Category Archives: Photos

Desert Rain

What I love about the Chicago suburbs is that there are forest preserves along many of the major highways. I love pulling over and taking a walk in the woods. (Not quite as much in the winter months though.)  In these months, I go looking for some green in the desert after the recent rains. In the “Valley of the Sun,” you’ll not find forest preserves, but Sonoran Desert Preserves with easy trail access. And there I found:

Grassy Desert

Green!

We were hiking in the Cave Creek Preserve area, about thirty-five miles due north of a more well-known landmark, Camelback Mountain:

Camelback in the distance

The plant in the foreground is one of my favorite in the desert. I gasped when we came around a bend and faced a field of them! (The photo doesn’t capture just how “surrounded” you feel by these interesting plants reaching skyward.)  Folks try to grow these for domestic landscape use, but they seldom seem to fare well. In the natural world after the big rain, these are looking especially lush.

Must find out what they're called

Like many varieties in the desert, they aren’t as friendly as they look though:

I’ll go back when they bloom. These will turn into what look like orange tags. They’ve got quite the flair against the green:

Quite the dramatic vegetation. Here’s another, imploring “Y!” against the bright blue sky:

Y? Because it rained! Here’s what’s left of the rain… (We’d come four days earlier and this was a running wash…it sure disappears quickly!)

Where waterfall had been!

Just a trickle remains:

Back through the wash on our way out. Most things happen slowly in the desert. Moist things disappear quickly:

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under AZ, Nature, Photos

Desert Winter Sunset, Moon Moves In

December 19, 2009

Hello moon:

I’m learning to take pics and I realized there’s nothing around the moon to give it perspective.  When my husband climbed the ladder to do a measurement, that’s when I saw my “frame”:

So I tried working with it:

Distance to the Moon

Without measuring:

Crossbeams, Moonbeams

What do you think?

2 Comments

Filed under AZ, Nature, Photos

Hmm, Wonder Who

Hmm, wonder who the party-crashers were who got this:

Chicago's Tribune Tower

Chicago's Tribune Tower

Leave a comment

Filed under Chicago, Photos

90 Chicago Minutes

One of my favorite places to begin a day of shopping on State Street is at Atwood Cafe.  (Yes, a restaurant,  because all great shopping trips begin with great eating!)

The Atwood Cafe

The Atwood Cafe

The Atwood is in the Hotel Burnham on the southwest corner of State and Washington.  It was five ’til noon when we popped in looking for a table for two.  “An hour-and-a-half wait,” we were told.  A city “hour-and-a-half” goes by much faster than any other that I know, so we signed up, and off we went to work up our appetites further.  We think about popping into Macy’s but it’s such a fine day, we decided head east, to Millenium Park.

Walking toward Millenium Park

Pritzker's Pavilion ahead in Millenium Park

The Cloud Gate Sculpture, also known as "The Bean"

Very cool little trees with only red berries left

"The Bean"

Trees, Millenium Park

Day after Thanksgiving, Millenium Park

Not sure what my iPhone camera did to this one but I kind of like it:

The Wait to Skate

The Wait to Skate

Here’s a more “normal” view:

After Millenium Park we were getting a bit chilled so we popped into the first building across Michigan Avenue: The Chicago Cultural Center. (Originally was the first central Public Library in Chicago, founded in 1897.)

I could shower you with photos from the inside of this building.  It not only has incredible architecture, art exhibits, a cafe and cozy reading nooks,  but it’s also so festively decorated!

Here are just a few from my favorite room, Preston Bradley Hall.

Entering

The room houses the largest Tiffany Dome and it’s truly staggering.  When photographing it, you feel though you’ve stepped into a life-size kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope Effect of Tiffany Dome

Kaleidoscope Effect of the Dome

According to the website:

Approximately 38 feet in diameter, the Tiffany dome spans more than 1,000 square feet. It contains approximately 30,000 pieces of glass in 243 sections within an ornate cast iron frame.

 

Tiffany Dome

I overheard a fellow-Chicagoan giving a tour to his family “there’s concerts in here every Wednesday at noon.”  I didn’t know that but I know where I’ll be next Wednesday at noon.  (Also concerts on Mondays.)

The ballroom sized room is decorated elaborately from floor to ceiling in quotes, inscriptions, and mosaic plaques with great thinkers’ name, for instance, Shakespeare:

(Although I took a better-centered shot, I hadn’t used the flash & it’s dull looking without it.  I think you can see the essence of the detail better.  This is a room definitely worth a visit!)

I recommend at least half-day to a whole day to really enjoy Millenium Park & the Chicago Cultural Center, but this was a wonderful preview and we definitely did pass the hour-and-a-half quickly.

I like to be flexible when out and about: here we’d come out to eat and shop and we’ll get to that…but what a wonderful time we had building up to it!

PS: The website has a helpful “My Trip Planner” in case you a planning a trip to Chicago!

6 Comments

Filed under Chicago, Fall, Photos, Restaurants, Travel, Writing

Magnificent Message

John Hancock & feeling very festive

John Hancock Building & Feeling Festive

Nothing can take the chill out of the air quite like the warmth of the dazzling city lights during the holiday season. I snapped this photo yesterday, Black Friday, where shoppers were bustling about.  It was busy on the Mag Mile.

The message from Michigan Avenue was clear, though never a word was spoken…I heard it in the rustle of shopper’s bags as they brushed by me, the clip-clop of horse’s hoofs as they pulled hansom cabs, the applause of the crowd gathered at the street performance where drummers pounded their plastic containers, and the rapid “beep, beep, beep” of Best Buy’s electronic security system as a customer exited…only to be waved ahead with a smile.  It all cried out to me, “Let the Season begin!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Chicago, Photos

HEAVENLY HOT LAVA

IMG_3569

hot in the desert

 

 

IMG_3583

Long burn

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under AZ, Nature, Photos

Shadow of a Doubt

IMG_3489

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, Photos