Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween

Well, I haven't been able to take photos of the great Halloween decorations around my neighborhood since I'm still recovering from the sprained knee I sustained last week.  So, my photo for Wordless Wednesday was taken two years ago outside of a local shop in Cedarburg, WI, 10 miles north of Milwaukee.  Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Water Photos

This week's "W" post for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday was supposed to be about my trip to Chicago on Monday.  It was even going to feature its nickname "Windy City."  However, due to a couple of glitches including forgetting my camera's memory card and, more seriously, sustaining a knee injury on one of the city's many sidewalks, I ended up cutting my trip short and coming home without even visiting where I wanted to go.  But I can walk, that's the important thing, and Chicago will be there when I decide to try and go back.

Well, since this blog is supposed to be about Milwaukee and Wisconsin, it's for the best.  If you would like to see two of the photos I managed to take on my phone in Chicago before my accident, you can go to my other blog, Jay J Studio, here (shameless plug, I know, but I couldn't resist).

But, being a former theatre-person, as we say, the show must go on.  So, I decided to post some of my favorite photos of bodies of water in the Milwaukee area.  The top photo was taken two autumn's ago in Cedarburg, about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee.

I took the above photo last November of Lake Michigan while I was down in Racine.

The above photo is of Waukesha's riverwalk, located on the Fox River.

The photos above and below are of the Milwaukee River.

The last two photos feature Lake Michigan in Milwaukee.  The last one was taken inside the Milwaukee Art Museum's gigantic atrium-like lobby, the Calatrava.  I guess it's a popular spot for weddings.

I hope you like my water photos.  As a Pisces, I'm naturally drawn to lake and river fronts, and they are great places to take pictures. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meetup at Holy Hill

Yesterday, I went out with members of one of my Meetup groups to Holy Hill in Hubertus, Wisconsin, about an hour northwest of Milwaukee.  Holy Hill is a very sacred retreat where, it is said, worshipers come to find healing.  There are many things to see and do at Holy Hill, including many masses performed in their chapel throughout the day.  But many people come to Holy Hill to climb the steep steps all the way to the top of one of the towers to see the beautiful scenery.

This time of year is a great one to visit Holy Hill since, when you reach the top, you can see miles of fall colors.  And the area is still mostly made up of farms and hiking trails so there is a lot of color to see.

The above photo shows part of the tower that visitors can take the stairs to the top. 

This sign shows visitors just how many steps they will be climbing if they decide to go all the way to the top.  I only made it about 3/4 of the way before my legs couldn't take any more.  Also, I was now at a higher altitude so my breathing wasn't the best.  But, I made it most of the way, and took some shots from the lower observation area of the fall colors.  The only bad part about yesterday was that it was very cloudy.

 Once we got back down, we went around the Basilica to take photos.  They have statues of all 7 stations of the cross located there.

And this is one of the entrances to the Basilica.  You can also enter from a couple of doors inside the tower.

Many people from all over the Midwest come to Holy Hill each weekend.  It's also a popular place to camp during the summer.  For more information about Holy Hill including its history and mass times, please click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vaulted History

Last summer, the Waukesha Historical Museum had a brief exhibit called "Behind The Vault" where many donated items that had never been on display before were on hand.  If you don't know anything about Waukesha, the town started out as Prairieville, and changed to Waukesha later after the leader of the Potawatomi tribe.  Beginning in the 1860's, the town became a popular tourist destination after people found out that its natural springs had healing properties.  Even famous people, such as Mary Todd Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant came to the city for the springs.  Later, it would become the birthplace of Les Paul, the inventor of the electric guitar.

There were a lot of interesting items on display including crates and signs from the spring water days, jewelry & purses, an old post office window, and sports & leisure equipment.

For more information on the Waukesha Historical Museum, including its permanent exhibit on Les Paul, opening in 2013, and their upcoming "Mysteries At The Museum" event, please click here.  Also scroll down to see some more photos I took at the exhibit.

This is also the "V" assignment for Alphabe-Thursday.  To see more entries, please click here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Magical Evening Under Glass

As I menioned in Friday's post, I spent the evening at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (aka The Domes) as a volunteer photographer for their annual Rainforest Night.  It was a fun (and might I say, packed) evening full of fun activities that let families learn about different aspects of a rainforest environment.

They had pretty birds:

Reptiles and insects:


And, of course, food:

They even had a special theatrical presentation, sponsored by Kohl's:

Speaking of theatre, they have a special display in the Show Dome through November 4 spotlighting the novel Don Quixote.  If you are unfamiliar with the book (and musical "Man of LaMancha"), it focuses on Don Quixote, a man so full of imagination he's deemed crazy, and his sidekick Sancho (with his trusty burro).  I had the pleasure of running the light board for Waukesha Civic Theatre's presentation of "Man of LaMancha" back in 2001, and it was the best production I had ever seen there.  After 9 performances, I was still fascinated and entertained.

The only thing they didn't have was Don Quixote "tilting at the windmill".  A missed opportunity, I believe:

In between getting photographs of the Rainforest Night event, I took some photos of The Domes at dusk and at night.  This was taken from inside the desert dome of the show dome:

This one is of the show dome later that night:

And this one is of the entrance with the desert dome in the background:

If you're ever in Milwaukee and are looking for someplace to visit for the whole family, the Domes are a great place to spend some time.  For more information, click here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inside the Mitchell Park Domes

Tonight, I will be volunteering as an event photographer at Milwaukee's Mitchell Park Conservatory, also known as the Domes.  The Domes will be hosting Rainforest Night, where families can come and listen to music, see a cooking demonstration, learn about carnivorous plants, and tour the tropical dome with only the use of a flashlight.  Also, from 8 until 9 p.m. there will be a light show.

The Mitchell Park Domes were created in 1967 by Donald Grieb, and each dome has it's own unique ecosystem.  One is a desert:

One is tropical:

And the third dome is considered the "show dome" where different displays are rotated each season.  I took these photos last spring while volunteering at Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful's Green Living Festival.


I always enjoy visiting the domes, and I think tonight's event will be a lot of fun.  The Domes are open 365 days a year, is one of Milwaukee's most popular tourist spots, and have many events scheduled throughout the year.  So even in winter, we have a place to go and smell the flowers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Undead Invade Waukesha, WI

This Saturday, at around 5:00 pm to be exact, the undead will be invading my hometown.  Actually, it's the Waukesha Zombie Walk, an annual event that benefits the Food Pantry of Waukesha County and H.A.W.S.  Some friends and I attended last year (me as a photographer only), and, I have to admit, it's a fun experience.  All you have to do is show up in "zombie attire" and wander along a guided walk through the downtown streets doing your best Dawn of the Dead impression.

If you are too intimidated to do your own makeup for the event, you can have one of a few professional makeup artists do it for you for a small fee. 

There will also be pizza provided by Magellans and treats from Rochester Deli on-hand. All that and a free after-party for anyone who has donated $5 (or a non-perishable food item) and gets a zombie wristband.

Will I be there this year?  Maybe.  If I do, and my photos turn out well, I will post them as next week's Wordless Wednesday.  This post is my "U" assignment for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  To see more entries, click here.

Do you have any pre-Halloween fun events taking place in your city or town?  Feel free to say so in the comments below.  I would love to hear about them.