Archive for ‘Mount Prospect’

September 15, 2012

Red bug rendezvous

I’m quickly closing in on 100 posts on this site. I decided a while back that I’d hold back on promoting the site until I posted 200 times, but that’s changed significantly with more and more followers. Thanks for routinely checking back, those that do.

Boxelder bugs are not harmful to their host plants, but they can become a nuisance when congregating on (or in) man-made structures like this bridge – or your house. I’ve never seen them inside, which is probably a good thing. They remind me of Lovebugs, which hang out en masse down south and make ordering at a drive thru quite challenging in certain parts of the year. This group of Boxelder bugs is typical – red nymphs clustered in the sun on the corner of the structure. They actually had both sides of the bridge covered, but this part made for the better photograph.
Red bug rendezvous
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August 7, 2012

The creepy little church

I went the wrong way, but rather than make a U-turn I ventured through a subdivision I’d never entered and came ’round a bend. Everything was pitch black, except for this glowing church. It was dead quiet. I left my car a half block away and slowly approached the church. It was midnight. My eyes never left the graveyard except to focus on the stained glass. Then, very much to my concern, I heard brisk footsteps. Quick, as if someone was running.

A jogger came up the bend the same way I had driven just five minutes before. I let out a very clenched breath and then immediately resumed shooting the church. Assuming the runner would find me much more strange than I found him, I figured I should probably get on with getting out of there. He arced behind me on the crescent road and went up the path until he’d almost disappeared to my left. Then, an even bigger scare. My vision darted down at something coming right at me, maybe 20 paces away. It was… a skunk! I whistled, which stopped the runner. He turned back and stood there staring at me, hands on hips and head tilted slightly backward – now definitely wondering what I was up to. You could see him catching his breath, he was still that close, but then he continued up the road. I realized in that moment I had certainly outstayed my welcome. A rattling of my keys sent the skunk bolting for the church where he hid behind the sign or maybe in the bushes. The deadened space suddenly fell impossibly still again. You almost expected something to come break this eery silence. I took six more exposures, whipped around and quickly made for the car. The graveyard remained quiet and empty.
The creepy little church
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July 13, 2012

Anti Matterhorn

In the waning hours of its final night the carnival ceases to exist on its own. It is Sunday night and despite a hard close at 11 o’clock the people migrate away from the flashing lights and the color of the event into the surrounding darkness prior to deadline. This leaves an unsettling feeling that the festival is dying a premature death. The band’s energy from the corner of the park no longer pulses through the crowd. It now blares over the drone of the whirring rides and fewer, lesser voices. The rides grow more and more vacant. People pass them as if the fun has washed away. The Matterhorn no longer matters.
Anti Matterhorn
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July 11, 2012

Ball & pony show

Roll-a-ball taught me one valuable lesson as a kid: only play select carnival games, especially late in the evening. I guess it’s not that valuable a lesson, but it’s still one I learned. This is one of the few games where you play against other people rather than against the game itself. If you play late in the evening, when you have fewer opponents, you have a better chance of picking up a prize. Really, though, why would you want one of those stuffed monstrosities?

Moving along, the guy in the blue shirt presiding over the Roll-a-ball horse races is Bob. He gave me a hard time about taking photos of his stand, but it was all good-natured banter. “Is this gonna be on the internet?” He asked. Yes. He laughed sarcastically as if to approve but feign disinterest. Bob is very good at his job – playfully needling people to entice them to play. You can tell he was a former radio disc jockey or something along those lines and is very, very quick on his feet. There’s a reason he’s on the microphone. I had fun listening to him. Hopefully Bob remembers where to find his picture.
Ball & pony show
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July 10, 2012

Bonus fireworks

A few days after the fourth the neighborhood fairground blasted off a second fireworks display. The 4th of July show lasted about 20 minutes, but this one only entertained for about half that time. It was pretty while it lasted. Since we got bonus fireworks I thought sharing the second round of explosions would only be right. Here are two images of our latest round of bombs bursting in air. We were so close that some of the debris from the exploded shells settled on and around us.
Bonus fireworks
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Bonus fireworks
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July 9, 2012

Under the Ferris wheel

The little festival near my house wound down tonight. I remember as a kid always wishing it would last longer than it did. My favorite ride was called “The Enterprise.” It was basically a Ferris wheel that started off parallel to the ground, or horizontal, and then slowly tilted up until it was vertical. Within the wheel the cars spun ultra fast – to the point that one year my friend Tony got a nosebleed from the spinning alone! Tony was 1/16 Cherokee. I just remembered that.

This is the backside of this year’s Ferris wheel. I was equally drawn to the flashing lights and the whirring of the cars as I was to the magenta hues it cast upon the grass behind it. We need rain badly, and much of the yellowed grass soaked up the thick pinks. Some green still pokes through. The original Ferris Wheel was built in Chicago in 1893 by a guy named Ferris. Makes sense.
Under the Ferris wheel
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July 6, 2012

When fireworks come to you

I don’t have to travel too far to enjoy the fireworks. They’re right outside my back door. Of course that means there’s a festival a few blocks away, and someone parks their car in a way that nearly blocks your driveway, and they walk through your lawn, because, well, just because.

Halfway through the fireworks display I pulled a table out into the yard and got my ladder out of the garage. I placed my tripod on the table and telescoped the head as high as it could go. My camera stood about 8 1/2 feet off the ground for this shot, so I had to climb 3/4 of the way up the ladder just to reach it. I fired off about 50-60 shots of the fireworks, but this image is comprised of just four. Long exposures are great for capturing everything but the finale, which photographs best in shorter bursts. This photo happens to be part of the middle of the display. When you’re standing there watching, everything between you and the fireworks kind of melts away to the point that you don’t even notice the trees and power lines. I decided to leave them in so you can see my cluttered but outstanding view. Stay off my lawn and out of my driveway, OK?
When fireworks come to you
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June 29, 2012

The frozen chair

It’s been very hot here lately, so I went through my more recent winter photos to dig up some more frigid times. This chair stands beneath an ice-compacted gutter which drips down on the chair’s seat and creates these massive icicles. Varying sun and shade combine to help the process. What looks to be bubbles on top is actually created by the splattering drips from the gutter. The drops pile up and freeze very quickly when the chair is in the shade, creating this effect. A watering can sits on the chair, frozen to its brim. The hose is also frozen, but it managed to survive the winter.
The frozen chair
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June 17, 2012

That golden glow before a storm

I’ve heard people say everything goes green before a tornado. Often times before an afternoon storm the sunlight ahead of the front seems to bounce off the dark clouds to produce a golden light that tugs at the greens and makes them pop. The yellows jump out at you, too.
That golden glow before a storm
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