Frigid February Morning

This is what sub-zero looks like. It was just below zero Fahrenheit this morning when I shot these.

The sun was just beginning to creep over the horizon at this point

The sun was just beginning to creep over the horizon at this point

Up over the horizon, but blocked by clouds…

Over the horizon, but not quite visible...

Over the horizon, but not quite visible…

Peeking through the clouds …

Brightening, but still chill ...

Brightening, but still chill …

Here the sun has risen and illuminates the ‘steam’ coming up from the surface waters which is really ice crystals.

Lovely reflection off Lake Michigan's surface ...

Lovely reflection off Lake Michigan’s surface …

This is just a clearer shot of the lake’s surface.

Last, but not least more surface detail.

Last, but not least more surface detail.

One of the things worth mentioning is that these were shot looking almost exactly due east, so you can see how much the sun has returned from its wintry trip down south. It is almost dead even on the horizon as it moves back north through spring and summer.

These photos were shot today, February first. Since the first of the year, we have added 13 minutes of daylight in the morning and 35 minutes in the afternoon, so we have a total of 48 more minutes of sunlight now than we did when the year started. Things are looking up.

Tony

Another January Morning

Here is another January morning sunrise. I wondered if the weather had anything to do with it.

Chicago has been suffering from the arrival of winter. “Chicago’s coldest blast of air in 2 years is easing—but slowly. By midnight Tuesday, the area moved into a 55th consecutive hour of sub-20-degree thermometer readings and 46 hours with wind chills below zero. Tuesday’s 11-degree high and 1-below morning low put the day into the record books as the city’s coldest of the past two years,” according to the blog of Tom Skilling, the awesome local meteorologist.

tues

In this frigid weather, what looks like steam coming up off the surface of the lake is actually ice crystals.

Tony

Oldies but Goodies

I was just doing some year end housecleaning and ran across these two photos that I had previously sent to friends. Thought they looked good enough to share with you.

The first was a spectucular December morning.

Awesome array of colors

Awesome array of colors

The second was a photo I took one morning walking the dog. The sun hadn’t quite risen yet and there was one of those magical morning lights going on.

This is in Lakeshore East Park looking west

This is in Lakeshore East Park looking west around sunrise. The sun is coming up behind me.

Happy holidays, all!

Tony

Late December Afternoon

After sharing our splendid December day with you last week, it seems only fitting to pass on this one, too. Today was not a splendid December day at all. The temperature ranged slightly above average at low 40s F, but rain fell intermittently and wind gusts ranged to 35 mph peppering your face and body if you were out in it. Not a fun day.

Image

The rains and wind kept me off my bike till late afternoon when it slowed to a trickle. I rode along the lakefront for a while as the light evaporated. I was on the way home when I caught this view of Burnham Harbor and Navy Pier in the background. I was struck by the fading light and the character of the electronic illumination which had been turned on. The lack of daylight rendered a soft focus to the photo which really fascinated me. It reminded me of something Impressionistic, especially the way the lights seemed to have been dabbed on by a paint brush, not really defined at all.

If you look close you can see the sidewalk is still shiny from rain.

Tony

A Splendorous Friday December 14 in Chicago

Triskaidekaphobics fear Friday the 13th, but we almost need to invent a new word on the other end of the spectrum for the Friday the 14th that Chicago experienced.

I posted a number of times on Fall Foliage and the experience of the changing seasons here in Chicago. Typical Fall goings on. The leaves turn colors and drop from the branches.

But, here it is a week before the official start of winter and it feels like someone has turned back the clock. To be sure, most trees are barren of leaves. But, we had spring-like conditions Friday.

Here is Monroe Harbor Bereft of boats, but glistening in sunshine

Here is Monroe Harbor bereft of boats, but glistening in sunshine. That’s Navy Pier in the background

The normal high for December 14 is 35 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 23. We experienced a high of 49 F and a low of 31. Notice that the low is only four degrees under the normal high. In addition, we basked in a luxurious sunny day with very little wind. Most un-Decemberlike. The weather bureau reports that we have just set a record of 285 days without measurable snow. The last such snowfall was March 4. The latest “first measurable snow of season” – December 16, 1965.

Good for a double take - a sightseeing boat in mid-December

Good for a double take – a sightseeing boat in mid-December on Lake Michigan

The day started in the 30s, but worked its way up fast. I felt like it was an imposter 30s because there was no bite to the air. On my first bike ride, I didn’t take the dog, because she doesn’t ride in less than 45F weather. I enjoy having her with me, but I don’t want to be practicing animal abuse in the bargain. By the time I got home from the ride, however, the temp had risen above 40F and I knew I would have company if/when I rode in the afternoon.

I hope these photos demonstrate just what a gorgeous day we had here. Keep in mind that mid-December in Chicago could have blizzard-like conditions.

Gabi taking a rest on a bench wearing only a hoodie in mid-December

Gabi taking a rest on a bench wearing only a hoodie in mid-December

I ride my bike every day that I can, so the variance in temperature meant that I wore a different outfit. Also, I don’t take my dog with when we have less than 45 F.

Because I carry my iPhone with me on rides, I was able to record some of the day’s splendor.

This past Friday was indeed one to remember and for which to be thankful for to a generous providence.

Tony

Angry Skies Over Lake Michigan

I don’t know if it is just my imagination, but this sky today looked angry perhaps reflecting the violence of Sandy terrorizing the East Coast.

Even though we are hundreds of miles west of main storm activity, I found myself fighting 35 mph wind gusts on an early bike ride.

Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as they are forecasting for our friends and loved ones in the East. The power of nature is awesome indeed.

Tony

Overcast Morning Just Before Sunrise

This is what the sky looked like facing southeast this morning just before sunrise. The lights in the distance are the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. The dark clouds overhead hint at the turmoil in the air from Frankenstorm Sandy approaching the East Coast. Wind gusts hit to 30 miles per hour on my morning bike ride.

An awesome look at nature.

Tony

Chicago Lakefront Sculpture – Nautilus

Besides the wonderful sunrises, wildlife and skyline, Chicago has also dotted the lakefront with various forms of art. One of my favorites is Nautilus by Suzanne Horwitz. I have zero art education. As with music I just know what I like.

The sun really brings it to life

Here is Nautilus. I think it is magnificent. I see it every day. There is a feeling of strength about it that I love. It looks to me like it rose up out of the ground by its own power. It also looks like one of nature’ s perfect forms, like a cloud or a flower. It’s surface appears to be brushed aluminum. Lastly, unlike every other piece of sculpture on the lakefront, it doesn’t look manufactured, it strikes me as organic like it just burst through the ground right there.

Here is Nautilus from a distance.

Yesterday while riding by, I encountered a woman who seemed to be polishing it. I stopped and actually met Suzanne Horwitz, the artist, who was there putting on a coat of polish before Chicago’s winter struck with its snow, ice and rock salt.

She said she enjoyed coming down to the lakefront and hearing reactions to Nautilus. She named it Nautilus because there is a feeling of the sea about it.

The artist polishing Nautilus

Her bio says, “Horwitz’s sculpture won recognition at the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey. Her work is represented in the corporate collections of The Options Clearing Corporation in Chicago and Goldman Sachs in New York. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan.”

You can see more of her wonderful work at her website.

Enjoy!

Tony

Sunrise on a Rainy Day

I shot the first photo from my window at sunrise. Maybe this is the red in the morning that would be a ‘sailor’s warning’ because it rained and was blustery much of the day.

 

I shot the second photo about an hour later. I had walked the dog and this was from the lakefront on a bike ride. It isn’t often you see a gray day beginning to happen. This was one.

I love the lonely sailboats.

Tony