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

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

Sausage Clouds

Funny how this view of Navy Pier yields such interesting photos. I have taken a number of them, one just a few posts back. I thought the clouds reminded me of sausages, or possibly intestines although that isn’t as pleasant an image.

Don't those clouds remind you of sausages?

Don’t those clouds remind you of sausages?

I definitely is a dark December sky.

What do you think?

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

November Light

As November draws to a close and the requisite chill makes itself known there remain some beautiful mornings.

This was just moments before sunrise. I especially like the light on the trees and ship in the foreground.

In the second shot a while later, the sun had risen but snuck behind a cloud bank to reflect on chill Lake Michigan.

A lovely way to start Cyber Monday …

Tony

Rare Chicago Skyline Photo

You are looking at a view of the Chicago skyline that very few people who live in Chicago have ever seen. I shot it on a bike ride this morning from behind the Adler Planetarium. Most folks who live here don’t even know you can get behind the Planetarium let alone see the skyline from it.

Behind the Adler Planetarium.

 
This shot also shows the path that circles the Planetarium. I ride my bike on it regularly.

Tony

November Morn

I shot these yesterday. Although the vibrant colors of October have mostly fled, the sunrise fails to disappoint.

Shortly before sunrise.

The first is before sunrise and the second shortly after.

Not long after.

This is on a bike ride a little later.

Tony

Lakeshore East Park in Chicago

Created by the Magellan Development Corp LLC. This lush 6 acre park was dedicated to the city in 2005 and is part of the Chicago Park District. It features more than 500 trees of which there are 20 varieties. There are more than 100 varieties of plants and flowers. I think it is also one of the Downtown area’s best kept secrets.

Some final fall foliage

The Magellan website says, “The gated children’s park includes interactive water features and play structures on colorful surfaces, some made out of recycled tires. The area is bordered by shade arbors and seating for parents to observe children in close proximity. The centerpiece is a spray fountain that children can run through and enjoy….

Northeast corner of the park

“The long list of awards to the park that took four years to create includes Best Open Space and Best New Park in Chicago.”

All of that is true and as you can see from these photos the park is especially beautiful in Fall. I lived in London for a year when I worked for Reuters. I think they have some of the most beautiful parks in the world. Lakeshore East compares favorably with a London park.

Looking west you can see the bottom stories of the famed Aqua building

This is the park where I walk my dog three times every day. So, I am here regularly. As a result, I can attest to something the Magellan website neglects to mention, namely, that the park transforms high rise living in the area to neighborhood living.

Because I am there every day of the year, I encounter the amazing array of my neighbors. Many of them own dogs, but there are also the parents of the toddlers in the children’s park. There are the fellow retirees who come to sit and enjoy this tranquil urban beauty. Folks in the area come to stroll, picnic with family, play frisbee or soccer or just hang out.

I have lived in a high rise building since 1980, but this is the first time I was able to enjoy the experience of being in a neighborhood. It is like going back in time to my childhood when you would walk out your door and know everyone that you would encounter because they were your neighbors.

In addition, because the park serves as a gateway for folks on their way to Navy Pier and the lakefront, I also encounter numerous tourists, both local and international. You can read some of their reactions to the park here.

Looking west and down from Harbor Drive

I shot these photos to give you a look at the park in fall, but it is equally beautiful in the rest of the year, too.

As Michelin would say, “Worth a detour.”

Tony

Placid November Morning

I went out on the bike first thing Monday morning after staying in on Sunday due to the 45 mph wind gusts. Too much for me. Anyone who watched the Bears game on Sunday evening could see the violence of the weather in the rain and wind.

That’s why Monday morning was such a joy. The wind had spent itself and when I rode out, the sun was just getting ready to peek over the horizon. I thought Lake Michigan looked lovely.

You can see the Navy Pier ferris wheel in the background.

Just south of the Pier, looking dead east from the bike path.

Looking farther south toward the Monroe Yacht Club.

Wonderful contrast from the weekend’s turmoil.

Tony