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March 4th, 2013
Cemeteries can be great places to learn more about local history, and Graceland Cemetery in Chicago has to be one of the best. Established in 1860, Graceland is the final resting place for a who's who of Chicago history.

Marking hotelier Dexter Graves' tomb is a statue called 'Eternal Silence' or 'Statue of Death'. Created by Lorado Taft in 1909, this sculpture was at one point entirely black. Chicago smog seems to have taken care of that, but the Face of Death, which is hidden in the deepest folds of the figure’s robe, is still dark. This is by far the spookiest statue in Graceland Cemetery. To gaze into the face of the sculpture is to catch a glimpse of your own death to come, or so says the folk stories.

The 'Eternal Silence' (Statue of Death) memorial evokes in us contemplative ideas concerning our past and our future, our memories and our legends. Local legends writes its own history. Sometimes what's real can only be seen in our mind's eye. That doesn't necessarily mean it's not real because the moral of her story is real. We never truly ever die, as long as someone is standing over our departed remains. For those few brief moments they read the engraving on our tombstones, we are alive to them, and our memory lives on.

The Face Of Death - Graceland Cemetery Chicago - Christine Till Fine Art Photography
© CT-Graphics - Christine Till

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February 28th, 2013
Graceland Cemetery is one of Chicago's best-known and most historic cemeteries. It was established in 1860, originally outside city limits, but engulfed as the city grew northward. The original City Cemetery was on the lake front, and was considered a health hazard due to overcrowding and water-borne diseases. The bodies were moved to nearby Graceland in the town of Lake View, with the old city cemetery becoming what is now Lincoln Park.

Eli Williams, 1799 - 1881, was one of the early settlers of Chicago when the population numbered a mere 200. He ran a store, made money in real estate, built a hotel, became active in civic affairs, and died wealthy. This monument in Graceland Cemetery marks his burial place, shared with several family members; it features a woman holding a cross, and is almost completely covered by ivy during summer and autumn.

This statue on Eli Williams' plot is very representational of Queen Victoria's reconception of the early 19th century "graveyard". Along with their movement to reform cemeteries, the Victorians placed great emphasis on the ceremonies surrounding death. In the Victorian era lavish funerals became the rule, and sentimental figures such as this one were often part of the extravagant cemetery memorials erected over the graves.

Graceland - Victorian Cemetery Chicago - Christine Till Fine Art Photography
© CT-Graphics - Christine Till

Order your "Graceland - Victorian Cemetery Chicago"   Print at     Fine Art America
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February 25th, 2013
A trip to Chicago is not complete without a visit to Navy Pier! Extending into Lake Michigan just east of Downtown Chicago, this 3,300 foot long historic landmark is an absolute must for a 'Windy City' to-do list. 8,600,000 annual visitors enjoy this incredible lakefront playground. Why? Simply put: Chicago's Navy Pier has something for everyone with its 50 acres of entertainment and recreation.

Navy Pier has shops, restaurants, and attractions including amusement rides, the Chicago Children's Museum, and the 32,000-square-foot Crystal Gardens. One of the best things about Navy Pier is the amazing views of the famed Chicago skyline and the sprawling grand shoreline of Lake Michigan.

At the eastern-most edge of the 3,000-foot Pier is the historic East End. Offering the city's best view of the spectacular skyline and lakefront, the East End also is the perfect place for lunch or a sunset stroll. Period light fixtures, a myriad of flags, picnic benches and wide pedestrian promenades mirror the Pier of the past.

American Flags On Chicago's Famous Navy Pier - Christine Till Fine Art Photography
© CT-Graphics - Christine Till

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February 19th, 2013
Offshore on a breakwall, which is detached from the mainland, sits the Chicago Harbor light station (also called the Chicago Breakwater Light).

Constructed in 1893, and moved to the outer breakwater in 1917, consists of a 48-foot high, brick-lined round steel tower that is 18-feet in diameter. The tower is sandwiched between two one-story, gable roofed buildings. One is a fog signal building, and the other is a former boathouse. Its lantern is 10-sided built of cast iron, and houses a Third Order Fresnel Lens that flashes a red light 82 feet above the water.

The crisp white conical tower rising between two red-roofed buildings is a familiar sight along Chicago's shoreline just east of Navy Pier, where the Lighthouse continues to mark the harbor entrance. The Chicago Harbor Light is an active aid to navigation and access is not permitted. One can catch a fairly good, but distant view of the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse from the city's famous Navy Pier, but is best seen from a boat. The recent transfer of the light tower's ownership from the U.S. Coast Guard to the City of Chicago offers hope that the lighthouse may eventually become more accessible to public visitors.

Chicago Light House With Boat In Lake Michigan - Christine Till Fine Art Photography
© CT-Graphics - Christine Till

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February 14th, 2013

"Roses! I swear you men have all your romance from the same worn book. Flowers are a good thing, a sweet thing to give a lady. But it is always roses, always red, and always perfect hothouse blooms when they can come by them."

- Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind



Red Yellow Rose - Christine Till Fine Art Photography
                                                          © CT-Graphics - Christine Till

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February 9th, 2013
Prehistoric, Dinosaur like, Out of this World, Star Wars Flowers! These are some of the comments people make when seeing a Protea flower for the first time. And they are more accurate than they know. The Proteaceae are an ancient family, one of the oldest groups of flowering plants. Scientific probes into the early history of plant life have shown that the ancestors of today's Protea were present 300 million years ago. Proteas are best represented in South Africa along the south and south western coastal mountain ranges. The other sub-family is located along the south and south western coastal areas of Australia.

Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern botany and plant taxonomy named this flower in 1735 after the Greek God Proteus. In Greek mythology, Proteus had the ability to change shape and form at his will; hence the name given to these flowers with their diverse array of colors, shapes, textures and sizes. Protea, sometimes also called sugarbush, is both the botanical name and the English common name of these African flowering plants. The family Proteaceae has seventy three genera and more than 1500 species. Products range from the eye-catching King Protea (Protea cynaroides) to the delicate Blushing Bride (Serruria florida), from the rich versatile colours of Leucadendron, to the soft milky hues of Smokebush (Conospermum spp.).

Proteas were first in the United States in San Diego north county, as well as some ranches in the Santa Barbara area about forty years ago. They were later grown in Hawaii. The climate and soil in these areas most nearly duplicates the Protea's natural habitat. These amazing flowers are shipped from here all over the United States, Japan and Europe. Proteas are much sought after for their alluring combination of robust beauty and fragile charm. Tyrannosaurus Rex may have appreciated their beauty. I like to imagine they will still be blooming 100 million years from now.

Protea - One Of The Oldest Flowers On Earth - Christine Till Fine Art Photography
© CT-Graphics - Christine Till

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February 6th, 2013
This is Yosemite! It may not be the towering cliffs of granite or the thundering waterfalls but this is the vast wilderness that makes up the bulk of Yosemite National Park and is just as impressive as the typical post card shots from the Valley far below. Here atop the rocks, trees root into the cracks inking out a living between the ancient granite slabs. To live here builds character that can easily be seen.

Olmsted Point in Yosemite National Park has a small parking lot at a bend in Highway 120, the only road through the Park west to east. This lets you stop and wander around this fascinating rockscape. The terrain is of stone terraces etched with cracks and grooves, with the occasional erratic boulder tossed in. A few shrubs and trees eke out a toehold in the crevices of this stark landscape. If you go just a little beyond the sidewalk and venture out onto the granite you can have the experience pretty much to yourself.
Millions of people have probably seen this boulder, but fewer have paired it with the background tree scratching out an existence amidst the rugged stone. These hardy trees thrive sprouting out of the rocks scoured by glaciers of anthing resembling soil in the high elevations of Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park.

The Olmsted Point viewpoint is probably the most comprehensive one along Tioga Road. You get to see interesting cracks in the granite with orphaned granite boulders (called glacial erratics) strewn amongst isolated jeffrey pine trees. You also get an unusual view of the back side of Half Dome as well as a postcard view of the largest natural lake in the park - Tenaya Lake.

Tree At Olmsted Point Yosemite National Park California - Christine Till Fine Art Photography
© CT-Graphics - Christine Till

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