‘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 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 >
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.
*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.
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 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 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.
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
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.
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.
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