Chicago is FLAT unless you include concrete overpasses and underpasses. Starved Rock State Park is a short two-hour drive west from my hometown flatland. The change in environment is extreme and refreshing. Also, it is exhausting for Chicagoans’ muscles used to walking flatland. So, while I rest my arthritic knee and other stressed body parts, I will share some this area’s splendor. My aches are welcome remnants of time well spent; my body will heal and my memories will last for ages.
Some images are from the nearby Matthiessen State Park which we visited as well thanks to the strong recommendation of our daughter. Both Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks in Illinois are results of glacial movement south and then melting and retreat. These parks are witness to natures’ strength and constant change.
Warning to anyone that thinks venturing off marked paths would be fun! Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Canyons of Matthiessen State Park. The people in the background give you an idea of its grand perspective. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg.
That bridge is partway down into the canyon. Awe inspiring views. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Wild Cat Canyon in Starved Rock State Park. One of many canyons in the preserve. Waterfalls were very small because of lack of rain recently. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
100 steps down from the Lodge was the “beginning” of many more steps down into canyon bottoms. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg
Side view of Jerusalem Artichoke. Copyright 2016, Pamela Breitberg
I first became aware of Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) when I toured a perennial farm outside of Racine Wisconsin. They recommended it as dependable, colorful addition to any perennial Midwest garden. The native plants in this image adjoin the migratory bird preserve in Lincoln Park, along Lake Michigan. Their presence, just a few blocks from our new condo, makes me feel more at home in this bustling urban neighborhood.
These images show more context of Jerusalem Artichoke to their environment and stages of bloom than the previous single image with the spider and dangling petal. Jerusalem Artichokes are one of a multitude of late-summer, early fall, sunflowers.
For those that like to eat what they grow, check out the following site: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vegetables/growing-jerusalem-artichokes-zmaz10onzraw.
Close up of the back of the Jerusalem Artichoke
Lake Michigan wild blooms. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg
Changing to seed head. Copyright 2016, Pamela Breitberg
I am testing out, enjoying, my new Olympus TG-4 with it’s macro setting. Amazing! I set it to focus on the center square, then I can rearrange the composition before fully pressing the shutter.
Extreme close=up of the tiny Aster bloom. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg
Profusion of Asters, the flowers are less than an inch wide. Copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg
Lotus portrait. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
One’s appearance changes as one’s point of view shifts. This is true for persons as well as other objects observed. Photographic portraits seem, by the nature of being a photograph, to depict the subject in an unbiased, impartial manner. Other, non-photographic portraits are mere “likenesses”, “representations”, “portrayals”, or “depictions”. The latter portraits may not be seen as exact and true. All portraits can be insightful into the essence of a being (animal or plant).
The images here show different characteristics of this Lotus. The overall image provides background information; it tells where the flower is in relation to its setting. The closer images show details of this species. Most portraits are straightforward in pose; a back view tells yet another story of this same flower. Which image is most demonstrative is always dependent on the viewer.
Rear view. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Closeup portrait. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Lotus in the water pond. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Getting down to a child’s eye level is the best way to appreciate them. Children are less intimidated when you’re at their level inviting an opportunity for them to open up to new ideas and share their thinking. This learned lesson from years as a teacher, is similarly applicable when photographing wildlife.
An eye level view with spring wild flowers is worth a little dirt on the knees. Tip One: wear long pants to avoid irritations and be careful to not crush your subjects. The forest floor is plentiful with blooms this spring. I’m unsure if it is a result of restoration in this area, or if the temperatures and precipitation were perfect for such abundance.
These images of the native White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)
show a top and inside view of its flower. The inside view of the flower is only possible from a ground level perspective because the plant is only 5-6 inches tall and the flower faces downward when open. Tip Two: spend a few extra minutes getting to know other low growing (and moving) wildlife while at your new vantage point.
See “It’s Complicated” posted October 2013 for more information about the White Trout Lily.
White Trout Lily in bloom, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
Top down view of Trout Lily, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
White Trout Lily on forest floor, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg