Thursday, February 23, 2012

Photo Essay: Drab and Color

To date we've had merely two significant snow falls in Chicago, and both times the snow lasted only a few days, so it's been a drab winter. Without the white blanket of winter, February is looking like March usually does: Drab, drab, drab. No color.

On a recent morning walk, I was thinking about all that drabness and yearning for some color. And lo and behold, as I turned a corner, a spot of shiny orange caught my eye. Could it be? Color in this world of greys and browns? Sure enough, it was this mirrored garden globe shining at me.

I stopped and stared in wonder, and as I surveyed the neighborhood these two blue deck chairs just across the street of the garden globe beckoned. You gotta love people who put happy blue deck chairs on their front porch, don't you? Especially when they play off so well against the brick and the additional happy dots of the decorative lights in the window.

I tried to get another good shot of the garden globe, and perhaps I did, but not until I reviewed the pictures on my camera did I notice that what I really captured was the lichen and the wonderful pattern of this bark.

By now I was on the hunt for color, and this one block of Woodlawn Avenue between 61st and 62nd Streets did not disappoint: I'm happy I noticed the interplay of this almost iridescent verdigris stain with a blotch of lichen on the stone wall framing the front steps of St. John's Baptist Church. Something must have stood here, something made of copper, don't you think?

And then, just a few steps on, I found these tiger lilies looking out the church's office window, aptly framed by drab brick.

Across the street from the tiger lilies is this so 1970s planter in that so 1970s green, welcoming passersby to the neighborhood. What would you call that green?

Around another corner, what was parked right there? This tomato red Mini Cooper, the only colorful car in the street.

On yet another morning walk, I spotted these blue bikes. They would go well with the blue deck chairs, don't you think? The two of them, in that same happy sky blue, provide such a great contrast to that drab ground of soggy earth and dead grass.

As you can see, I'm hunting for color on my morning walks now.


  1. A fun project would be to change your photos to black and white using a photo editor, then resurface the color of the object of your affection.

    Done like this one Umbrella

  2. What a great photo shoot idea. You've inspired me to go on a color hunt.

  3. What a wonderful photo essay. I might have to start looking for color myself. It will also be added to one of my themes when I hit France this summer. (Last year it was French cats)

  4. This was wonderfully fun- like a treasure hunt of sorts!!!! I enjoyed scrolling down to each new pictures eagerly waiting to see what color you found in your surroundings. It made me want to dash out with my camera (which my hubby has in Ghana right now) to see if I could do something similar. sigh...but no camera...and it is pretty I'll stay here and finish catching up on blog reading since I have gotten a bit far behind in the past week.

  5. Interesting how we sometimes see only the drabness and totally miss the color. But you 'looked' for it and found lots of it. Seems like there is a good message in your photo essay. I saw on the news that you now have snow again to cover up some of that drabness. Enjoy!

  6. Ja, sehr schoen! Das Essay hat tatsaechlich eine ganz wichtige Message fuers Leben: Denn ob grau oder nicht: das entscheiden wir selber, jeden Tag. Es ist eine Frage des genau Schauens und ob man das Leben optimistisch angehen kann. Danke fuer die Erinnerung. Und den Menschen, die die Farbe in unser Leben bringen: auch ein fettes Dankeschoen.

  7. Diane - nice idea, yes, another reason to finally learn Photoshop...

    JoDee - please do and let me know!

    Anjuli - thanks, and you can always go on a color hunt when your camera returns.

    Nancy - again the snow lasted only a few hours. But thanks for pointing out the message behind the photos.

    Barbara - eben, man muss mal genau hinschauen und sich ueberraschen lassen. V.a. sollte man aber erst mal unterwegs sein...

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