Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chicago Botanic Garden--Father's Day Visit

I first arrived in the Chicago area back in the early sixties when the Army stationed my father at Fort Sheridan.  One of the things I remember from that early adolescent time was a sign along the new Edens Expressway proclaiming the future home of the Chicago Botanic Garden. 

It was in 1965 when ground was broken on what would become one of the great natural settings in the country, 300 acres of impressively groomed gardens lying along the north branch of the Chicago River.    Trees began arriving about the time Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in 1967. 

Two big events, both designed to make one's spirits soar.

According to the website of the Chicago Botanical Garden three principles have been a part of the site’s development since the very beginning.  They include:  First, that beautiful gardens and natural environments are important to the physical well-being of all people.  Secondly, that people live better, healthier, and more satisfying lives when they can create, care for, and enjoy gardens.  Finally, that the future of life on Earth depends on how we understand, value, and protect plants and the habitats on which they depend.

Today, when the weather is cool, foggy and generally set up to put one in a gray mood, I want to share a few photos I took at the site on Father’s Day.  The weather was perfect, and the peonies were in full bloom.  Particularly noteworthy for a photographer were the huge billowing clouds on a blue, blue sky.

To make a great day even better Jill and I drove from the garden to Hackney’s on Harms where we had the best burger in Chicagoland in the outdoor beer garden.

Ask me to identify what a perfect day would be like . . . this one would be pretty close to it.

Sweet William "Sweet Purple" (JWB Photo)
Blue Heron by the Lakeside Gardens (JWB Photo)
Dan Kiely's Esplanade with clouds (JWB Photo)
The fountain looking toward the Vegetable Gardens (JWB Photo)
Peonies and Blue Sky (JWB Photo)
Red, White and Blue--Published Previously (JWB Photo)
The Rose Garden (JWB Photo)
Little Girl and Roses (JWB Photo)
Yellow Peony (JWB Photo)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Supermoon Chicago

If you woke up from a sound sleep during the past couple nights, wanting to turn to the southeast and start howling, there was a reason for it . . . shining over Chicago was the “supermoon,” a rare event that occurs when the moon comes closest to the earth.  A great website gives far more detailed information if you’re interested.  You can find the moon scoops here.  The whole thing is actually pretty cool.

This June full moon fell only 22 minutes after the moon reached its closest point to earth, which is a short 221,824 miles away (356,991 kilometers).  By July 7 the moon will be 30,000 miles farther away, the farthest it will be from the earth in this lunar calendar. 

We on our little blue marble haven’t seen a full moon come this close to the earth since January 14, 1930.

Anyway, we were lucky in Chicago.  Last night, June 23, was a cloudless evening with the city looking as majestic as always and a big, bright moon over Lake Michigan.

I took my tripod and Nikon for a walk and captured a few pictures of the event.  Following this post you can see what I got.

I’m glad I got off the couch and took the walk.  There won’t be a full moon this close to the earth for the rest of this century and all of the next.  I guess that means I’m out of the game for the next time.

Supermoon over Diversey Harbor, June 23, 2013 (JWB Photo)

Supermoon over Diversey Harbor and Lake Michigan -- June 23, 2013 (JWB Photo)

Supermoon, looking over Lake Michigan -- June 23, 2013 (JWB Photo)

Supermoon, Diversey Harbor with Chicago in the background -- June 23, 2013 (JWB Photo)

Friday, June 21, 2013

The BASE jump at Trump Tower

You may have seen on the news over the past couple of days that three guys with parachutes cut their way into the highest part of Trump Tower and jumped off into the darkness of night, disappearing, apparently intact, into Chicago’s River North where, hopefully, rounds of cold brews awaited them.

BASE jumping (the word stands either for Building, Antennae, Span, Earth OR Big Ado – Stupid Exploit), is more popular in Chicago than the average citizen might imagine.  Particularly popular, apparently, are buildings under construction.

Anyway, the story reminded me of the morning of July 17, 2010 when I stood on the deck of Chicago’s Fair Lady next to Captain George and watched five guys jump off the top of Trump Tower as cameras rolled on the Transformers:  Dark of the Moon set. 

Here are the pictures that I took that morning . . . Why do it in the dark when it looks so cool in the sunlight?

JWB Photo - July 17, 2010

JWB Photo - July 17, 2010

JWB Photo - July 17, 2010

JWB Photo - July 17, 2010

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chicago Sunsets

There are some disadvantages to living 31 floors up in a city apartment.  Groceries are a relative hassle.  Christmas trees put up a struggle coming in and gong out.  And when Amazon sends your order of a dozen containers of dental floss or your latest goodies from Wines ‘til Sold Out, it’s not like you can pick up the stuff from the front stoop.

But there is one big advantage to the arrangement, and, especially during the warm weather months, it is the opportunity to look upon some spectacular sunsets.

Jill and I face north and west, so once or twice a week we get to watch a terrific display as the day ends and the Black Hawks gird themselves for another three or four or five or six periods of championship hockey.

Here is a sequence of photos I took a couple nights ago as storms rolled in from the west, hammering the southern suburbs but leaving us city-dwellers alone, for the most part.  The sun shone brilliantly through the clouds, as you can see, but it was pretty obvious that there was going to be trouble somewhere.

JWB Photo -- June 17, 2013 (6:50 p.m.)

JWB Photo -- June 17, 2013 6:50 p.m.)

JWB Photo -- June 17, 2013 (7:21 p.m.)

JWB Photo -- June 17, 2013 (7:22 p.m.)