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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Starved Rock State Park: An Illinois TREASURE!

This past fall (2014), I did a bit of a "road trip" around Illinois. I had a 3 day weekend from school...and Karlene was with her it just made sense to do a crazy jam-packed Illinois Road Trip! 
My daughter clicking pics of Christie at her wedding in 2012.
I had a mission to go see one of my favorite (yes, I have a few faves! lol) former students who is now an anchor in Rockford, Illinois... and her adoreable new baby Jack. 
Me and Christie in 2014 at a Frank Lloyd Wright chapel in Rockford.
Jack. I could have snuggled with this sweetie all day! As an only child, I don't have nieces and nephews to spoil...
I also planned to do a family photo shoot for Annette in the Grafton area and see a cool old school house (I plan to do a whole entry about that amazing piece of history later). The family photos came out awesome, by the way. Annette, her husband, and her son were all fun to work with. 
This kid was a a hoot! I hope Annette lets me take photos of him (and their family) again one day. He cracked me up. 
However, there was a moment that I plotted out for the trip that blew away all expectations of what I viewed as a "typical" northern Illinois landscape.  

As a AAA member, I had read about Starved Rock State Park and thought it'd be nice to squeeze in a couple of hours there the night before I met Christie in Rockford. A couple of hours were not nearly enough.
Starved Rock State Park is full of canyons and waterfalls. It is breathtaking. 
It is my MISSION to go back to this special place and spend a few days exploring with my daughter this summer. 
Critters were ALL over at Starved Rock State Park. Very photogenic, too! 
My images I captured as the light was fading do not even come close to doing Starved Rock State Park justice. Beyond the images I post here, I recommend you visit this website: 
I stayed for the sunset and was not "let down" in any way! 
Also, if you're looking for a clean and affordable camping option, I stayed one night in the camper kabin at the KOA near there. Just loved it!
Starved Rock State Park and I will meet again! I am hoping Summer 2015 will be the time we make it happen! 
As always, thank you for supporting my photography/art. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. And, if there's any photographs you need to decorate your home, office, etc. OR if you need portraits done, contact me. I love photo sessions, as well as nature work!

~ Michelle of MK Designs
Posted April 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Land is Awakening

The land here in Missouri is awakening indeed. Just here around Union I have found some amazing spring wildflower displays at two Missouri Department of Conservation spots. 
Reiker Ford:

Union Access
There are times photos just do NOT do an area justice. Walking along paths that are surrounded by a carpet of flowers reminds me of things I have seen in fairy tales. Yet, right here in my hometown, it is a reality.

I hope you enjoy these images and take the time to get out and enjoy Spring. 
 "Every April, God rewrites the book of Genesis." ~ Unknown
 “If people did not love one another, I really don't see what use there would be in having any spring.” ~ Victor Hugo

 “The sun just touched the morning; 
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.” 
     ~ Emily Dickinson
 “Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.” ~ Kraft

“Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one 
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.” 
  ~ Mary Oliver

Thank you for stopping by. 
I appreciate your support of my photography. 
More than anything, I hope you get out and enjoy the Spring season. 

~ M of MK Designs
April 2015

PS If you would like to order any images you see here, contact me! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Trouble...falls like rain...

Less art, nature, and photography today... Instead more "life" today. 

I am one of those people who has to really work hard at being positive. It doesn't come to me naturally...neither did riding a bike, running, or swimming. Unlike those physical endeavors, I haven't given up (yet) on the mental exercise of positivity. 
Yet, in the present moment, I am seriously struggling. 2015 has, lack for a better word, been shitty.

Watching ones you love struggle wears on the mind, and the body.

In just the last month I've had a horrid virus (flu-like) and now my allergies are at an all-time high (thank you Missouri pollen). I am physically drained. 
I did however decide to attempt to walk more, and partake less calorie-laden boozy beverages recently. My two-week experiment made an 8 pound difference on the scale. Maybe I'll keep it up and try to be a bit of a better person longer than two weeks?
Lately, I find myself learning more and more about Autism, Aspergers, Behavioral & Emotional Disorders, as well as how insurance companies work (or do not) for said issues. 

I'm also learning more about the aging, and how perhaps "Right to Die" activists are on to something. Death with dignity for humans and not just our pets? Hmmmm? 
As for the single life, as much as I enjoy it - I have to admit it flat out sucks not having anyone to celebrate accomplishments with, or to go hand me a cough drop when the pollen becomes too much. All though I am not sure I've ever really had that with any significant other, being "supported" tends to land a lot on my own shoulders in and out of a relationship.
I am hopeful that soon, very soon, 2015 sucks a lot less. Maybe come May 1st? Or Maybe "Come Monday" as my friend Jimmy sings.
On a positive note: 
...the new camera body seems to be working like a dream!
...Eddie Vedder and Van Morrison have helped me sleep better these days. 
...I had a senior session last night and the light was wonderful.
...I am going on a "dream trip" this summer (for me) to Yellowstone and the Tetons! WooHoo! 

Until next time...

~ M

Monday, April 6, 2015

So, I got a new camera body... and a tank full of gas...

The new camera body was long overdue. My old reliable that dates to about 2008 just wasn't getting the clarity I need, so a new Canon T5 body was in order. 

Once the camera body arrived and I saw Saturday's forecast, I knew the three places I had to land as long as Betty (my trusty Ford) had a full tank:

1. Blue Springs Conservation Area

2. Huzzah Conservation Area

3. Onodaga State Park

My daughter and I explored all day Saturday and enjoyed all there was to see. Spring is for sure upon us here in Missouri. Enjoy these images from our day. 

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden
“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead.” 
― A.A. MilneWhen We Were Very Young
“It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is.
And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know
what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes
your heart ache, you want it so!” 

― Mark Twain
“Despite the forecast, live like it's spring.” 
― Lilly Pulitzer
“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?” 
― Neltje Blanchan 
“He smelled cold water and cold intrepid green.
Those early flowers smelled like cold water.
Their fragrence was not the still perfume of high summer;
it was the smell of cold, raw green.” 

― P. Harding
“It’s spring now, and I was just thinking that I haven’t been in love since the fall.
The fall of the Roman Empire.”
― Jarod Kintz
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, "Let’s party!” 
― Robin Williams
“Winter and spring blended together this year like ice in water,
and I was left thirsting for love."
― Jarod Kintz
“But enough of the drama.
Winter has turned to spring.
And I am feeling good.” 
― Keshni Kashyap 
“Winter is already a lost shape, forgotten
in the ground. Instead, here is Spring
with all the grace of a woman
smoothing out her apron.” 
― Cecilia Llompart

As always, please do not "copy" or "download" these images without permission. 

If you'd like to order any, please contact me. 

Also, if you'd like to share this blog post on social media, that's highly appreciated! 

Thank you so much for visiting my blog. 

Until next time,
~ M of MK Designs

April 2015