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Earth Day 2014 at Emily Oaks Nature Center

 Buying plants on Earth Day is a great way to celebrate 

Buying plants on Earth Day is a great way to celebrate 

Every year Emily Oaks Nature Center puts on a party for families in celebration of Earth Day. Families can come out and participate in nature-themed activities, enjoy some deliciously grilled food, and enjoy the wonderful outdoors.

This year's theme was to come out and meet the neighbors. Kids got to meet various animals and plants through activities that mimicked their lifestyles and homes. I volunteered to take pictures at the photobooth. Parents and kids got to take photos of with their favorite animal or plant of the day.

Skokie posted the photos today, so I hope you'll take a moment to stop by and take a peek at some happy faces that had fun learning about the world around us!

Traveling with a DSLR and the Evening Glow at Cinderella's Castle

 A lovely view from the carousel.

A lovely view from the carousel.

My wife and I escaped the cold of Chicago in favor of fun and sun at Walt Disney World in Florida. During the trip, I took my DSLR and two lenses on the trip and snapped this photo.

While I'm pleased with how most of the photos turned out on our trip, traveling with my wife and a DSLR was a lesson in compromise. DSLRs are wonderful cameras because they have high-quality sensors and have access to a wide variety of lenses. The ability to choose a lens based on its specialty is appealing to photographers, ensuring that some form of DSLR will probably always exist in the professional realm.

Unfortunately, DSLRs are terrible travel cameras. My 5D occupied over half my bag, even though I only brought two lenses. This made it much more difficult to carry extra items like jackets, sunscreen, and the other necessities of being outdoors all day. It's not the camera's fault, but DSLRs, especially pro bodies, are large because it makes them more stable and easier to handle. These qualities make the camera a poor choice for traveling.

Since returning from our trip, I have been looking into alternative options from point-and-shoot cameras, which are a popular choice for travelers and amateurs just getting started, and retro-styled cameras with permanently mounted primary lenses and features, like a viewfinder, that I prefer over the view screens of the consumer models.

What's your favorite camera to take on trips?

Through The Looking Puddle

 Just a Reflection?

Just a Reflection?

This photo was taken on my Olympus PEN E-P2 last month during the first major snow-melt in Chicago. A lot of large puddles formed on the sidewalks, blocked on either side by miniature ranges of snow-mountains.

The trees and buildings almost form a mirage when looked at in the puddle. Hopefully I can find more still-water to take photos like this one in the future.

The Commute to Work

 Snow on the Bus shelter

Snow on the Bus shelter

Winter in Chicago has been pretty bad this year. The beginning of the week saw a few consecutive days above freezing and the citizens of the windy city thought we might finally be free of winter's clutch.

Winter had other plans, however, and we were hit with ice and snow that stuck to everything, including the glass sides of the bus shelter I visit on my way to work.

The Commute Home

 Heading home after a long day's work.

Heading home after a long day's work.

This is a very busy week for me. I have two large editing projects due in the next week and I am working eight-hour days filling in for a production coordinator until Friday. That means I have long days in the office followed by long days behind the editing desk at home.

I took this shot while riding on the bus home with an Olympus PEN E-P2 on a 17mm lens (~30mm equiv). The PEN is my wife's camera, though it was mine before I bought a 5Dmk3 for photo and video work. While the 5D is a great DSLR, it's not a great everyday camera. I can either carry my camera bag, which doesn't have space for my laptop, or I can put the 5D in my regular bag, where it takes up over half the space. The size and weight limitations of the 5D have encouraged me to start looking for an every-day camera.

While the PEN is a decent camera, I miss having a viewfinder, and the video options are not as strong as they are on newer cameras. It would be nice to replace the PEN with something like a Fuji X100s or a similar camera.