Illinois Prairie Path – 50 Years of Celebration

At the October, 2012, MAPS meeting, we heard a great presentation from Bob Sobie, President of the Illinois Prairie Path (IPP), a not-for-profit corporation, on the history and significance of the path. There is a rich historic tie-in with The Morton Arboretum through May T. Watts, one of the key people in developing the Arboretum into what it is today. Given the long standing relationship between the organizations, MAPS has been asked to create and provide images for the IPP to help them celebrate their 50th anniversary.

MAPS distinguished itself with the images we all generated in the Schulenberg Prairie Project for the Arboretum’s Donor’s Conference. The objective here is to repeat our success for the IPP and have fun doing it.

A number of MAPS people are involved in organizing this effort thus far. Greg Blue and Mary Mehl have spearheaded the agreements with the IPP and established the overall direction.  Lisa Sly and Chuck Hunnicut will provide overall coordination going forward. So, now is the time for all of the MAPS members to join in the fun with what we all do best – shooting great images.

There has been a lot of discussion and questions asked. The following points summarize the ideas and thinking at the outset of our project.

 How will the images be used?

The IPP will use the images in their promotional and motivational material. They could appear in pamphlets, web shots, and a calendar.

 What is the recommended subject matter?

Emphasize the benefits and pleasures of the path. Ideally, the shots will include the path. Images showing people using the path (walkers, runners, bikers) are preferable. Nature shots of plants along the path are great. Record shots of vistas from the path and people using the path are preferred over artistic images.

 When should we shoot the images?

Capture images that represent the path in all seasons; hence, this is a year round project. Now is a great time to get out and capture the path with all of the fall color. We will continue through all of the seasons. Shots including people using the path in the winter are uncommon and highly desirable.

 Will we be able to see the images that other MAPS members have captured?

Yes. They will be available for viewing online. At a minimum, we can use Google+ as we did with the Prairie project. However, there may be better ways. Details on this will be supplied later.

 Do we need release forms from people included in the shots?

To be safe, the answer is YES if the person is recognizable. This is a touchy subject. Realize some people are very sensitive to having their picture taken. Also, be especially careful photographing children given the social environment we live in today.

Christine Foley and Tina Tyson Dunne have supplied us with some release forms. We have both adult and minor forms to use when out photographing. However, if you wish, we can email you a form. We have been advised that the wording was prepared by lawyers and we should not change the wording.

 How do we find people to include in the shots?

We can always take our chances and shoot people using the path. Or, we can bring our own models. MAPS members could work in pairs and use each other as a model. Use your spouse and children or grandchildren. Recruit a friend. Utilize a running or biking club. There are also people connected with the IPP who know running groups and biking groups we can contact to find out when and where they will be congregating on the path.

 What size should the images be?

Initially, submit jpeg or tiff images 2000 pixels on the longest side. For most applications, this will be sufficient. However, if the IPP wishes to make large prints, we will come back to you for larger files. Please keep your email file size to less than 25 megabytes to avoid hitting email limits.

 What other information do we need to supply with the images?

Please identify where on the path the image was taken. We suggest using the caption field in the image file to describe the location. All of the recommended shooting locations are identified with a label. Simply inserting that label in the captions field will be fine. GPS data is acceptable also.

 Who do we send the images to?

Email the images to Chuck Hunnicutt at and/or Lisa Sly at . Please include “IPP Images” in the subject of your email.

 Will photographers receive credit for their images?

Yes, but the details are not yet worked out.

 Is there a way for MAPS photographers to identify themselves while working on the path?

There have been numerous suggestions to have business cards and/or lanyards that identify MAPS photographers. Business cards will be available after October 17th ; contact Mary Mehl at to obtain a stack of cards. Another idea is to purchase a MAPS hat or shirt from our website. While this costs a little money, the profits do go back into the club. As we learn more, we will update this topic.

The Illinois Prairie Path consists of five (5) trails: Main Stem, Elgin Branch, Geneva Spur, Aurora Branch, and the Batavia Spur.  The Main Stem runs West from Maywood to Wheaton.  The Elgin Branch runs Northwest from Wheaton to Elgin.  The Geneva Spur runs West from the Elgin Branch to the Fox River in Geneva.  The Aurora Branch runs Southwest from Wheaton to the north side of Aurora at the Fox River.  The Batavia Spur run West Northwest from the Aurora Branch to the Fox River in Batavia.