Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien Illinois Walking

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve: Everything You Need to Know!

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien Illinois Walking

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve: Everything You Need to

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is a 2,503-acre of beautiful open space in DuPage County of Illinois. It is named after it’s Rocky Glen waterfall and offers a comprehensive amount of hiking trails. 

This wonderful oasis contains rocky landscapes, with varying elevations including the well known Sawmill Creek bluff overlook. In addition, Waterfall Glen provides 11 miles of winding nature trails which are beloved by hikers, trail runners, cyclist, horseback riders. In the winter months, these extensive trails are popular with cross country skiers. Looking for a more relaxing activity? The forest preserve is also home to fishing and youth group campsite. Who would have though, that this open space of nature in Illinois is home to such a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve Scenic Overlook

Where is Waterfall Glen?

Waterfall Glen is located Darien &  Lemont, a south-western suburb of Chicago, Illinois. It is part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien Illinois Running Trails

How to Get Here

Waterfall Glen is accessible at a plethora of locations, offering a variety of parking options. It is conveniently located off of the I-55 highway with the main entrance and trailhead being right off of Northgate Road. There are also parking lot options on Lemont Road by the intersection of 101st street as well as a parking lot at the intersection of Cass Avenue and Bluff Road.

waterfall glen rocky glen waterfall long exposure water photography

Where is the waterfall?

Rocky Glen waterfall which is the waterfall at Waterfall Glen is located towards the south east part of the forest preserve. The best and easiest way to get to the waterfall is at the Waterfall parking lot located at the intersection of Cass and Bluff Road. From there you can travel along the Rocky Glen trail for a little less than half a mile until you reach the infamous waterfall. From there I suggest traveling up south to view the scenic overlook. It only takes a few minutes but the view of the waterfall from above is absolutely worth it.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien Illinois Entrance Trail

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve Trail Map

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Illinois Trail map 2020
Waterfall Glen Couple Engagement Portrait Photography in the Fall

Photography at Waterfall Fall Glen

This forest preserve is a nature and portrait photographer’s dream. From the beautiful lush trails to the picturesque scenery, the opportunities here are endless. This was one of the first places I explored when I first started photography and now it is one of my favorite locations for engagement photography. Grab your camera and get lost in the natural beautiful of Waterfall Glen!

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien Illinois Dirt Trails

Fun Facts:

  • Located in it’s ravine is the famous waterfall which is actually is a dam.
  • It completely surrounds Argonne National Laboratory.
  • Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is  2,503-acre.
  • You can actually swim in the waterfall area so bring the kids. (Well, wading is more suitable than swim.)
  • The Forest Preserve District bought its first 75 acres at Waterfall Glen in 1925.
Chicago Skyline Sunrise Reflection Photography Location from the Adler Planetarium

5 Best Places to See the Chicago Sunrise

5 Best Places to See the Chicago Sunrise

360 Chicago Sunrise

Seeing the Chicago sunrise over Lake Michigan is truly a magical experience but I do not think that it gets the appreciation that it deserves. I know, there is so much to do and not enough time. I get it, with over 77 communities, on over 234 square miles of land, Chicago is the third largest city in the America. It’s big and there is a lot to see but there are a few reasons that you should try and fit the sunrise into your next visit.

Firstly, nothing is open so you really the only thing you have to choose between is either catching a few some more z’s or catching that morning light. That may actually be a hardest decision here but trust me after seeing a few  of my sunrise photography, you won’t regret it. Next is that you can enjoy most of the places if not all without the daytime crowd. It sounds a bit cheesy but there is a sense of serenity when you are all by your self, watching the darkness turn to light, as the city slowly wakes up. And lastly, it’s free! (for the most part)

Are you ready to set your morning alarm and get out there yet? From seeing the morning rays 1000 feet high to sitting on the natural rocks off of the shore, it is truly a beautiful experience. Here are my top 5 best places to watch the sunrise in Chicago.

Chicago Sunrise Photography

Sunrise at Fullerton Beach

The sunrise at Fullerton Beach off of Lake Michigan in Chicago will always have a special place in my heart. This location was the spot in which I photographed my very first morning in the city. I have seen this lookout evolve from a rugged natural piece of the lake shore to a well manicured park, where families and friends stay to hang out.

What makes Fullerton Beach such an amazing spot to catch the sunrise is that it not only gives you a some of the most beautiful views of Lake Michigan but a unique photography shot of the Chicago skyline. The beach is located right off the Fullerton Exit on Lake Shore Dive, which is on the east side of Lincoln Park Zoo and just north of North Avenue Beach. It is quite an accessible location in which you can find free parking all along Cannon Drive. 

See the full collection here at sunrise at the lakefront

Chicago Skyline Reflection Sunrise Photography

North Avenue Beach Sunrise

North Avenue Beach lies just south of Fullerton Beach but it contains a completely different scale to Chicago’s sunrise. This is the most popular beach in the city. During the summer months it is alive with sunbathers, volleyball games and basically any activity that involves fun. In the morning, this beach is quiet and a beautiful place to watch the sunrise. Since it is located closer to the skyline, it gives you a completely different scale compared to Fullerton Beach. I also love the different opportunities for photography here. You can capture interesting photos of the famous wooden nautical boat, play with images from the adjoining bridge, or use lifeguard tower and other beach subjects to create a beautiful early morning scene.

The Chicago Sunrise at Northwestern University's Painted Rocks Lakeshore Path

Northwestern University Lakefront Path

Northwestern University is not as close to Chicago as the other spots on this list but the sunrise view is hard to beat. Located north of the city in Evanston, Northwestern University lies right off of Lake Michigan. There’s a beautiful lakefront path scattered with colorful rocks painted by the students of the university making this such a colorful spot. This is one of my favorite hidden gems for photographing the sunrise, mainly because of the unique landscape as well as the quietness of this place. You can find free parking in the surrounding neighborhoods if you don’t mind the short walk to the lake. If you are planning on visiting, bring a hammock and relax with one of the most beautiful views of Chicago.

Chicago Skyline Sunrise Photography Location at the Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium Sunrise

The Adler Planetarium is by far the best place to see the famous Chicago skyline.  Located right off of Lake Michigan, this spot gives you panorama views of the city from the Shed Aquarium to the Sears tower to Navy Pier. The best part about this spot is seeing the reflection of the city’s architecture mirrored in the lake. Add in the warm glow of the beautiful architecture of the city skyline and you have the recipe of the of the perfect Chicago sunrise. You can park all along Solidarity Dr. It is paid parking but you can get some good shots before the meter starts to charge you.

360 Chicago Sunrise Photography

Sunrise at 360 Chicago

Watching the sunrise from 360 Chicago, is that sort of experience that is truly unforgettable. This is the least accessible of the previous locations on the list, mainly because it is 1000 feet above Michigan Ave in the world renowned John Hancock building off on State street. I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to a few sunrise photography meets at this observatory deck and wow. With 360 degree views of the Chicago skyline , the sunrise photo possibilities are endless.

See the Full collection at 360 Chicago Sunrise

360 Chicago Sunrise Photography

Where to Watch the Chicago Sunrise?

Every place on this list offers their own unique Chicago sunrise experience. Pick out one or honestly none of these but all that I ask is that you go and see one for yourself. I promise you that you will not regret it. It’s the little joys like this that makes life so incredibly beautiful. Seeing the morning light rising above Lake Michigan, the sky filled with colors of bright orange, yellow, and red hues reflecting on the crashing waves will always be one of my favorite moments in life. If you have any suggestions or would like to share your sunrise experience, comment below. I’d love to hear about it!

Chicago Sunrise Reflection Photography Location from the Adler Planetarium

What Time is the Sunrise in Chicago?

Check below for sunrise and sunset times


Cloudy lighthouse during the sunset in a light bulb surreal conceptual fine art local photography

I Will Leave the Light On

I will leave the light on.

Happiness and hope has always outshined the darkest of hours. Right now fear is slowly running through the veins of many people who search for some sort of life line in this precarious time. Lives have been upheaved and we frantically attempt to put the pieces back in order.

As an attempt to offer a glimmer of hope we are taking a breather from each other physically and socially. For the first time in many people’s lives, we are somewhat forced to focus on ourselves. We are rediscovering our passions. We are understanding ourselves better. We finding out how truly weird we really are.

I have always subconsciously put off things I have wanted to do, due to the lack of hours in a day. And now I’m required to take a deep breathe. What now?

This void of empty time has somehow inflected more stress than relieving. I feel like I have to fill every minute of the day with a task to feel productive otherwise I just wasted a day. To add to it, if I don’t start or do any of the things that Ive previously put off because of the lack of hours of the day, then what? Am I failing? Do I lack the ability to be a better version of myself. Do I just simply not have what it takes to be the person who I have alwaysed envisioned in my mind?

Breathe.

There was a post from Clementine Morrigan that resonated this exact sort of self isolation anxiety. She wrote

“There are a lot of posts being like: use this time to cross things off your to do list, deep clean your house, work on yourself, start a mediation practive, etc etc etc… And these posts are obviously well meaning and may be helpful for a lot of people…

We may also feel a weird pressure to ‘use this time well’ (capitalism is alive in our bodies) and we may be spiraling into a shame that we can’t seem to turn this situation into a healthy writing retreat or a get all that cleaning done or whatever.

So I just want to say: whatever you are doing is fine.

If all you’re managing is watch tv or stare at your phone

it’s ok.

If you are having trouble functioning

it is ok

We need to take a harm reduction approach and not expect ourselves to be suddenly not traumatized.

It’s okay if you’re not getting anything done.

It’s okay if you’re not at your healthier or productive right now.

The focus should be on lessening the harm of our nervous system distress and then working from there.

You are not a failure.

Whatever you are experiencing right now is okay.”

Cloudy lighthouse during the sunset in a light bulb surreal conceptual fine art local photography

It is ok.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I did. I have stacks of books that I feel like I should be reading, countless of interesting Udemy classes that I know I should be starting, exercises that I should be doing, finances to figure out but instead I’m writing and listening to music. Yesterday I wrote and spent hours working on and animating this image while listening to music. And it’s ok.

Creativity, imagination, art, expression, they are all the light that is guiding me through this dark tunnel of solitude and anxiety. This is what makes me feel happy and hopeful.

What is your light?

Be well. Stay safe friends.

Traveling to Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida

Traveling in Indonesia for 2 Weeks

Traveling in Indonesia for 2 Weeks

And just like that, with one click of the mouse, I’m traveling to Indonesia for 2 weeks. The first question is most likely, why Indonesia? Honestly, there was not one thing that I could say that would truthfully answer that question. Of course Bali, with it’s endless beaches and countless waterfalls could be a suitable reason. Or Nusa Penida with it’s turquoise water and rugged landscape could be another. And I mean who would not want to visit Komodo Island and look into the eyes of the largest lizards in the world, the Komodo dragons. All viable explanations of why Indonesia. But I would be lying to say that these were the reasons I clicked ‘book it’.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you a little bit about my experience traveling to the world’s largest island country that is Indonesia.

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Yogyakarta the Soul of Java

Our journey started Yogyakarta. A traditional city located on the Indonesian island of Java. It was the first day and that was all it took for me to realize that I will not dare to try and drive here. It was hypnotizing seeing scooters dodge and weave their way through traffic like they were swimming through the sea. We were dropped off at our airbnb, which was a beautiful guest house that was hidden in an oasis of trees and water. Our time was limited but our priorities were straight. First indulge in street food, second explore the soul of Yogyakarta.


Prambanan Temple at Sunset Indonesia Travel

Sunset at Prambanan Temple

We only had one day in Yogyakarta and we were eager to make the best of it. Our first evening of soul searching was spent watching the sunset at Prambanan Temple. It was a immense field of ancient ruins. Watching each step, I carefully made my way through the stone remains. I tried to imagine what it would have been like in the 9th century. Walking up the steps, and overlooking the 244 Hindu temples scattered throughout the landscape as the day slowly fades away. I snapped back to reality as child screamed with laughter, running through the most beautiful architectural grave site I’ve stepped foot in.


Borobudur Temple Sunrise Photography

Sunrise at Borobudur Temple

It was 4:30 am and I was rubbing the last bit of yesterday from my eyes. I gathered my things, opened the bedroom door and walked into the darkness of the morning to meet our Grab driver. He drove us through winding roads showing us the plethora of markets that were already full of life. The car started to slow and we came to a stop at Manohara hotel. This is the only ‘official’ way to enter the world’s largest Buddhist temple Borobudur and since I did not feel like getting arrested this trip, I thought this would be our safest bet.

We walked through the entrance, paid our fee and they handed us our flashlights. We turned them on and started walking towards the soft chatters of our fellow sunrise chasers. We found the stairs and started the trek up. It was still picth black but with the faint light of the flashlights I quickly felt the immensity of this sacred site.

I waited patiently, feeling like the lights just dimmed in the theatre and you knew instantly that the show was about to begin. The rays of light broke through the horizon first as the sun quickly followed. The scene turned from pitch black to the warm colors of the morning, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I really wish that my photography did justice to this wonder of the world that is Bororbudur Temple but below is my attempt.


Bali Sunrise Indonesia Travel Photography

Bali

Bali seems to be forefront when speaking about Indonesia. It has become a consistent tourist destination for good reason. It honestly has everything for everyone. From walking along white sand beaches to swinging over a stretch of rice fields to drinking a cup of koi luwak coffee in the middle of a forest after hiking to a waterfall, it was more of a playground for me. 

Truth to be told, I could have spent a month here and still have much more to explore. With 99% less than a month in our schedule, we booked an Airbnb Tour to see as much as we could. It was worth it. Walking up to the Gate of Heaven in person, overlooking Agung, the biggest volcano in Bali, was an image I’ve seen all over instagram and blogs and now I know why. Experience. The air you soak up at Tegalalang terrace, feeling the water hitting against your face under the Tukad Cepung waterfall, or smelling the mixture of scents filling the air at a coffee plantation, makes these places you see behind a screen real. Visit Bali just once and you’ll understand this.


Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

I woke up to unfamiliar sounds on my balcony. I rolled over to see the source and to my surprise, a monkey was making itself comfortable. Then another and another joined and the next thing I knew, my friends shoe was over the edge. This was going to be a good day.

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, also known as the Ubud Monkey Forest, is home to over 600 Balinese long-tailed monkeys. You are the visitor as you walk through this forest sanctuary that is their home. From a mother feeding their child to a group sitting watching as children performed a balinese dance, there was a humanist quality to them. It was quite captivating in a mysterious way. Although one of the warnings were not to look at them in their eye, I caught a few glances. Here are a few photographs from a stroll in their habitat.


Traveling to Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is the largest of the Nusa Islands sitting just south east of Bali. If there was an image that influenced my choice to going to Indonesia it was this island. Kelingking, also known as the t-rex arm, fittingly appeared like it was preserved from the Cretaceous Period. It was lush, rugged and like a scene from a movie, enclosed a beautiful secluded beach. The hike down was somewhat challenging and some places a little sketchy, but once your feet hits the sand, surrounded by cliffs, and seeing the crystal blue water, those thoughts are quickly washed away. 

Wild and free. This was how the whole island felt. Exploring through rough terrain, sitting along endless cliffs and unwinding in the warm tropical water, all to fall asleep under a blanket of stars, that is what Nusa Penida was for me. Diamonds scattered throughout this pebble in the world, just waiting to be found.


Padar Island Flores Indonesia Travel Photography

Traveling to Komodo

Komodo Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Lesser Sunda chain of Islands in East Nusa Tenggara. It’s also known for, drumroll please, Komodo Dragons. Yes I know shocker! But these islands are the only place in the world to see them so as they say, when in Indonesia! So we hopped on a plane from Bali and headed straight to the closest town which is Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores.

Like Bali, we were extremely limited on time and so we booked an all day excursion with Bintang Komodo Tours to experience as much as we could. It did not disappoint. Starting in the early morning, a few of us set sail as the sun began to rise and arrived at the first stop which was Padar Island. The view from the top of this hike was worth everything and more. A panorama view of the landscape that looked like it was crawling out to sea. We then stopped by the famous pink sand beach (pink due to it’s Corals) and an small banana shaped island/ sand bar to snorkel and finally made our way to see the legendary lizards.


Komodo Dragons Indonesia Travel Photography

Komodo National Park

There has been a lot of talk about Komodo National Park. Mainly about tourism. It was said that they would close off the park to tourist in 2020 and just recently rumored that it will be open but at a premium cost of $1000. We were fortunate enough to make it before any drastic changes were made. Upon arriving, we were given a tour guide, explained to us the risks, and ended on a somber note of the good possibility of not seeing any dragons at all. Optimistic though, we set out and within 5 minutes, stumbled upon 6 Dragons, 3 adults and 3 babies, all in one communal area! It was a surreal moment for sure, that I will not take with a grain of salt. Encountering the worlds largest and quite deadly lizards, with saliva and remnants of blood on their face is a memory  I will hold onto.

Komodo Dragons Indonesia Travel Photography


Snorkeling with Manta Rays in Indonesia

Snorkeling in Indonesia

With over 17,000 islands comprising of Indonesia, snorkeling is a rights of passage when visiting. I have never snorkeled in my life, like really snorkeled. There may have been a few incidents when I’ve placed a snorkel mask on my face and swam around the pool looking for pennies at the bottom. But trust me nothing like this.

I still can’t quite comprehend what I saw. One day we hopped on a boat in Gilli Island and the next I was circling around an underwater sculpture, watching the array of tropical fish swimming along not taking notice or more not caring that a stranger was hovering around their neighborhood. The next time we jumped on a boat in Nusa Penida, I did the Shaka shake for my GoPro as I spilled over the side of the boat and all of a sudden an 11 ft Manta Ray came gliding above me. Lastly, on our excursion in and around Komodo Island, felt more like a grand finale. From beautiful coral, to nibbling tropical fish to sea turtles and chasing down a giant manta ray, it was quite the underwater adventure. I think I did good for my first time, if I say so myself. 


Tegalalang Rice Portrait Terrace Indonesia Travel Photography

Faces from Indonesia

You meet a lot of interesting people when you travel. From literally all ends of the world. Some faces you see for a moment and they pass, others stay with you. This trip was this trip because of people. From my friend Tyler who stuck out every second of this hectic ride, to all of the drivers, tour guides and hosts that did everything they could to make our trip the best it could be to the little girl who tried her best to teach me a little bit of the Indonesian language and laughed at my American pronunciation. this is what traveling is. This is why I love it. These are some of the faces from Indonesia.


Reflection

The main reason, the true reason that I started traveling was to wander away from my comfort zone. The first time I ventured from North America was to Iceland. That trip opened up my eyes to the beautiful possibilities the world has in stored. I was curious about the unknown but frankly I yearned to know what was beyond that hill, those houses or across that ocean. So I went. Just me. I look at myself a little bit differently after traveling solo to Scotland. You learn quite a lot about yourself when you’re alone.

But being a travel photographer persuaded many of these adventures. I chose places in which the landscapes pulled me in. I already had glimpses of myself stepping at the edge of Trolltunga in Norway or walking up the Seceda Ridge in the Dolomites of Northern Italy. I found myself in an uncharacteristic comfort zone. I got caught up with these photographic pilgrimages and I wanted to step away for one. 

I went to Indonesia to see more with my eyes and less from behind the camera. 11 flights, 10 islands and 7 boat rides later. I choose right.

Manarola Italy Travel Photography

A Road Trip Through the Cities of Italy

A Road Trip Through Italy: Italian Cities

Lake Karersee Italy Travel Photography

Back from the Italian Alps

Still in a daze from the scenes the first half of my road trip through Italy in Northern Italy, we continue traveling on the open road. Living out the words to Chuck Berry’s No Particular Place to Go, we find ourselves in a flux of mountains and age-old cities of Italy. Arco, a small town north of Lake Garda with its ancient hilltop castle and mountainous backdrop was the stunning welcoming that we needed. Without thinking, we pulled over. From the second I pulled the door handle, my eyes were jumping from one scene to the next. This was the start of a new adventure.

Exploring the Italian Coast

Although, the objective is to head down the Italian Coast and make a loop back to Venice, this trip was not ruled by an agenda. We took each road, each turn, each place as it is. This is the only way I can imagine traveling for myself. It’s cliché to even type “Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.” But that is what traveling, adventure and memories are. I can share pictures of beautiful Italian destinations but what I can’t share are the laughs, the long rides, the happiness that simple conversations with strangers bear. I try to convey as much as I can through photography while at the same time, I enjoy keeping some of the most important moments to myself. Moments that I will look back on in my own time and just smile. I did that, I was there, and I will never forget this.

Lost in Italian Cities

The cities of Italy is alive through their stories, through their past. From Venice to Milan to Florence, you could close your eyes and imagine with ease walking in a time that’s not yours. A hurried Filippo Brunelleschi drifting through the streets of Florence or a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci as he adds the final brush stroke to The Last Supper in Milan. It’s hard not to get lost in your surroundings, to get soaked up in the architecture, art, nature and landscape of this beautiful land. I have never stepped on a street that felt so catalytic in the importance of history than the streets of Italy. It’s hard not to fall in love in a country like this.

Serendipity: The City of Siena

The chants of a faceless crowd finds its way through the winding, cobblestone streets of Siena, Italy. Moments later the crowd with their Contrade’s emblem banners raised in hand, marched their way around the corner. This was the celebration of the The Palio horse race. A passionate event with its origin tracing back to the 6th century. This was how Italian cities felt. Frozen in time while the rest of the world marched on.

What was important about this, was that this was never planned. We didn’t know about this city nor of this celebration that only happens twice a year. Sunset was quickly approaching and our original destination was out of reach. By chance we entered the city of Siena for the night. This was probably one of the most memorable moments of any trip that I have ever had. It wasn’t scripted, it was living in the present. It was discovering a love for a place that was waiting to be found.

If you like this, you will love A Road Trip Through Italy

Chicago Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory is an oasis tucked in the urban sheets of the city. After a pretty grueling winter, walking through the front doors you will quickly understand why this conservatory is described as “landscape art under glass”. The air seemed a little bit fresher, the light beamed a tad brighter and my mind was happier. It was my first trip here this year, and it seemed like time stood still since my last. I curiously move through each of the 8 landscape gardens, eyes moving from one exotic species of plants to another. From beautiful flowers, to towering palm trees to tropical ponds and waterfalls, the Garfield Park Conservatory is 12 acres of nature that is filled with life in Chicago.

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Macro Photography

Macro photography, or photos in general, has never been my first intention in coming here but I have always found sort or therapeutic. I see, react and just allow myself to lose myself in it. But more importantly, it forces me to enjoy each moment; The way a petal is slowly curved up, the way the rays of the sun passes through the leaves, or the way the light accentuates the colors in flowers, photography forces me to focus on the simpleness of life.

Fun Facts

  • 2.1 k plant species in growing in 8 indoor show houses and 10 outdoor acres
  • 245, 242 visitors enjoyed the conservatory in 2018
  • 28 exhibits and displays open to the public
  • It’s free
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Chicago Sunrise Photography

First Light A Chicago Sunrise

‘Twas the morning before Christmas and all through Chicago, the lakefront was silent apart from the waves below. (I know, I know, I’m quite the gifted wordsmith.)

My eyes slowly opened to the alarm I instantly regretted setting just a few hours ago. It was Christmas Eve morning but the view outside of my window begged to differ. I hazily grabbed my camera bag and stumbled out of my apartment which was still enclosed in the shade of night. Like the every previous time I chased the sunrise, the first 10 minutes being awake I contemplated turning around to the dream of falling back into the comfort of my own bed but how many moments worth remembering started off like that? (rhetorical question…I’m sure many.) Shaking out the cobwebs, I pressed on to my favorite place to watch the sunrise on the lakefront.

It’s always that moment just before the sun rises above the horizon, where the warming hues spill its way through the sky that keeps me forever in awe. Seeing how beautiful the start of a day can be seemed like a fitting way to end off the year. It’s like they say what feels like an end is often a new beginning.

Where to can you watch the sunrise? Click Here to see my favorite Chicago Spots

If you like this, you will love 360 Chicago Sunrise

Chicago Fall Photography

Fall in Chicago

Fall Chicago Photography

For a brief period in time, nature and Chicago becomes in accordance with each other. Bright reds, yellows and orange strewn with life throughout the city; a blanket trying to warm the life of the city as the temperatures begin to lower.

It’s beautiful.

Chicago goes through a momentary identity change as the trees begin breathing life into the architecture. Fall is my favorite time of year. It reminds me of how captivating change can be but also how delicate and short it can be as well.

This year I feel like I took it for granted. At the first change of color, I told myself that I would be out enjoying it behind my camera. But one busy weekend after the next, time quickly passed and I felt like I missed one of the most magical times in Chicago. I knew I had to make my way to see the remnants of the passing season. On a Saturday morning in November, I walked and walked throughout the city seeing familiar scenes in a new way.

Here are a few snapshots from a brief period of time I thought I missed.

If you like this, you might like 360 Chicago Sunrise

Italy Travel Photography

A Road Trip Through Italy: Part 1

A Road Trip Through Italy

Traveling to Italy is simply a dream. I honestly do not even know where to begin. It’s been about a month since getting back from Italy but the winding roads, the running canals, Italian cities lost in history and the picturesque backdrops are still fresh in my mind. Ever since seeing a picture of the slopes of Seceda in the Italian Dolomites, I knew that I would be walking on that very grass to witness it for myself. With no plan in mind except to go, I booked my ticket. There’s no turning back now. This is my road trip through Italy.

Italy Travel Photography

The Floating City

Every adventure starts somewhere, and mine began in Venice, Italy. An agglomerate of land carved out by canals running through it like veins in a body. Truly the most romantic city that I have ever seen. Without a single road, you experience every twist and turn right under your feet, seeing fragments of history at every step. From San Marco Square to the Grand Canal to the singing of the gondoliers as the sun touches down, Venice was a masterpiece that surpass every expectation that I ever thought I had about it. A dream city floating on water and this was only the start.

The Pale Mountains

Located a short few hours from Venice, sits one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Dolomites are a mountain range that crowns northern Italy. A place of wild mystery and now a friend & I are about to make our way through it. The very first time seeing just a hint of the jutting rock of the Dolomites my eyes were transfixed. The jagged mountains shooting up into the sky, surrounded by rolling green hills and mirrored lakes, this was a paradise that could have only been dreamt up in fairytales.

Lago Di Braies

This was the first night in the albino rhino (which I secretly called our white Jeep). We just spent the day on the road winding our way through the Dolomites heading north toward Pragser Wildsee for the night. Arriving in a small town well past 9pm, we found the only place that was open for a meal. It was a small Hotel/ Restaurante that I wouldn’t ever have known existed if it wasn’t for our late arrival; it was posted at the end of numerous switchbacks overlooking the small, flickering city below. It was a hidden gem that was home to some of the most welcoming people but also offered one of the best meals on this trip. These are the moments that I will always stay with me.

After eating, we found our way to a small parking lot to call home for the night.  Not being a stranger to sleeping in a car I quickly got as comfortable as I could to call it a night. I laid there listening to a few passing cars but my mind was still racing with excitement. Although I could feel my body physically tired, these swimming thoughts of what was in stored for the next day won the battle for the first few hours but eventually faded.

We woke up at first light to the brisk mountain air and made our way to this little lake in the Prags valley. Lago di Braies is one of those places that I have/ you may have seen many pictures of but nothing could have prepared me for seeing this place in person. The water was still and blue, the light was just waking up and slowly finding it’s way through the surrounding mountains. There were few people up, making it beautifully quiet. This was the first time (but not the last) where these far away places that I grew up seeing pictures of weren’t so far away anymore.

The Seceda

Every oversea trip that I have ever been on has been based on one single image. Kirkjufell in Iceland, Trolltunga in Norway, Neist Point in Scotland and for Italy it was the Seceda.  These are the places that restore the childlike mentally of how simple life can truly be. These are the places that swim over you like a breath of fresh air, that revives that sense of curiosity and adventure. These are the places, that makes me believe how beautiful the world really is. I really wish I could talk more about it, but I don’t have the words. I mean the Seceda ridge line was the catalyst of this whole trip and when I first laid eyes on it, I just sat, and laughed in disbelief. A place like this actually exists.

The first leg of this trip was the most important part to me since it was the whole reason why I pushed the confirm button at checkout for my flight. I have been fortunate enough to have seen some beautiful places in my life but experiencing the Dolomites was something else. It left me speechless with a feeling that I really can’t explain. You just have to go and experience it for yourself. It’s such a beautiful place that many people do not associate when talking about Italy and maybe that’s one of the beauties of it. With every turn was a moment filled with anticipation as I could never have predicted what I would see next. Northern Italy makes you feel small and unimportant in the best possible way, washing away egos and selfishness and shines light on the world around you. Now off to the next adventure.

If you like this, you will love A Road Trip Through the Cities of Italy

Chicago Sunrise Photography

Sunrise at the Lakefront

Chicago Lakefront | Sunrise

Photography has led me down on an array of unpredictable paths thus far. It has sent my curiosity on adventures across the world, has kept my mind awake as I drove through the night across the country and has me constantly exploring every aspect of Chicago. This seed of curiosity has always existed, but photography has this uncanny ability to push and drive a person. In this case, the person is me.

My First Time…

The first time I have ever felt this push was on an early Sunday morning. It felt like yesterday (This is definitely the first sign of me sounding old right? Next I’ll be saying “Back in my day we had to listen to music on compact discs…) that I woke up to my 5 am alarm. A difficult feat for a person that usually falls asleep at 2 am, but nonetheless I was determined to see my first ever Chicago sunrise. Still in a daze, I grabbed my camera, tripod and made my way to Dunkin Donuts because well yeah. Once I was able to think again, I made my way to Chicago.

Being my first sunrise, I did not have a clue on where I should go nor did I think of simply googling “where to see the sunrise”. As I was brainstorming possible locations, I found myself on autopilot to a little stretch of the lake shore in Lincoln Park. The Fullerton Beach has always a favorite spot of mine during the day. It had it all; a skyline view, a beach, an endless view of Lake Michigan and my personal favorite, a rocky coast. At around 6:30 am, a warm glow began to spill over the horizon. I was completely alone on this little oasis outside of the city and had a front row seat to the greatest show on earth. It was surreal. Ever since that day, photography pushes me to not only wake up, but to continually chase, see and soak in more of these beautiful displays. Although, these pictures are not from this story, I come back to this spot often and think about this day every time I watch a sunrise here. (they updated this location from when I first came here but you can still see the remnants of the rocky coast that I so much enjoyed)

A sunrise is the most honest moment I have ever seen.

I think we all have that place where you can sit without any of the worry and noise of your life, and just… be. This little strip of the lakefront is mine.

Want to see a photo from this story? See my first Chicago Sunrise Here >


If you like this, you might like Natural Moments in Chicago >

 

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