera. Take the pictures. No regrets.


Late Fall

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.
Riverbank

Oddly enough, the geese cooperated.
GeeseAndCave

The flag above the trees.
Flag

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.
StumpAndFungi

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.


Afternoon at the Dunes

Back in August, my dad and I visited Sleeping Bear Dunes again. It was my second time there. Weather was not optimal (wind) and we were squeezing the outing in between much needed time visiting family. I did get a few quick shots, but no waiting around for people to be out of the picture. I photoshopped them out. Not the best way to do things, but it worked in a pinch.

BeachAndLakeWhiteTrees


Late Summer

I am late blogging again this month. Here are a couple of shots from my time in a local forest preserve in August.

I like the texture in the thistles.

Thistle

This thing is weedy. I’m not exactly sure why I like it, but there’s something about the color and form of it.

Weedy


Water and Rocks

August is gone already! I’m a couple days late for my monthly blog, so here’s a quick photo from a local park popular with the photo club.

RocksAndFlowers


Macro Spring Flowers

A few weeks ago, the weather was nice, and I got out to photograph some flowers. It was late in the woodland spring wildflower season, so swamp buttercups and violets were about all that was left. I decided to shoot with the macro lens. The flowers are small, and practice with manual focus is good for me.

VioletSwampButtercup

I spotted this large, fuzzy bee. It’s so fluffy looking I almost wanted to touch it, but it’s a bee, so photographing it will have to do.

BeeOnDandilion

Later that day, I visited a city park and photographed this flowering viburnum. I liked the bright pink buds on this particular variety.

Viburnum


Tiny Tropics

The city I live in has a small tropical conservatory. They run various shows in it, each lasting a month or so. The day before Easter, my father and I went to their annual butterfly show. Butterflies of several species were kept in a small enclosure within the conservatory. Only a limited number of people could go in at a time.

Butterflies3OrangeButterfly1

While there, we also looked around the plants in the conservatory. This one caught my eye. The Heliconia, or lobster-claw, is colorful and has an interesting form.

Heliconia

Of course there were Koi as well. It seems like there are Koi all over now. Some places you can even buy Koi food and feed them. When I was little, we used to feed the ducks bread in the same park the conservatory now sits in. There aren’t as many ducks around these days, and no one wants you feeding wild animals. The new conservatory is impressive, and I do enjoy it. However, I sometimes long for the simplicity of the old lagoon full of ducks. This koi is kind of cute though.

Koi

Next Time

I hope I can get out and photograph some spring flowers. Weather has been up and down here. 70+ and sunny, rain, and a snowstorm last weekend.


The Problem with Fall

Fall is a beautiful season. Unfortunately, it’s also crunch time for home improvement projects. I have not been out to shoot this year. Fortunately, I have a few photos left over from last year when I wasn’t blogging.

LateLeavesSquirrelInTreeWhiteFluff

I’m still plotting to get out this year. I’ll have to run away and go south a bit, but I’m still plotting.


The Long Fall Hike

These photos were taken on the 30th of September 2017, an entire year ago. It was a beautiful day. I was visiting my parents about two years after moving out on my own. I don’t live that far, but it’s far enough and I’m busy enough that I don’t get out to the parks and forest preserves I used to frequent. Dad and I went on a long photo hike that day. We went to the park with the confusing set of foot trails and horse trails (where you need to watch where you step), with streams, woods, meadows, and hills. No fall color at that point, but the vegetation was browning and fading for the year.

OakLeafOnMeadowPath

We crossed out of the woods up the hills towards the horse path area. There were trees and a stream.

StreamAndTrees

We continued to the horse path area because there was milkweed there, and Dad loves to photograph milkweed. I’m sure he has better pictures. It is a small obsession of his.

Milkweed

Then, we ended up out on a country road a little uncertain of exactly where we were. We found our way back to the park entrance. I kept getting gravel in my shoes and having to empty them. Does that matter a year later? No, but it’s part of the experience. Kind of a minor slightly humorous inconvenience.

We had the light, the nature, the photos, the time together. It was a beautiful day. Not perfect. Just beautiful.


Rose Garden

One sweltering Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, I went out to a local garden to photograph roses. The garden has a great variety, and I don’t remember what all of them are called. At any rate, they are beautiful and worth the time and temperatures to see.

RedOpenWhiteClosedRufflesAndCenterCincoDeMayoPinkWhiteOpen


Being Tourist

I decided I would mix things up a bit this year and go on vacation. For real. I spent three nights in hotels, took as many days off work, and visited destinations in two states. My first stop was the city of Columbus, Indiana. Columbus is important for having notable architecture despite the fact that it is not a huge city. Stop number one on my sight-seeing itinerary was the park, where I only intended to park. My father, who was traveling with me, spotted a large observation tower and wanted to climb it. We kept finding things we wanted to get a closer look at, so we spent a lot more time in the park than planned. There was a metal tunnel with vines growing over it and benches inside, trees, bridges, flowers, and more.

BridgeIsland

Bridge

LoveLock

Love Lock in Tunnel

BarkAndVine

Tree and Vine

Most of my photographs from around town are more tourist shots, but here are some details from a couple of the buildings.

OldBuilding

BandWDetail


Dear Spring – Are You Coming?

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.

OakLeaf

GoldenLeaves

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.

MrMrsDuck

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.


Flower on the Path

In 2017, I made no commitment to blog. I rather abandoned it in the hopes that I would get farther with other things. It didn’t work out the way I had hoped. I spent less time in nature, hardly photographed, and failed to edit most of what I did shoot. So in 2018, I am going to blog at least once a month. It may be archive from last year, and it may only be one photo per post, but I need to get back to the blog. It made me get out, shoot, think about my work, and edit it. More than that, it made me find and appreciate the small but beautiful things in life.

FlowerOnPath

Early last spring, I found this flower growing among the broken down limestone path at a local park. Photography and blogging are two of the things that have helped me stop and appreciate the flowers along the path of life, rather than passing them by or stepping on them as I hurry off to other things. What is life if we fail to take the time to enjoy it?


Mid-Summer Flowers

Way back on the 4th of July, I went out to appreciate the wildflowers:

FromBelowClustersPinkAndYellowHWhiteVinePinkAndYellowVJapaneseBeetle


Stroll Around the Lake

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.

NewLeavesTreesByLake

Farther down the path, I spotted these lovely wildflowers.

BunchOfWildflowers

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.

DuckMommy

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.


Spring Beauty

Spring at last! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Rain washes the snow and dirt of the long winter away and nourishes the gentle flowers. Last week, I went to the park I normally shoot wildflowers at, pulled out the macro for the first time in months, and had a little fun capturing the rebirth of the green outdoor world for the season.

BrightYellowFlowerPrairieTrilliumVioletWhiteVioletsWhiteWithLeaves

 

Next Time: More Nature or Objects on White

Everything depends on the weather and what the plants do.


One Last Fall Day

Several weeks ago, I went out for my last Fall shoot of the year. There wasn’t much left, but the colors were vibrant.


Fall Again

I went out for a hike and fall photography last weekend. I don’t think it was quite peak color. This is a hard thing to judge as the landscape often jumps abruptly from too green to all the leaves down. At least it was a nice day out.

AspensbyHill

DriedUp

SumacLeaves

TreeAndSumac


Spring Wildflowers

Spring is here! I’ve been out shooting wildflowers the past couple weekends. Several years ago around this time, I did a post on the wildflowers in a local forest preserve. Recently, I noticed it was about the same time of year, and I decided I wanted to go photograph them again. The ground was thick with several varieties. Due to the wind and small size of my subjects, I used a macro lens and a higher ISO, but no tripod. My tripod doesn’t go very low and the wind would negate many of its benefits. These are always tough subjects, but I love them anyway.

ClosingFlower dutchmansbreeches MaybeButtercup TinyWhiteFlower ToothwortAndBee WhiteTroutLily

Next Time: Archive Club Shoot

The warmer weather means more to do, so I will be a little busy the next couple of weeks. Because of that, I will post some older pictures I took at the local photo club’s table top night back in January.