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Monday, September 1, 2008

The Morton Arboretum Lisle, Illinois

This Article Features Photo Zoom

The Morton Arboretum is an outdoor museum of woody plants established in 1922 by Morton Salt magnate, Joy Morton. Situated on the rolling Valparaiso Moraine in northern Illinois and bisected by the DuPage River, the grounds encompass 1,700 acres of magnificent natural systems. There’s a restored 100-acre prairie, oak and black walnut woodlands, savannas, winding streams, lakes and marshes—and all of it is accessible on nine miles of paved one-way roads and 14 miles of hiking trails.

The Arboretum experiences the diverse weather patterns typical of northern Illinois. Springtime is wonderful, with many wildflowers and flowering trees, but bring rain gear, as showers are common. With summer, everything dries out, and days can be quite hot and humid with calm winds.

An occasional thunderstorm can produce beautiful cumulus clouds. Although hiking is restricted to trails, bring waterproof footwear, as some low areas can be quite wet.

Fall is the best time, with moderate temperatures and usually dry weather. With such a variety of trees, autumn color just explodes. Winters can be very cold, with lots of snow and temperatures at zero or below. Layered clothing, hand warmers and lithium batteries are a must.

Photo Experience
Since the arboretum has a variety of natural settings and photogenic subjects, lenses from wide-angle to long telephoto are useful here. Additionally, a sturdy tripod and a selection of filters are a must.

Use a circular polarizer to remove the spectral highlights from the foliage, sometimes water glare and, of course, to deepen the blue sky. Try to stay at right angles to the sun so the deepening effect is even across the image. Also, be careful not to remove all the reflection from the water’s surface, which often picks up wonderful blue and green hues from above.


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