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We interrupt this travel narrative for an unexpected foray into rock concert photography: Captain Ambivalent at the Hard Rock Cafe.

It was my first opportunity to discover the challenges of taking a clear photograph when swirling bubbles of light are being projected on the performer’s face. Also the first time I had a good reason to make heavy use of the hue slider.

Did I go overboard?

CAN one go overboard under these circumstances?

I didn’t think so.

Audience_0274

But the lighting was a lot more conducive to decent pictures of the audience.

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Ranch tour

On Thursday, July 19, we took a tour of Bear Creek Ranch (home of Sky House).

Sky House sunset

Wednesday, July 18:

0711 Sky House purple sunset from inside

We went outside to watch the sun set.

0535 Sky House sunset NerkyGrrl Marg

0577 Sky House sunset with rainbow

0524 Sky House sunset pink-brown

0587 Sky House sunset Rho yellow

0588 Sky House sunset yellow-red

Apparently, it’s been a while since I took a walk to Promontory Point. Today, some really big snowflakes flying past my 15th floor window coaxed me outside after a lazy early afternoon in front of the tv. I’d been looking forward to getting out again to photograph some snow, and this was my opportunity.

But by the time I put on my wool sweaters, the flakes had gotten smaller, and by the time I loaded up with scarf, boots, coat, hat, gloves, and camera and got myself out the door, the snow had stopped entirely.  But that was okay. I needed the walk, the least bit of snow was decorating the grass, and I thought I’d step across the street into Harold Washington Park to begin shooting.

Harold Washington Park, with Vortex by Michael Young

A relatively new sculpture that I had noticed from a distance in the past was ripe for investigation.

Vortex by Michael Young, in Harold Washington Park

Vortex by Michael Young, in Harold Washington Park

I took some photos.

Vortex by Michael Young, in front of Regents Park

Vortex by Michael Young, in front of Regents Park

Then I walked down Hyde Park Blvd to 55th Street, went east to the underpass, and crossed under to the Point, where I found — more sculptures!

Strut by Eric W. Stephenson

Strut by Eric W. Stephenson

Talk Talk Smile by Leslie Bruning

Talk Talk Smile by Leslie Bruning

Talk Talk Smile

Talk Talk Smile

Talk Talk Smile

Talk Talk Smile

Lacuna by Sarah Deppe

Lacuna by Sarah Deppe

I was enjoying having something new to photograph on this well worn path.

Cercatore by Ron Gard

Cercatore by Ron Gard

And I particularly enjoyed this sculpture, which looked like a fish from some angles and a bird from others.

Cercatore

Cercatore

A few of the sculptures, like Cercatore, even seemed appropriate to the context.

And that started to worry me.

If this is a temporary display, that’s fine, but if it were permanent, then I would not be happy. Promontory Point is my escape hatch from the city. The best natural immersion I can easily walk to from home. I like the organic shapes. I like the views of the lake interrupted primarily by greenery and people. (Regular readers of this blog have seen a great many such views on display here before.) I do not want them permanently interrupted by unavoidable hard metal surfaces around nearly every bend.

Mangoo for Lord Buckley by Ted Sitting Crow Garner

Mangoo for Lord Buckley by Ted Sitting Crow Garner

How did I manage to not hear about the installation of these new sculptures anyway? Was it announced when I was struggling with my endless summer illness? It’s hard for me to imagine that a community that went to war over the preservation of the Point for years would quietly accept a permanent installation without discussing it somewhere where I would have heard about it.

Skyline

Low-flying clouds blocked most of the downtown skyline as I rounded this (still sculpture-free) bend. The Willis (Sears) Tower is the only downtown skyscraper that stands out faintly in this photo above those clouds.

Hawk and Dove by Margot McMahon at Promontory Point (left corner)

Hawk and Dove by Margot McMahon at Promontory Point (bottom left corner)

Hawk and Dove

Hawk and Dove

Rocks at Promontory Point

So as I lost the light, I turned toward home feeling some trepidation.

Passion by John Bannon

Passion by John Bannon

But a little online searching reinforced my thought that this must be a temporary installation.  Apparently, it is part of a larger lakefront exhibition of 64 sculptures presented by the Chicago Park District and Chicago Sculpture International, installed in September 2012 and running through August 2013.

And that’s fine. I’m willing to share my lakefront with these particular sculptures for a year.

When we left Big Sur to head back to Sky House, NerkyGrrl was packed into the minivan, and all went well until some winding, rapid altitude changes were too much for her, and she lost her lunch.  We pulled over and started cleaning up when another vehicle parked behind us with its own vomiting child inside.  Water and paper towels were shared before NerkyGrrl was transferred to her parents’ car. Apparently there should be some sort of warning signage for that stretch of road. But I’m not sure I want to see the icon someone would come up with for a vomiting child inside a yellow caution triangle.

As a result of this unhappy little stop, NerkyGrrl was not with us when the minivan stopped for a happier elephant seal photo op later.

elephant seals 0498

elphant seals 0518

elephant seals 0502

So it became Elspeth and Lara’s job to cry out in pain as their parents had some fun imitating the wildlife.

Jack and Denise 0462

Jade eluded us

Someone complained yesterday that the California vacation posts had stopped. Mid. Vacation.

And so they had.

I’ve been busy with other things and lacking motivation.

But I’ll see what I can do.

Wednesday afternoon of our trip (July 18) ended up being Big Sur Day. I was determined to drive up (even if we only had time for the drive, which was rumored to be gorgeous), and we had ended up with a commitment to tour the ranch on Thursday and to go hear Captain Ambivalent’s gig in Atascadero on Friday, so Wednesday was the only clear day for it. We decided that morning and got going around noon, so there wasn’t really time to get to the north end of Big Sur where the hiking and the crowds were. Instead, we headed out toward Jade Cove and Sand Dollar Beach, a drive we figured would take an hour and a half. (My foggy memory suggests we were correct on that point.)

Jade Cove sounded cool. According to Analise Elliot in Hiking & Backpaking Big Sur, “a steep 100-foot spur descends to a beach brimming with jade that has been sculpted smooth by the pounding surf.” I guess I’ll never know because we didn’t find it. After a beautiful, winding drive north on Highway 1 that lived up to the hype, we found the parking spot described in Elliot’s book and tried to follow the directions but found no useful signage and no Jade Cove. We followed unmarked trails in a few different directions, and finally gave up and made our way to nearby Sand Dollar Beach instead.

After throwing as many rocks in the ocean and gathering as many green rocks for our collections as seemed reasonable, we headed back toward the cars, bumping into an elderly, local-looking gentleman who encouraged us to make another stop at nearby Willow Creek and then crushed Elspeth’s hopes by evaluating her green rock stash and determining that it was not jade but serpentine.

Following his suggestion, we hung out and played in the rocks and water at Willow Creek before heading back toward Sky House.