Photo Outings for 2018

Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area – November 17, 2018
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?


Anderson Japanese Gardens – October 20, 2018
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.


Sagawau Canyon, Lemont – September 8, 2018
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.

Images can be viewed here.


Chicago River CruiseAugust 25, 2018
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:https://tclf.org/landscapes/art-institute-chicago-south-garden.

Images can be viewed here.


Ball Horticultural, West Chicago – August 4, 2018
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.

Images can be viewed here.


Birdhaven/ Pilcher Park, JolietJuly 26 and 28, 2018
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.

Images can be viewed here.


Little Red SchoolhouseJuly 14 and July 19, 2018
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.

Images can be viewed here.


Troll Creations at The Morton ArboretumJune 5, 2018
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!

Images can be viewed here.


Chicago Botanical Gardens – May 5, 2018
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.


Hausermann OrchidsMarch 24, 2018
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.

Images can be viewed here.


PROCAMFebruary 24, 2018
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.

Images can be viewed here .


Helix Camera with Michael Barton – February 17, 2018
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. 

Images can be viewed here.


Still Life at The Morton Arboretum – January 13, 2018
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.

Images can be viewed here.