Archive for July, 2010

Central Illinois Wildflower Display

Prairie Coneflower in Morning Light

If Summer wildflowers in Illinois is something you want to see, then Ballard Nature Center is one place to visit.  Ballard is located just outside Altamont, IL.  I came accross this place two years ago while participating in a photography workshop led by Richard Day with Daybreak Imagery.  Since then I have returned twice to photograph the flowers and insects that make this place a must place to visit for local photographers.

It is very unusual for me to get up before sunrise on a weekend.  This morning I woke up at 4am to get ready for the trip to Ballard.  Plans were to be there at sunrise, but it was about an hour or so later that I arrived.  Wanting to have softer lighting and cooler tempertures was the reason for the early start.

I spent from 6:45 am till 9:00 am photographing the fields that day.  Durning That time I did not cover more than .25 -.5 miles of trail.

There were conflowers all over the place.  Along with that were birds sitting on top of some of the plants and others making their way around in the mesh of stems and leaves that made up this habitat.  You could here the song of Redwing Blackbirds and others all around.

After photographing flowers I started looking for dragonflies to photograph.  I came upon this one early.  At first it was not very cooporative.  As I moved closer it would fly away.  As I slowly moved into position it accepted my presence.  I spent around five minutes working with this creature.

It amazes me what can be seen if we just stop in one place and just look to see what is there.  The park has many users.  Those users have different needs.  Early in the morning there were runners and walkers doing their daily excersise.  Later in the morning there were some that were walking and observing spending small amounts of time stopping and looking.  Then there was the photographer that would find and area and spend 20 minutes working and area to capture an image.

All these people and others are what makes Ballard so great.  It is a beautiful place to run and have sites and sounds encourage your run.  It is a great place to take a stroll and be mesmorized by the flowers and small insects that make up Ballard.  Then there are the people who just sit watch and wait to see what interations happen in a small area over a longer period of time.

Ballard and other places have many purposes.  Each of us can enjoy a place in our own way.  Each place offers many people many opportunities.  Places like this are rich in resources bringing joy to those who use them.