Friday, October 18, 2013

On the Move: From Suburbia to Suburban Milwaukee

I'm very excited to tell you all that in two weeks I will be MOVING!!!  I'm staying in the Milwaukee area, but will be moving from Waukesha County, where I've lived my whole life and have been itching to get out of, to a suburb of Milwaukee called Wauwatosa.  I have loved Wauwatosa for over ten years so I'm super thrilled that I will now be living there.  I recently got a job in Menomonee Falls, WI which is about a 10 minute commute from my new place (as opposed to the 30 minute commute I travel now), and my new city has the most charming downtown, which they call the Village of Wauwatosa.  My favorite brunch place is there (in the photo above), Café Hollander, and another great restaurant, Cranky Al's (in the photo below) has the best doughnuts I've ever had.

Firefly, a restaurant up the street from Café Hollander, has a fabulous happy hour with very tasty appetizers.  There are also a ton of other great restaurants I've either been to or want to check out, including Le Rev, Juniper 61, Rocket Baby Bakery, McCormick & Schmidt's, Maxie's Southern Comfort, and its sister-restaurant, Blue's Egg, which is also famous for its brunch (the hash brown brick is to die for).  Wauwatosa also has an amazing Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, but I believe last weekend was their last for the year.  I can't wait until next May when it opens again.

I took the last two photos of Wauwatosa's village when I attended their Green Festival last summer.  It was great to see all the sustainable and free trade items that they promoted for sale.  I'm hoping to take better photos of my new city as soon as I settle in.

The only downside to where I'm moving to in Wauwatosa, is my normal route into the Village will be cut off due to construction for the next YEAR.  But, I have a plan for alternative routes.  I'm definitely not giving up my favorite pancakes and sausage at Café Hollander, or Le Rev's amazing desserts.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On the Prairie: A Visit to Old World Wisconsin

OK, so Wisconsin is not the land of "Little House on the Prairie" but it is the state where Laura Ingalls Wilder set her first novel "Little House in the Big Woods" on her family's way to the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota.  In fact, Barnes & Noble has named "Little House in the Big Woods" as the book that names Wisconsin as its most famous setting.  About 40 miles west of Milwaukee, there is a huge museum dedicated to the early years of my state's history called Old World Wisconsin, and my friend, Megan, and I visited last Sunday for the first time since grade school.

Old World Wisconsin is a favorite field-trip destination for school classes and features many buildings that formed the infant days of our state, which became part of the Union in 1848.  The grounds are broken up by the nationalities of its earliest settlers, with the Village featuring its Irish immigrants, along with a German area, a Norweigan/Scandinavian/Finish area, and even an African American area which focused on the trials of escaped slaves before and during the Civil War.

Many of the building at the museum are original and were painstakingly taken apart, catalogued and re-built on the museum's grounds.  The photo below is of the state's first church, originally located in Milwaukee.

Other buildings highlight the state's industry including wagon-making, textiles, iron works, and agriculture.

The museum is known for its raspberry-colored one-room schoolhouse.  One thing we did learn while at the museum was teachers were not allowed to keep working once they were married.  However, they were not allowed to live alone, and boarded with families within the town, so marriage was freedom to them.  Some teachers even married their male students since they were so close in age.

The oxen in the German area reminded me of Ferdinand the bull from the children's books, so I had to take a photo of one of them sleeping in the sun.

This homestead used both wooden planks and what's known as "Cream City" bricks as the foundation for their home.  I had never seen such a combination, but I'm sure it made for a very sturdy home.

And this building was part of the African-American area.  It's a church without a cross at its apex - I'm sure that was a deliberate decision to keep former slave-owners off their trail.

I don't know why I waited so long to re-visit Old World Wisconsin, but its a great place to spend the day, not just as a photographer but as someone who loves history.  If you have a museum similar to this in your home state, I encourage you to visit.  It's a really fun way to spend a weekend day!

Friday, August 23, 2013

More Flower (and Garden) Photos from Madison

The few times I've gone out and taken photos in my area, they've mostly been flower photos since, in my state, our time with these beautiful botanicals, is short.  Last weekend, I visited Madison's Olbrich Botanical Garden before their flowers started to wilt and had a great time.  The Garden is so vast and so full with different types of flowers, fountains and statues, that it's a great (and peaceful) way to spend the day.  I was thrilled to practice my close-up photography in such various ways:


I also got some photos of the Garden's structures including an Asian hut shipped to Madison from Japan in 2001:

What they call the "Rose Tower":

One of their gorgeous fountains:

After I went through the gardens, I went into Olbrich's main building where they had a day lily exhibition.  I had no idea there were so many varieties:

I was even fortunate to capture one of the many butterflies that are now part of Olbrich's Observatory.

If you are ever in Madison, Wisconsin, the Olbrich Botanical Garden is a great way to spend part of the day and get away from the bustling city.  And it's FREE!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Musicality of the Wisconsin State Capitol

This past weekend, I spent it at my most favorite city in Wisconsin, Madison, its state capitol.  I love Madison primarily because it's a liberal city, and my hometown of Waukesha is,well, not.  I also love that it's smaller than Milwaukee and easier to navigate.  I would live there if there were jobs available, but considering there is an average of 350 jobs per week in the Milwaukee-area and 1/3 of that amount in Madison, I think I'll take my chances here.  Madison does have the largest Farmer's Market in the state, which surrounds the state capitol building, and I made sure to get there early to get a parking spot.  I did not expect that there would also be a bike race that morning, and parking was harder to find than a normal Saturday.  In fact, there were more parking spaces available in Monona Terrace, where I parked, when I left at noon than when I arrived at 9:00 a.m.

But, I did have a fantastic time in the city I love.  I bought some homemade tortillas at the Farmer's Market, which I used to make quesadillas, and saw a fantastic photography exhibit at the Madison Art Museum.  The exhibit focused on portraiture, street photography, rural photography, the human body, and photos taken "On The Road" all after 1950.

While I was at the Farmer's Market, I took some more unique photos of the Capitol building.

This one is my favorite, since I like taking photos of reflections in other buildings:

I make it a point not to get political on this blog, but for the last few weeks, our Governor has been arresting ordinary tax-paying citizens for singing protest songs inside the State Capitol building.  In fact, anyone who stops and listens to these "Solidarity Singers", are arrested as well.  The singing is in protest of Walker taking away unions' collective bargaining rights and the fact that our state has been last in job creation in the country for the last 2 years.  However, around the Capitol, musicians have been celebrating their right to assemble, and there are a myriad of performers from folk singers:

To cover artists (these guys covered the Beatles "Back in the U.S.S.R."):

To a bagpipe player:

To a violinist:

I try to get out to Madison a few times a year, but this year seemed to go by so fast that I finally had time to go this weekend.  I hope to make it back there around Christmas-time since I've never seen their seasonal decorations.  I also spent time at their Olbrich Botanical Garden on Sunday, taking photos of flowers.  I hope to post those photos sometime this week.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Summer in Pictures

I feel bad that I've gone two months without posting to this blog.  I would like to say that my summer has been so jam-packed, I haven't had time to write anything - but that would be false.  Truth is, I haven't done too much in Milwaukee this summer.  I missed all but one of the festivals, didn't go to any outdoor concerts, or take any trips besides the one to Savannah.  This is mostly due to not having the money to do any of these things.  I also had a volunteer job taking performance photos for a local community theatre, but it turned out to not be as much fun as I thought it would, and I just resigned.  Also, last summer, I made my big purchase of a Canon DSLR camera, and spent the entire summer going places and taking photos.  So, I feel like everything I wanted to do, I did last summer.

I did get out a few times this summer to take photos, though.  I went down to Milwaukee's South Shore (aka Bay View), and got some shots of the boats there:

I even found a cool "history of Bay View" mural:

At the end of June, I volunteered at the Lakefront Festival of Art, and took some photos of the great sculptures before my shift:

And then a couple of weeks ago, when it was overcast but not rainy, I practiced my macro flower photography at a local park's garden:

I'm hoping to stay more up-to-date on the blog.  I just took some photos this morning before brunch with a local Meetup group.  If those photos turned out as I hope, I will post them this week.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Trip to Savannah, GA

I know I haven't posted in a long while, but since I was finishing school, I haven't had a lot of time to take photos.  But for my graduation, my mom and I took a trip last week to Savannah, Georgia.  We both had wanted to go for years, and the city did not disappoint.  There was gorgeous architecture, friendly people, and lots of walkable streets which surround a series of squares. 

One of the places I wanted to visit most was the Mercer-Williams house which was built for songwriter Johnny Mercer's great-grandfather, but made famous by Jim Williams, who renovated the house with gorgeous art and antiques, and was tried and acquitted for murder right in this house.  That was the basis for the book and film, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  We toured the house, which was gorgeous.

Below is a statue of Johnny Mercer which sits in City Market on the north side of the Historic District.

The filming of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was not the only one which took place in Savannah.  Cape Fear, Something to Talk About and the Oscar-winner Forrest Gump were just some of the films shot there.  The bench Tom Hanks sits on in Forrest Gump is on display at the Savannah Historical Museum.

The main reason for going was to see all of the architecture, and there was a lot to see.  Did you know Savannah was spared from General Sherman's destruction during the Civil War which destroyed cities like Charleston and Atlanta.  So a lot of amazing architecture from the plantation days still exist.

In many of the squares that make up Savannah, as well as down by the river, there are monuments to many people and groups such as the African-American monument, the WWII monument, a Vietnam Memorial and a statue to Oglethorpe who founded Savannah in 1733.

If you have a chance to visit Savannah, Georgia, go.  It's a safe, fascinating, beautiful city, and I hope to go back there someday.