Tag Archives: arboretum

Davis Arboretum

We took a day trip up to Davis to check out the arboretum.  Running alongside the old Putah Creek, it has a range of different plants and trees along its length.  With the university buildings stretching alongside the creek, the paths provide access to the students and staff of the university as they get where they need to be.  Being, at least most of the time, away from the roads makes for a quiet and pleasant place to stroll.  At the time we visited, it was a turning point for some of the plants.  Fall had already done it work on some trees while others were still showing signs of color.

We weren’t the only ones appreciating the view.  We passed a number of painters (whether they were part of a class or just like minded individuals I don’t know) who were capturing the scenes around them.  I didn’t get to see whether any of them were particularly good but I hope they had a good time anyway.  There was plenty of wildlife along the creek.  Ducks were abundant, the occasional turtle showed itself, squirrels were everywhere gathering food for winter and some of the visitors had their dogs with them so no shortage of life.

Work was underway to reconfigure the flow of water through the creek.  This is intended to freshen up the water, deal with some of the weed growth on the surface and promote some other wildlife activity.  In some areas it was already showing results but the work was due to run into 2017 so it will be a while before the full effect is seen.

What Summer Evenings Should Be

The Morton Arboretum schedules some pleasant evening events at this time of year. Last year we went to one of these and I blogged about it at the time. In that piece I was a little annoyed with myself because I hadn’t taken my camera with me and had to make use of my phone in a situation that really would have merited something a little better. This time I made sure to be a little better prepared (although I was out of the door before I realized the bag with the camera in it was still in the spare room!).

The evening consists of a jazz quartet, a bar (several actually) and the chance to order some tapas from the countless staff taking care of things. As the evening comes in, sitting out in the fresh air with the lake in the background, listening to jazz and enjoying a pleasant glass of sauvignon blanc while snacking on some tasty morsels is certainly not the worst way to spend some time.

As we headed out to the arboretum, it started to get quite cloudy. This was not what I was hoping for but it was higher level cloud and the temperature was not dropping much so being outside should still be okay. Indeed, that was the case and, as the evening drew in, the clouds drifted away and we were left with some really lovely conditions. We munched and slurped and listened to the jazz. I am not a huge jazz fan to be honest. However, after a glass or two, I became a lot more appreciative. Did they get better, did I get more attuned or does jazz always sound better with a gentle buzz?

As the event was getting closer to the end, we decided to take a stroll around the lake. It was amazing to see how much activity there was from the local wildlife. Normally this is the busiest part of the arboretum so I guess everything gets scared off. In the evening, it felt alive with wildlife – particularly the birds. (There were plenty of bugs in the air so the swallows were feasting!) As the sun got low, the scenery glowed with the evening light and it was a great way to finish off the visit.

What’s the best camera?

I suspect you have heard the phrase, the best camera is the one you have with you.  Well, I am a bit of an idiot as I went out to a location the other evening for another reason but didn’t stick a camera in the car.  We headed to Moreton Arboretum out in Lisle.  We are members and go there pretty regularly to wander around.

This time they were running a cheese and wine type of event.  Tables were set up outside, there was a bar and a tapas menu.  A very pleasant way to spend an even out in the warm as the sun gradually headed down.  The photographers amongst you are thinking golden hour.  Why didn’t I think of that.

There is a lake near the visitors center which I will have shot a number of times from different directions, usually in the harshest light of the day.  This time I was there when the light was great and as soon as we took a stroll around the lake, I was kicking myself for not having brought my camera with me.

Plan B was my phone.  The camera is okay but not special.  However, it was the best camera I had with me so it would have to do.  It doesn’t handle too much contrast well so a little angling to try and get what I wanted was in order.  Not stunning results but it’s what I got so here you go.

This last shot was something we saw when wandering around.  I might explain more another time…