Category Archives: Illinois

Yellow, 26 November 2011

It’s the end of the semester and that means things are amping up with activity on our end. It’s a kind of active crescendo, these last two weeks of every semester. Lots of reading, grading, commenting, grade-checking, and so on. So, I’ll be pulling back a bit on the text here for a little while — but have a line of photos primed and ready to go. Going old school: photo with short description. Rah!

So, this is an unidentified tree in Flossmoor, Illinois — a bit south of Chicago. I’m not sure what kind of tree it is (do you know?), but it certainly is lovely. The trees flanking it had entirely lost their leaves, lending this tree a dramatic color splash and brightly amped figure-ground contrast. Admittedly, I spiked the saturation of this photo a bit to draw out those yellows, but it was a lone splash of color in a line of black trees against the backdrop of the featureless grey sky.

~ janson

Flossmoor Leaves, 26 November 2011

During our stay in the Chicago area over the break, we crashed with our good friends Kiki, Kate, and TomTomClub at their home in Flossmoor, Illinois. Population 9,464 (as of the 2000 census), Flossmoor is a rather small village situated right along the southern reaches of the Chicago Metra system. It’s a beautiful and lovely little village with a wide range of architectural styles and neighborhoods.

This year, winter has been late arriving in Flossmoor. When we arrived, they had yet to have received any snow and Autumn was still very much in progress. Though most of the Autumn leaves had already fallen, a few still clung to their respective trees, their greens turning to faded yellows. I certainly didn’t look forward to the cold (much less any snow), but I admit it was nice getting a dash of True Autumn once again — something we don’t really experience in the deep south.

Of particular interest were the leaf patterns printed on the sidewalks (featured on this post).

Along a few stretches of sidewalk in residential Flossmoor, the imprints of previously fallen (and then presumably cleared) leaves were seemingly burned into the concrete, leaving a negative impression of what once was. I’m not sure how long the leaves had been settled there — or why these imprints were so strong and clear… But they certainly were lovely.

I spiked the contrast a bit in these photographs to further draw out the imprints of the leaves, but the imprints were quite clear in natural light. It’s not something I remember experiencing in Alaska. Perhaps longevity of Autumn is needed for such imprints? In Alaska, Autumn is crammed between summer and winter, its existence fleeting and short-lived. It doesn’t take long for Alaska to shift gears and from summer to winter. But in Flossmoor? I suspect they’d been riding Autumn for at least a month –if not two months– by this time.

Quite lovely.

~ janson

Chicagoland, 26 November 2011

For Thanksgiving break, we headed up to the Chicago area to visit with old friends from Alaska — friends who left the Great White Sub-Arctic the same time we did last summer. Apparently they couldn’t fathom living in a cultural metropolis like Valdosta, Georgia. They opted instead for Flossmoor, a few clicks south of Chicago. Low-key.

There wasn’t much time for photography on the trip. Most of our time was spent hanging with the family in Flossmoor, though we did make it to Chicago-proper for two quick stomps — a few hours at Shedd Aquarium on one day and a few hours shopping downtown on another. Add to that the unfortunate death of my Nikon-Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm lens shortly before the trip and… well… I was photographically challenged.

My only lens for the trip was a 60mm lens (on timeshare-loan from my father). I’ve been primarily using this lens for macro compositions, but it’s now my primary lens until I can get the 18-105mm replaced or supplemented more appropriately. The 60mm is a great lens, but it isn’t the best for landscapes and wide-sweeping views. There is no zoom-in/zoom-out option. It’s a fixed lens set at 60mm. So, if you want to zoom in, you need to walk forward. And if you want to zoom out? Walk backwards. Heh. This wouldn’t have necessarily been a problem in Chicago, but for the lack of time.

So yeah, I blew a great number of shots. Many on exposure levels, many on focusing issues. I’m simply conditioned to take fast compositions on the now-deceased 18-105 lens in situations like this — and long, deliberative shots on the 60mm with close subjects. Unfortunately I shot quickly on the 60mm and thus lost a ton of a otherwise-easy compositions. Sloppy.

Lesson learned.

Still, I did manage to squeak out a handful of interesting shots during these brief romps. It may not have been a very good trip for photography, but it was great to see our friends in Flossmoor — and that was the name of the game this past weekend. Playtime with Kid A, Kiki, Kate, and Tom.

Now that we’re back in Valdosta, we’re kicking into our final week of classes. After that we have Finals Week. And then? Then we’re off for the break. There’ll be work to do over the break, of course — but not the high-octane, kick-in-the-ass workload of End-Term time. (Let it be noted: Mumpower has a much, much heavier load than I — bless her heart!)

So, I’ll kick off this week with a ┬ásampling of Chicago (and Flossmoor) photos from Turkey Break. From there? No idea. We’ll play it by ear.

Hope you had a good Turkey Holiday! And I hope you survived Occupy-Shopping-Zombie-Fest.

~ janson