Flower Macro Photography

Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory

The Garfield Park Conservatory has always been one of those places that I have seen countless pictures of but had yet to make my way through it’s entrance. I walked in, not knowing what to expect, and was immediately hit with a breath of fresh air. At that moment I understood what a  “landscape art under glass” was. An indoor oasis, a grand terrarium… actually, it’s a world of nature encased in a small glass capsule occupying a piece of Chicago. Yeah, that sounds a lot better. Each door carried along it’s own backdrop and door number one was flowers. I didn’t stand a chance.

Still reeling from the effects of winter, seeing so much color and just… life is a bit overwhelming. I often find myself focusing on the entire picture that I miss the simple details. At the Garfield Park Conservatory, I focused on those.

A hidden gem of Chicago, teeming with life and the perfect transition to spring. I still can’t believe it took me this long to discover this place. It’s safe to say that I’ll be back soon.

A little about the photos.
I did not have a macro lens but I did have an extension tube. An extension tube is basically a hollow tube that separates your lens form your camera and allows you to get closer to your subject. Along with my 50mm I was able to create my own macro photography.

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


A little about the Garfield Park Conservatory

  • Garfield Park Conservatory is the third largest public plant conservatory in the world
  • Has more than 2,000 different plant species
  • It has FREE admission (suggested $5 donation) and is open 365 days a year
  • The conservatory occupies approximately 4.5 acres inside and out
  • First opened to the public in 1908 and designed by Jensen along with Prairie School architects Schmidt, Garden and Martin

Learn more about the Garfield Park Conservatory Here >

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Chicago Nature Photography

Natural Moments in Chicago

Moments in Chicago
Bahá'í House of Worship Photography

Bahá’í Temple in Wilmette

Bahá’í Temple in Wilmette

I have written previously about the Bahá’í House of Worship (Bahá’í Temple) and it’s gardens in Wilmette in previous blog posts. So I’ll just leave it here. I have visited this beautiful place in the winter, the summer and the fall and each time I am blown away by just how powerful this place is. A diversion from your daily thoughts, where you can just let go and get lost in this magical oasis just outside of Chicago.

Bahá'í House of Worship Photography

See my Previous Posts about the Bahá’í Temple in Wilmette here: Bahá’í House of Worship | Sitting in the Gardens


*Side note: I just read that the Bahá’í House of Worship is one of the seven wonders of Illinois. That’s pretty cheesy but at the same time, pretty neat.

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A Road Trip Through Scotland II

Scotland

I feel like I should ramble some more about a trip that I took a some weeks ago. If you haven’t seen my last post, you can read it (or just look at the pictures) here at A Road Trip Through Scotland. But I’ll just give you a brief in-depth summary now. Went to Scotland. Enjoyed Glasgow. Rented a car. Saw pretty things and now I’m here. Ok, I hope I didn’t lose you yet. I’ll start off like I started off last time, the reason why I first wanted to see Scotland was because of Neist Point. The little sea cliff that I loved so much I had to go back the next morning.

The Isles of Skye

The Isles of Skye (from the old Norse sky-a, meaning ‘cloud island’) was filled with remarkable natural sights. The Isles’ rugged sea cliffs, and mountainous scenary sparked with life at every turn. The dark jagged basalt appeared to be breaking through the ground, forming the natural landscape of this island. It’s the home to some of the most beautiful places I have been fortunate enough to experience such as Neist Point, the Quiraing, Fairy Glen, the Old Man of Storr and much more. I spent about two and half days here but could have easily spent a lot longer. Pictures just do not do the Isles of Skye justice, but hey I tried.

A map, a car, a camera and the road

Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.’ Yes, very cliché I know. A phrase that I have heard so many times that I tend to forget it’s true value.

When I began planning for Scotland, I did what most people tend to do. I googled places to see in Scotland. And of course, I find plethora of beautiful photographs of castles, waterfalls, landscapes, cities and honestly thats great. I made it a point to see a lot of these places but some of my most memorable moments and favorite photographs are of those that you can not find on google or Pinterest. I believe it’s because these are my personal experiences. These are the places that I choose to stop at because they incited my curiosity. We all have our own stories and the ones who have experienced these well known places, share the same sort of paragraph in their story (If that makes any sense). But those places in between are what makes everyones story unique and different. And that’s a beautiful thing. Here are a few paragraphs from my story.

From Edinburgh to Glasgow

Other than Scotland’s natural beauty, it is home to a rich history. I felt like everywhere I turned, I was surrounded by stories of the past. From castles to cobble stone roads to cathedrals and cemeteries, exploring these places made me feel like a kid again. Honestly, all I could do was try to soak in as much information that I could, and I am still trying to process everything that I saw. Edinburgh and Glasgow, although somewhat opposite, will remain very close to my heart. These are cities that I saw the sun disappear in and shedding light the next. I felt at home here. This was truly an unbelievable experience, that I would not have changed one moment of. Until next time Scotland and thank you for your hospitality but most importantly, thank you for changing my life for the better.

Food For Thought

I’ve been asked by a few people how traveling alone was so I thought I’d share my experience of it. When I first thought about traveling alone, in all honestly I was terrified of. I mean the very idea of not knowing where you are let alone, anyone you know is quite frightening. I was clouded with ideas of everything that could go wrong but I’ve always dreamed of someday of taking an prolong road trip and just traveling. If I ever wanted to do this I knew at some point that I would have to be comfortable traveling alone. So I took a chance, sucked it up, swallowed my fears and decided to go to Scotland solo.

Preparing for this involved in constant researching on other’s experiences as well and a few solo overnight trips to dip my toes into. I learned a lot from South Dakota and the Upper Peninsula, such as what were my necessities and what I could do without i.e less is more. But most importantly I learned how to be comfortable being by myself (which was a little hard because I could be very talkative to myself).

What I took out of this experience was an indescribable experience. Some may think that it will be lonely, but this was far from that case. Photography and the mystery of being somewhere new, preoccupied my mind to the point that I did not even grasp the idea that I was alone. There are moments where your initial fear resurfaces but it’s quickly put to rest once you recognize where you are, and that the world is not as scary as you imaged. The most exciting part about traveling alone is that your flying first hand outside of your comfort zone, igniting that flame of curiosity and wonder. And you realize how exciting life can be again.

I feel like every trip that I take I always end it by saying that I learned a lot about myself and so on. And Scotland was no different. Everything thing that I have learned in the past, I have applied to the present which only opens another door of lessons to face. Life is a learning experience that everyone is trying to master. But the beauty lies in each person’s pursuit of it.

Get Adventurous at my Print Shop Here

A Road Trip Through Scotland

Scotland

A few weeks ago I embarked on an 8 day adventure to the most northerly part of the United Kingdom. Scotland. My interest was first sparked by a little light house carving it’s way out towards the sea. After finding out that this place truly does exist, I knew I had to see it. So I went. The first few days were filled with awe while wandering from Glasgow north towards the Isle of Skye. It still feels like I wandered into someone else’s dream. Here’s are a few snippets of that adventure in no particular order at all.

Neist Point

Neist Point Lighthouse sits on a rocky cliff-top in the most westerly part of the Isles of Skye. Being the reason for visiting Scotland, I think I unknowingly built up such a high expectation that I feared that I may be disappointed. But those thoughts quickly faded the second I heard the waves crashing against the shore. I never thought in my wildest of dreams that I would find myself traveling solo, 3,500+ miles from home, watching the sun set at a place like this. At Neist Point.

A map, a car, a camera and the road.

Scotland awaits. But first I have to get used to this whole driving on the opposite side of the road thing. After one mistake, I quickly became a natural. When planning this trip, I had this crazy idea. What if I drove around with no particular place to go and just enjoy the country. (I know, it was a pretty intricate plan) There were a few places I wanted to see but I basically wanted to enjoy everything that was in between. Scotland is a magical place. It’s a place where you often find yourself lost in the moment. But I’ll stop now before I start sounding like a Disney sponsored post.

Glasgow

This was my first time traveling solo and Glasgow was the place that would first greet me to Scotland. It was a warm welcome indeed. It’s a beautifully, eclectic city. A mixture of stories and those waiting to be told. I was quickly immersed in the city but could not help but notice familiar scenes. Joggers running along the river. Kids playing int the park, Streets filled with people going on with their day. Stopping to listen to a musician that I heard passing by. It reminded me of home. Walking through Kelvingrove Park I had a moment where I saw myself living here. Who knows this may be one of those stories waiting to be told.

 

Food For Thought

  • Your curiosity outweighs your fear.
  • Don’t buy a can of soup when you don’t have a can opener.
  • A saved digital map can help you plan the next day.
  • Buy more than bread and cereal just incase you lose your credit card the first night. (This may be a tip just for me)
  • The internet isn’t all that important.
  • How to open up a can of soup with a box cutter.

 


Get Adventurous at my Print Shop Here

Road Trip to the Black Hills

Pictured Rocks Road Trip

Chicago Sunrise Photography

Chicago Sunrise

Chicago Sunrise

There’s nothing like seeing the sun rise over Lake Michigan. The sun slowly shedding light over Chicago as the city begins to wake up. The Fullerton Avenue Beach has always been one my favorite places to not only see the sunrise but the views it offers of the city are simply stunning. It used to be quite rugged & natural and I think that is why I liked it so much. It disassociated itself from Chicago. I would see the rocky lakefront and completely forget where I was. There are still remnants of these urban boulders breaking through the water reminding me of when I first came here. Now concrete slabs cover the ground where rocks once laid but the sun still shines the same way.

Vik Black Sand Beach

Moments Like These

Moments Like These…

Moments like these; I get empty headed. It’s hard not to. Sometimes I get caught up in the whole seeing the world through a camera thing that I forget to see it first with my own eyes. My mind tends to be constantly moving 100 mph but there are these ‘speed bumps’ scattered along the way. These speed bumps, these moments, are a constant reminder to stop. Even if just for a moment. Just stop. See what’s around you, but really see it. Soak it in, live it and experience it. There are moments like these that wipe away the worries, the stress, excitement, the toll of everyday life; moments where my head becomes a total stand still, and I just drift away.

Vik Black Sand Beach

Vik Black Sand Beach

See more moments in Iceland Travel Photography

Clouds Fine Art Photography

Clouds

Cloud Photography

Cloud photography is a creative way to explore nature. The sky is constantly changing offering a dramatic canvas that is at every photographer’s disposal. They are an integral element in almost every landscape picture while at the same time being simply beautiful on their own. I love to look at clouds as a way to pause for a moment. It is sort of ironic that something that floats so high in the sky keeps me grounded. Clouds are an infinite source of inspiration, and all a photographer has to do is look up.

A Poem about Clouds

Clouds.
They could be anything.
I remember looking up at the sky
Imagining.

Clouds.
They have endless possibilities.
The sun may shine through
While a storm can pass too
They fail to blink It’s an endless phase.
They grow & shrink
but keep moving through the days.

Clouds.
They’re shaped by nature and their surroundings
so their future is dependant on what’s presently happening.
They may be lost but they’ll always keep moving along
They’re living in the moment, and I see nothing wrong.

Clouds.
In fact I wish I was one.

Just A cloud.
Well that would be fun.

If you like any of my work, I would love for you to share it!
Cloud Poem by Chicago Writer and Photographer Paul Aparicio