Archive for the 'Macon County Illinois' Category

Matthew West Concert

150404_874_n1_p_r_wpSaturday was a good time.  Matthew West came to play in Decatur.  Matthew is from Downers Grove, IL but spent his college years in Decatur at Millikin University.  150404_441_n1_p_wpMatthew has won many awards in the music business and has written songs for many top musicians.  He uses his talent to spread the Gospel of Christ with his Music.  To listen to his music is a treat.

150404_491_n1_p_ss768_jThere is another Decatur connection in his band.  The drummer also attended Millikin.  That says a lot about the quality of musicians that Millikin University produces.  Another strong Decatur connection is the guitar player Jake Widenhofer.  Jake is a Decatur native, and his father is the head of the Music Department at Millikin.  As Matthew mentioned in the concert, it was a great time returning to Decatur.  He even mentioned his favorite burger from Kreckel’s.

150404_576_n1_p_wp Before the scene below, Matthew talked about how our sins and heart aches can be taken away by God.  He took several pages of paper with lists of heartaches that people have written to him about and tore them into shreds.  Then falling from above were tiny pieces of paper to represent all of the things that God can remove from our hearts.  To know you are forgiven and to know he can heal the broken-hearted, is the joy that Christians know.  To know the hope of heaven waiting for those who love Him is a comfort that God gives.

150404_945_n1_p_ss768_j  I did not make the beginning of the concert.  Colton Dixon who was on American Idol also, performed.  I did hear him play some with West’s band.  There was a lot of talent in Decatur that night.  It was a fun night of entertainment with other Christians and the presentation of a great message.

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Speaking of Owls

150323_016Dusk is always a challenge to photograph.  You are working with low light.  There is a change of shift in the bird world.  Day birds slowly disappear and night birds start showing up.  This barred owl, came out to investigate me.  There actually were two for a few moments.  Barred owls are easy to find if you listen for them.  They sound like, “who cooks, who cooks for you all”.    You may be able to hear them call, but they silent when the fly.  This gives them an advantage when hunting.  Great eyesight and stealth flights, give them a great advantage at night.

Fridays are Golden

 

140425_022_n1_p_e_1It has been a long week.  After work I moved some flower pots around the backyard and enjoyed seeing what prairie plants are popping up in my backyard.  Then for a little relaxation in the big chair in the living room.  Two episodes of Duck Dynasty to set the mood for the rest of the evening.  Grabbing camera I headed for Spitler Woods State Park.  The woodland flowers are coming up all over.  Bluebells, trout lily, dutchmans breeches, and red trillium are what you can see.

Not long before the sun set, I was looking for something that had the glow of the setting sun on it.  Most of the forest floor was in the shade.  Gold, I see.  Great light on the flower and background.  Getting the legs spread out to get my tripod on the ground, I lay down on the ground.  Then the unthinkable.  Coming down the trail are a mother and young son.  I just took all the effort to get down here and they show up.  I gave in and moved some and they gave in and walked around me.  I am grateful for that.

Back to the flower, getting out a reflector to add more light and time to capture light.  That is what photography is all about.  Capturing light.

Heading home, I put the canopy over the swing in the backyard.  I took it down for the winter.  Then I sat in the swing for an hour listening to all the sounds and spending some time reading a book on my phone.

The end of the week was great.  I found the pot of gold in several ways.  I hope you enjoy the one part I can share and I hope it brightens your day.

Short Time at Spitler Woods State Park

I took a short jaunt at Spitler Woods tonight.  The flowers are really popping out of the ground now.

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I am not sure what the above plant is, but they were all over.  Soon, I will probably know when they start blooming.  As of now the only thing blooming is the Dutchman’s Breeches.  There are not many, and the cold had an effect on them, but they has started Spring at the park.

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The weekend looks to be nice.  I am hoping to spend more time outside.  Going to spend time with family celebrating Christ this Easter.  I hope everyone’s weekend is full of Christ’s Blessings, family and friends along with some time to relax.

Great Photography and Backyard Habitat Workshop Today

Red Wing Blackbird

Red Wing Blackbird Along Roadside

Today was a fun day.  Some friends, Richard and Susan Day of “Daybreak Imagery”   http://www.DaybreakImagery.com   were in town today giving a presentation.  The Decatur Camera Club  http://www.DecaturCameraClub.net and Macon County Conservation District  http://www.MaconCountyConservation.org organized the workshop.  Richard started off talking about taking pictures of birds in your backyard.  He shard some of the equipment, blinds and patience it takes to get the photographs.  He shared some tips such as backgrounds, placement of seeds, use of water and many other things.

Then Susan took over and talked about planting for wildlife.  She talked about the flowers, plants, trees and shrubs needed to attract birds, butterflies and hummingbirds.  She is an expert in the field and has written books and many articles on the subjects.

Richard ended the program talking about photographing butterflies, dragonflies and humming birds.  He talked about the equipment needed from the most basic to the elaborate to accomplish the task.

Richard and Susan have been published by National Geographic, Audubon, and many other magazines.  Their photography and writings have been used in many calendars, cards and articles.  They give presentations throughout Illinois and surrounding area on their crafts.

Thanks for  a great day, and the encouragement you always give after seeing your presentations.  I went out afterwards and took a few minutes along a roadside to photograph the Red Wing Blackbird above.  Some of the tips they shared helped in capturing the image.  I imagine everyone attending walked away with some new knowledge in attracting and photographing wildlife.  Thanks again…

Cool but Sunny, and Time for the Birds

Today, it was a little cooler than a few days ago, but the sun was shinning.  I have had my photo blind up all winter, but have not been able to use it.  Today, I spent some time in it, so I will have been able to use it at least once before taking it down in the next few weeks.  A swing goes in the same spot for the summer.

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There was not much variety today for the birds.  We ran out of seed, so it was just what ever came in to pick up leftovers.  The cardinals stopped by for brief visit, but not where I could get a camera on them.  Dark-eyed Juncos were everywhere.  They are such a soft colored bird.  Not a lot of excitement, but still one I enjoy seeing.

Ordinary Can Be Beautiful

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The other day, I took some time to look for some deer trails at Rock Springs that were located close to a parking lot.  Deer frequent the area, and I was looking for a well used trail that would have great evening light.  The place I was investigating, may have good light a little later in the year.  The sun would have to come through some trees at an earlier time of day to also be the right angle for great lighting.  I hope to return soon and get some great images.

After scouting the area, I sat on a bench and watch the wetlands.  There was not much activity, but it was nice to get outside.  I had my camera, but had not really taken any pictures as of yet.

Suddenly, the light was starting to glow, and normal everyday grasses became interesting.  The grasses had the golden light of the last part of the day and the side lighting was giving them color, texture and depth.

Laying on the ground I lowered my tripod and waited for a lull in the breeze.  Click, Click, and Click again, the shutter was tripped.  I tried different compositions, and lens effects, to produce an image I am pleased to share.

It was a good day.  I found some trails for the future, that I would like to work.  I found some time to relax in the fall sun, and listen to the sounds of nature.  And I was open to seeing a treasure in an ordinary place.

Sometimes ordinary can be so beautiful.