Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Art of Winter

The first snowfall

How majestic are the trees
Painted with pure white
They are so beautiful and bright

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A fine Fall Day on the Menomonee River Parkway. I had spent a lot of youthful Summers at "Menomonee". To me, too much of this parkway has been left to go natural.

Projects along the parkway during the last two years, included dredging the lagoon, which had deteriorated with algae and stagnant water over the years; tearing out invasive species of trees and preparing to plant replacements; and performing sewer work prior to having the parkway repaved. They had created four bays in the lagoon so that storm sewer water will flow into them and be cleaned naturally before flowing into the Menomonee River.

The project relies on the course of nature. It takes a lot of time to have the soils and the vegetation just right.. The project has been supported by a $100,000 grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan. The area will require maintenance as new oak and maple trees replace invasive species such as buckthorn and honeysuckle

 Parkway south of Burleigh...

 In the middle of Center Street as it ends at the Parkway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

China Lights

This October Boerner Botanical Gardens is hosting the internationally acclaimed “China Lights” exhibit. This will be the fifth stop on the USA leg of the tour and the first in the Midwest. These are but a handful of the images I created from 5:30PM to 8PM last Thursday. This event will last until November 6, 2016.

A complete slideshow can be seen HERE. Enjoy!

More than 30 extraordinary, blazingly bright silk covered structures will fill the Botanical Garden with 100's of lanterns to delight you at every turn. Picture an incredible glowing dragon 131-feet long! Or a two, plus-story, lit-from-within pagoda towering high enough to be seen from almost any vantage point in the garden. Plus dozens of dazzlingly colorful lighted displays created by a team of artisans and technical staff from Sichuan Tianyu, located in Zigong, China.

The construction and installation process requires 5 weeks of non stop work by over 30 artisans. The components are created from welded metal frames with colorful silk fabric applied and then internally lighted with LED lighting. In addition to the stunning lighted displays there will be multiple nightly stage performances highlighting various Chinese entertainment. 

The Boerner Garden House will be the site of multiple cultural displays and video presentations. Food and beverages will be available featuring both Asian and American selections. The exhibit will open from 5:30PM to 10:00PM nightly, closed Mondays. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Milwaukee River Restoration

The River Revitalization Foundation was established in 1994 by two of the larger service clubs in Wisconsin: Kiwanis Club of Milwaukee, and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee; in response to recommendations made by the Milwaukee River Revitalization Council which was to improve the environmental quality of the Milwaukee River Basin.

We connect people in the city to the lands along the river and invite others to do the same, through: Conservation, Education, Restoration and Public Access.

Extensive habitat restoration; removal of invasive species, planting of native vegetation, with the assistance of: Earn & Learn program, summer ecological restoration urban youth interns, UW-Milwaukee Service Learning program students, FORB volunteers and other volunteer groups and Americorp summer group.

 The Milwaukee River Greenway is a six mile section of the Milwaukee River that has shaped much of Milwaukee’s development. Home to Native American settlements followed by European settlers, the river has supported diverse communities with sustenance, industrial power, and recreation. During the first half of the 20th Century, the river was the center of water recreation in the city, with swimming schools, slides, ice skating, and even an amusement park. Unfortunately, as pollution increased and water quality declined, the river was no longer suitable for these activities.

The removal of the North Ave Dam in 1997 began a turnaround in the river’s fortunes as urban dwellers and wildlife returned to this resilient shoreline in the most densely populated municipality in the state. When the dam was removed, the flats along the river which had formerly been submerged were exposed. 

The City of Milwaukee, Department of Natural Resources, and Milwaukee County worked together to stabilize these areas. Since then, the ecological restoration activities of Milwaukee County Parks and Coalition members have had an incredible impact. Water quality has slowly but steadily improved. Fish diversity has jumped six fold. The river acts as a flyway and home for over 200 species of birds, numerous mammals, amphibians, reptiles and unique flora, including several threatened species. People have begun using the space again as well, fishing, paddling, hiking, jogging, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing in this unique urban natural corridor.

The 2.5 miles of river from the Estabrook Dam to the North Avenue Dam narrowed considerably as the free-flowing river resumed a more natural course. The drawdown also exposed more than 150 years of accumulated garbage. During the summers of 1991 and 1992, Youth Conservation Corps members and numerous volunteers removed and recycled more than 2,000 tires and about 600 yards of other debris including auto parts, shopping carts and appliances. Water quality and habitat was improving. Fish subsequently moved in from populations upstream and downstream of the former dam.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Door County Weekend

As some may know, I've been involved with photography for much of my life - from late high school days to my retirement years. I do enjoy creating (I feel) exciting images. The following were done September 16 through 19, 2016 during a campout with my sons at Peninsula State Park in Door County Wisconsin.

At Door County Wisconsin, with 300 miles of shoreline, you can watch a sunrise and a sunset over the water without leaving the county. See thousands of acres of orchards, explore art galleries, devour delicious cherry pie, sip on local wines and brews, splash in the lake or paddle along the bluffs, stroll through five state parks or tour 11 historic lighthouses. No matter what you're looking to get out of your vacation, our 19 unique communities allow you to live life well.

Peninsula State Park in Wisconsin:
High bluffs and sandy beaches, an 1860s lighthouse, a challenging 18-hole golf course, and professional summer theater performances make this 3,776-acre park extremely popular. Hiking or bicycling is the preferred method for exploring trails that wind through the quiet interior of the park where you will enjoy the scenery. Peninsula Park White Cedar Forest is one of the Natural Areas within Peninsula State Park which features a continuum of five distinct community types that change with elevation away from Green Bay. Pets are welcome in Wisconsin State Parks but must be on a leash and under control at all times. Certain areas may be off limits to pets.

The lake level was a lot lower in 2006.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Paine Art Center and Gardens

The Paine Art Center and Gardens is a historic estate with a mansion and gardens located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It includes public art galleries and botanic gardens on 3 acres, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Many more images can be seen on my YouTube channel here.

The Paine Mansion was built for lumber baron Nathan Paine and his wife, Jessie Kimberly Paine. In 1925, upon the recommendation of Mary K. Shirk (Jessie's sister), the Paines commissioned Bryant Fleming, an architect from Ithaca, New York to design the estate. Construction of the Tudor Revival style mansion began in 1927 and the exterior was completed in 1930. All work was halted in 1932 as the Great Depression crippled the Paine Lumber Company.

The mansion was originally built as a home for the Paines but workers of the lumber company threatened to bomb the building should they move in. The Paines returned to the project in 1946 and established a non-profit organization to own and manage the estate for public benefit.[2] Nathan Paine died in 1947 at the age of 77. Jessie oversaw remaining work on the estate, and the property opened to the public in 1948. Until Jessie’s death in 1973 at the age of 100, she served as the museum’s president while residing in La Jolla, California. The Paines never lived in the house.

The Paine estate features a historic house museum with art gallery, and is surrounded by extensive gardens. The house contains French Barbizon school and American paintings, sculptures, and decorative woodworkings, Persian rugs, tapestries, and English and American silver and china. The Paine Center hosts changing exhibitions and offers educational programs related to historic architecture, art, and to nature. The estate's landscape gardens have twenty 'outdoor rooms' and designed areas, in various historical—traditional and contemporary themes. They feature thousands of different plant species, serving as a botanical garden.

As the “living room” of the house, the Great Hall was designed as the central space for leisure and entertainment. Halls like this descended from sparsely furnished rooms in medieval castles, which over time became more comfortable and elegant. The features of this room are strongly influenced by the Tudor and Elizabethan styles of the 16th century.

The impressive stone, wood, and plaster architectural features of this room were influenced by England’s Jacobean period (1660-1688). The rose, a focal point in the plaster ceiling decoration, was a symbol of the English Tudor family, and is a decorative motif employed throughout the estate. The wood paneling is walnut. Like much of the mansion’s woodwork, the Paines left it unvarnished to highlight its natural beauty.

Breakfast Room
Mr. Paine envisioned this room as an enclosed porch linking the outside landscape and Wisconsin’s changing seasons with a garden-like interior. The Breakfast Room’s early 20th-century American influences create a setting that is less formal than other first floor rooms. The tinted glass panes in the windows, here and throughout the mansion, were created to look as if they were made hundreds of years ago, with varying bubbles, streaks, and color.

The tinted glass panes in the windows, here and throughout the mansion, were created to look as if they were made hundreds of years ago, with varying bubbles, streaks, and color.

Dining Room
The Georgian period (1714-1837), the “golden age” of English country houses, provided the stylistic influence for the formal Dining Room. The walls are paneled in walnut, and the elaborately carved boxwood and pine swag over the fireplace was purchased from an estate in England. The ceiling features an ornate symmetrical floral design in carved in plaster.

Master Bedroom

This room was to serve as Nathan and Jessie’s bedroom, but it was not completed during their lifetimes. In 1993 a substantial bequest of exceptional 18th and 19th-century English and French furniture from the estate of Arthur Liebman of Lake Forest, Illinois, provided appropriate furnishings for this room. Drawings by the Paines’ decorator Phelps Jewett were used to arrange the room in a character similar to the original plan.

Many more images can be seen on my YouTube channel here.

The Paine Art Center and Gardens are at 1410 Algoma Boulevard in Oshkosh. It is open Tuesday-Sunday throughout the year, and an admission fee is charged.

ThisWinter there is a "Nutcracker at the Castle" from November 18, 2016 through January 9, 2017. A unique Christmas experience!