Photo Outings for 2018

Each month MAPS selects a location around the Chicagoland area to go for a Photo Outing. The major theme for these outings is nature. We select one outing per month and you can see when and where we go in the Calendar.  Please note that you can sign up for each event as listed below by following the specified link, and also note that by signing up for each event you are agreeing to the MAPS Photo Outing Waiver of Liability.

Photo Outing – Saturday, Nov. 17, 1:00PM, Bus Trip to Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area

On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 17, MAPS members were treated to an amazing sight; watching around 13,000 Sandhill cranes all coming together in the same spot at Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area near Medaryville, Indiana.  The trip began at the Plum Creek Nature Center in Beecher where several MAPS members and guests boarded a chartered bus for the 10th Annual Will County Forest Preserve Sandhill Crane Experience.

Although the weather, a typical overcast, cold and slightly misty November day, wasn’t that great for taking photographs, the experience of seeing and hearing the giant Sandhill cranes’ “Meet and Greet” scene on their migration trip south created its own impressive memory.  Thousands more cranes are expected to descend at the site in the coming days;  a road trip perhaps over the Thanksgiving holidays?

See our pictures here.

Photo Outing – Saturday, October 20 – 9:00am, Anderson Japanese Gardens and Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, Rockford

Anderson Japanese Gardens is a beautiful, outdoor setting that inspires the mind and energizes the soul.

The twelve-acre landscape of streams, waterfalls, winding pathways, and koi-filled ponds has been rated one of North America’s highest quality Japanese gardens for more than a decade. No tripods are allowed in the gardens.



Daily admission: Adults $9.00, Seniors (62+) $8.00

Lunch: Fresco at the Garden

After lunch those who wish to can travel to nearby Nicholas Conservatory & Garden. Situated along the banks of the beautiful Rock River, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens brings the tropics to the Midwest. The facility is the third largest conservatory in Illinois, offering an 11,000-square-foot plant exhibition area complete with water features, seating areas, and sculptures, all in a tropical plant setting.

Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
1354 N. 2nd Street
Rockford, IL, 61107

Admission: $8.00, seniors and veterans $6.00

Sign up for this outing click here


Photo Outing– Saturday, September 8 – Sagawau Canyon, Lemont

MAPS members received a special treat during the Sagawau Canyon outing in Lemont.  After an hour of photographing many, many hummingbirds, members were led to the Canyon entrance and introduced to the unique and fragile site by the environmental learning center naturalist.  She pointed out unusual protected plants and rock formations.
Because of the previous week’s rain, the canyon water level was quite high although that didn’t stop members from further exploration.  Our thanks to the Forest Preserves of Cook County.  Many of the MAPS members met up later at the Woodridge Library for the “Capturing Nature” exhibit reception.

See photos from this outing Here

August 252018 – Photo Outing – Chicago River Cruise

MAPS members met downtown and went on a river cruise with the Chicago Architectural Center. Some of the tallest building were shrouded in clouds, making for challenging shots. Other buildings gave us beautiful views and lots of reflections. Our captain and our docent did a great job.

Afterward some of us wandered down Michigan Ave. and went to brunch at the Gage. Following brunch, some of us went off to the Cultural Center and others visited the Chicago Athletic Association to view the old lobby, library, game room and Cherry Circle Room as well as the new restaurant on the 13th floor – Cindy’s. We also took a walk over to the Art Institute to sit in the South Garden:

See our photos Here

Photo Outing– Saturday, August 4, Ball Horticultural, West Chicago

Several MAPS members braved the intense heat and humidity to attend the photo outing at Ball Horticultural. The flowers stilled looked beautiful even with all the hot days we’ve experienced this summer. Some hummingbirds and butterflies were spotted as well. A big thanks to the folks at Ball for allowing us early entry without a Ball representative on hand!

Some of us went to brunch afterward at Egg Yolk Café for good eats and lively photographic conversation.

See our photos Click Here

July 26 and July 28, 2018 – Photo Outing – Birdhaven/ Pilcher Park, Joliet

On Thursday, a MAPS group of 17 members attended the Birdhaven outing enjoying a perfect summer day amid hummingbirds, glorious gardens and a spectacular historic greenhouse filled with every coleus cultivar.  After what seemed like an endless drive through the woods, members arrived at the far end of preserve to discover the nature center, river pathway and special bird habitats. Mark Hanna led the group to various points of interest and shared his discoveries about the area.  Thanks so much Mark! After the outing a dozen members headed over to Mattina’s Cafe and Pancake House in New Lenox for very good “eats.”

On Saturday we had about 7 members shooting flowers and hummingbirds. We went into Pilcher Park where I showed members places where I have always had good luck. The park was very busy, but Tim and Larry and I were in there before 7am and had some luck with a king fisher, some deer, egrets and a great blue heron. Later some of us went to lunch at Mattina’s.

See our photos here

Photo Outing – Sat. July 14 and  Thurs. July 19, Little Red Schoolhouse, Forest Preserve of Cook County

Three miles of trails, interpretive center, woods and prairie plus a preserved 1886 schoolhouse.  Snakes, turtles, frogs and lily pond and especially for bird lovers is the Long John Slough complete with observation blind.  Bring your lenses to catch macro flower and butterfly images, video and extra long lenses for fish diving birds and your all-purpose lenses for stunning woods, trees and other dramatic nature scenes.  Also pack along plenty of bug spray, sun screen and water bottles.

Be sure to check in with Mark Hanna and Claudia Frost, MAPS Outing Hosts, and they will guide the group to find some special bird hide-a -ways and charming woods and pond creatures. Trails open at 8 am but the buildings and restrooms don’t open until 9 am.

See member images from this outing Click Here


June 5, 2018 – Photo Outing – Troll Creations at The Morton Arboretum

MAPS Troll Hunters spent a blue sky sunny morning discovering six guardians of the forest hiding throughout the Arboretum.  From the parking lot near the Visitor Center through the roads and paths of the Arboretum they hunted and photographed the giant troll sculptures made of reclaimed wood and other found materials.

The highlight of the outing concluded at Bobolink Meadow where 8 members met and chatted with Danish artist, Thomas Dambo, who has been creating the collection for the past few weeks.  He and crew were applying pine tree branches as hair to a giant reclining troll who they configured relaxing in the spacious field. Before heading home members enjoyed lunch in the redesigned Ginkgo Restaurant giving it and the food a thumbs up!

To  see members’ images, click here.

MAY 5, 2018 – MAPS SPRING CBG OUTING – SATURDAY. Only a handful of MAPS members attended our weather-delayed “April” outing to the Chicago Botanic Gardens on Saturday, May 5, but those who did, captured images of the Gardens at their spring finest (with even more to follow.)  Spectacular blooming tulips, annuals, including pansies, foxgloves, Persian buttercup, multicolored Iceland poppies, the towering Pride-of-Madeira and magnolias trees were putting on a show alongside thousands of daffodils blanketing the spring green grounds.  

To read more and see members’ images, click here

March 24, 2018 – Photo Outing at Hausermann Orchids. MAPS orchid enthusiasts welcomed the tropical climate of Hausermann’s Orchids in Villa Park, while March winds howled and brought blizzard conditions to areas south of Chicago.  Three acres of colorful blooms provided 31 MAPS members with unlimited photo opp of hundreds of breathtaking orchids. 

To read more and see members’ images, click here.

February 24, 2018 – MAPS/PROCAM outing – LIGHTS! LIGHTS! LIGHTS!

Nineteen MAPS members enjoyed a morning of experimenting with 10 different lighting scenarios set up in the spacious PROCAM photo studio in Aurora.  A big THANK YOU is extended to Vince for explaining how and when to use each piece of equipment.  Members were intrigued with all the different lighting options available and their ease of use.

To read more and see members’ images, click here .

February 17, 2018 – Helix Camera outing with Michael Barton. Master photographer Michael Barton introduced many new innovative and deceptively simple tools to MAPS members at the Helix Camera workshop in Itasca on Saturday, February 17.  To read more and see members’ imagesclick here.

January 13, 2018Still Life at The Morton Arboretum – MAPS members didn’t have to brave the cold for our Still Life outing. We were comfy & cozy with our tons of strange fruits and vegetables in the Arbor Room at Thornhill.

Click here to see participant’s photos.