Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Eight Tracks -- No Waiting

Between the morning and evening commuting rush hours, there are fewer trains going into and out of Union Station. So you get a chance to see the interlacing of the tracks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Grand Illusion

This is not the building's entrance. It is a mural on the building at LaSalle and Division. Originally done in 1980 by artist Richard Haas and restored in 2005, it is titled "Homage to the Chicago School of Architecture".

It is quite the detailed mural - even including a shadow to continue the illusion that it is three dimensional.
It includes portraits of Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Burnham, Louis Sulivan, and John Root (see detail below), architects closely associated with the Chicago School of Architecture.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Feathered Friends: Stretching

With a long flight still ahead, this migrating Nashville Warbler is getting some dinner and doing a little yoga stretching so he's limber enough to get down to Mexico.

More pictures of the Nashville Warbler are at my bird-watching blog, which is here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life is Good

I guess life is good if you are a bug and you land on someone's hat and you get your picture taken instead of getting swatted. Bugs, like wildflowers, are not my area of expertise. No clue what this is -- only that I think it is an interesting looking insect.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Red Sunset Green Sunset?

I happened to be home just before sunset yesterday and saw this green light in the window. I looked and realized it was the sun. Now, I've heard about the phenomena of a Green Flash at sunset, but I really thought it was at sunset - not as the sun was setting. I had never seen the green sun before and can only guess that people at the other end of the hall usually have their blinds closed.

So here is the first sunset of Autumn, tinted naturally. Well, not naturally, exactly - it is after all through several tinted windows -but, at least without software intervention.

Here is the sunset without the window filters.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's Blooming: Plan B

I was going to post the last sunrise of summer (Autumn arrives at 4:18pm CDT today) but Chicago has a really thick fog near the lake so Plan B is a late summer flower collage.

At the top is a not-yet-ready to fall apart dandelion. So few seem to have all their feathery seeds left (the birds have been eating them as they come through). At the bottom are some bright purple and cheery yellow wildflowers from the Magic Hedge area. I think I need to purchase a wildflower identification book. I'd really like to know what I'm photographing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't Grocery Shop When You Are Hungry

A certain organic-focused grocery store built a brand new store in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. It opened over the summer but I hadn't visited it yet. It is so large, they give you a little map as a guide to finding your way.

There's a wine bar ...

... and a diner-style restaurant ...
There's a food court and a sushi bar as well. I got so distracted looking at all the different mini-restaurants that I forgot to buy the olive oil that I went to get.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Feathered Friends: It's Just a Phase

Pity the poor Cardinal.

They go through so much ...

... a mottled mess of gray and red ...

... a Bozo the Clown Orange Phase ...

... before getting their beautiful red, adult colors.
A few more pictures of the Cardinal's "transitional"phases are at my bird blog, here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Barbed Wire

Never really looked at barbed wire all that closely. It has a rather interesting - and I'm sure painful - pattern, especially against a blurry leafy background. This particular barbed wire surrounds a Marine Reserve Headquarters in the Albany Park neighborhood. We were exploring a section of the Chicago River in search of birds. Saw a lot of finches, some herons, and a very camera-shy Belted Kingfisher. Also saw a number of very brave kayakers. They are brave because the river is not too clean in this section.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trees To Infinity

I was going to call this post "Tunnel of Trees", but this stretch of trees doesn't come close to rivaling a beautiful stretch of road in Northern Michigan known by that name. And it did kind of look like the trees continued in these straight rows out to infinity. The shadow patterns on the ground also caught my attention.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Puppet Bike

There's a puppet bike at the corner of Randolph and Michigan. It's there most days but I finally saw the puppet show. Two little fuzzy animals (a squirrel and a bunny?) gyrate wildly as music plays.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Whatcha Got?

I can't say it's the official birdwatching greeting, but you do get asked "Whatcha Got?" occasionally if you're standing in a park looking at something through binoculars. Usually by someone else with binoculars. (People wearing uniforms and badges tend to say "Miss, what exactly are you doing with those binoculars?")

It seems the Fall Bird Migration has begun to get active in the Chicago area. I was at the Magic Hedge (by Montrose Beach) and happened to turn around to see this sight.
Not wanting to miss anything, I walked back and looked in the general direction as everyone else. There were a lot of warblers flitting about in a tree. Sitting at the very top (a rather dangerous location given that two Cooper's Hawks were in the area looking for a snack) was the immature bay breasted warbler, shown below. It doesn't have its full adult colors, like it will in the spring. In fact, most of the birds going through now won't look like they did in the Spring. That's what makes it challenging.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Feathered Friends: A Chorus Line

This little Semipalmated Plover was so happy to be spending last weekend at Montrose Beach that it broke out into a high-kicking chorus line routine. A few more shorebirds were at Montrose this past weekend (they declined to join in the chorus line, though). Pictures of them are at my bird-watching blog, which is here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sea of Flags

This is a mural in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. According to the sign, it was designed and painted by Gamaliel Ramirez (with assistance from community residents) as part of the the 11th Fiesta Boricua in 2004. This is one of several beautifully colorful murals I've stumbled upon in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

The large sculpture of the Puerto Rico Flag, shown in the mural, actually exists (see below) and arcs over Division Street.

Sea of Flags Mural

Sea of Flags Mural, detail

The "real" flag sculpture

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Eamus Catuli

Was able to go to a Cubs Game last week, which gave me the opportunity to document the current year in "Cubs Time":

  • The AC stands for Anno Catuli, which is Latin (loosely) for Cubs Year. (Oh, and Eamus Catuli loosely is translated to Let's Go Cubs.)
  • The numbers are updated at the end of the baseball season so these figures are as of the end of the 2008 season.
  • The first two digits (00) are the number of years since the Cubs won their division. So "00" means they won last year. So far so good.
  • The next two digits (63) are the number of years since the Cubs won the National League. So "63" means they last won the National League in 1945.
  • The last three digits (and, yes, they had to ADD a digit last year), represent the number of years since the Cubs won the World Series. Gee, has it really been 100 years? Somewhere, Steve Goodman is still watching and singing The Dying Cubs' Fan's Last Request.

It was a Crosstown Classic (Cubs vs. White Sox) make-up game from an earlier rain-out. It was a beautiful day but, as a Cubs fan, not such a beautiful outcome (Cubs got trounced).

But Cubs fans are kind of a special breed (hey, we're still fans and they haven't won in 100 years). This is the shirt that the guy in front of me was wearing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CTA Mural

A bright poster at the Randolph and Wabash Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Station. I'm just not sure about the relevance of the Eight Ball in the bottom left corner. ;)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Foggy Morning Fisherman

We've been having a lot of foggy lakefront mornings lately. This fisherman is heading home in the morning fog along the pier at Montrose Harbor.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Daniel Burnham

Chicago is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago. They have erected a Burnham Pavilion that, at night, is interactive in that the colors change in response to activity (usually, kids running around the pavilion). During the day, you can wander through the pavilion and get different frames of the Chicago skyline surrounding Millenium Park.

I learned on Wednesday, while watching a new documentary about Daniel Burnham, that today (September 4) was his birthday. I also learned that his architectural and urban design expertise spread beyond Chicago, touching Cleveland, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Manila. He had a very strong interest in cities by lakes/oceans due to his childhood home being near a lake. He alwasy wanted people to be able to look out over the water.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Up Up and Away

There's a new "ride" at Navy Pier. In addition to the Ferris Wheel, Carousel, various dinner cruise boats, and some spinning swing thing, there is now a balloon ride. It seems to just go as far as its tether will let it, which is fairly high (maybe 30 stories up).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's in Season?

Leave it those Nichols guys to get all artistic with the way they stack the sweet corn at the Green City Market. One of the guys said that it was supposed to entice people over to their stand. When I told him that I felt guilty buying the corn since it ruined up the design, he said he was going to go mess up the stack. I certainly didn't feel guilty buying the corn after getting it home and seeing the beautiful gold and white kernals (this is bi-color corn). And it's very sweet!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Theme Day: Big

Today is September 1st. In addition to being the start of meteorological Autumn and a new month, it's THEME DAY. This month's theme, chosen by vote of the City Daily Photo group, is


As it just so happens, Chicago is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Daniel "Make No Small Plans" Burnham's Plan of the Chicago. If you aren't making small plans, they must be big plans! In addition to films, lectures and a musical (musical?!?), there is the Model City exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It's a 1 inch:50 feet scale replica of main business district of the city from Halsted to Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive to Roosevelt. (According to the signage, at that scale, the average person is the size of a flea.) Every 15 minutes, the lighting mimics the sunlight on June 21, so the model city goes from a light pink (at sunrise) to golden to lavender to blue (at dusk).

Even a model city needs a cleaning. If only cleaning up the real city were as easy as brushing a feather duster around the buildings ;)

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants