Unless you live in the mountains, California winters are not a time for much thought about snow. However, I did find myself thinking back to an event we went to a couple of time when we lived in Chicago. Morton Arboretum is located in Lisle, west of the city, and was a favorite place for us to visit. In any season it was a pretty place to walk. During the winter, they would put on a demonstration of dog sledding and this could be fun to watch.
A course would be set up through the trees so there were plenty of places in which you could set yourself up to watch the action. The runs would take place at various times throughout the day and between them you could go and talk to the people and meet the dogs. They were certainly energetic creatures and, I imagine, they would be a real handful to have in a house. Let the buyer beware!
The snow was not too deep on this occasion so it was relatively straightforward to head out around the course and get set for the teams when they came through. Most of them had things well under control but sometimes a single dog sled would appear and the dog might get a little distracted by all of the cool smelling stuff around them. At this point, the person would appear to be doing more of the pushing and the dog less of the pulling.
Shooting in the snow is always a little interesting. The brightness of the snow itself contrasts a lot with the shadows in the surrounding trees. This is when shooting RAW really helps as you can get a lot more out of the shots.
When talking about fall, the most obvious photography option is foliage. A favorite spot to go to see the fall colors is the Morton Arboretum out at Lisle. The full colors had not come into their own but, with a number of trips coming up for work and pleasure, I wasn’t going to have a chance to get out there before it was all likely to be over. When it is done, it is done very quickly. Therefore, an early visit seemed worth a shot.
We were certainly too early. However, there was still some interesting color developing with some of the trees. You could see what was going to look very good before too long so, while the conditions this year might not have been ideal for fall color, I suspect the large number of visitors they get at this time of year won’t be too disappointed. We got there later in the day to make the most of the nicer light and had a wander amongst some of the trees. Irrespective of the color or time of year, the arboretum is one of the more pleasant places to be.
I also wanted to play around with the fish-eye amongst the trees. This was something I had been thinking about for a while so had a quick roam amongst some of the stands. However, it was getting a little late so I had to get some quick shots. This is something I will come back to try again and spend more time finding the sort of trees that might suit what I have in mind.
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.
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…