The “Lilac Town” has a pungent park named Lilacia Park. Many people in the Chicago area are familiar with it. It’s a small plot of land that is pleasant enough most of the year, but in Spring comes alive with color. Park resources plant thousand of flowers in rows and rolling patterns that cover the small corner square lot. After a long Winter like the one we’ve had, the flowers this year seem nothing short of a miracle.
The park provides a respite for weary commuters after a long day working in the city. When the lilacs bloom, the sweet smell permeates the air, and many a commuter opts to walk home through the park. Local residents scout the park the days and week or so before, not wanting to miss the delightful spectacle. Then, as the colorful rows of 25,000 tulips and other plants come to life, visitors toting cameras invade – including me. It is common to see couples walk the grounds hand in hand or rest under trees reading books, much like the scene portrayed in the Julia Roberts movie, Notting Hill, in which she plays an actress in a relationship with the guy with floppy hair, Hugh Grant.
Through the years I’ve held a great affection for the plot of land. Others have, too. So much so that some after they depart this earth receive a plaque set in stone memorializing their time in Lilacia Park. The stone paths people walk on reveal quaint remembrances peppered underfoot.
When I began studying photography, Lilacia Park was one of the first places I went to practice. Actually, I don’t know why, but most beginning photographers photograph flowers. Perhaps it’s because flowers don’t talk back and are not scary to approach like people can be. And flowers always prove to be a beautiful subject that stands still – unless the wind blows.
Lilacia Park is not without photographic challenges. The beaming sun cast at different times of day provides great differences in light and dark – metering challenges. After a bit of practice, I collected pleasing images. This year was no different, with one exception. Recently I began shooting abstracts. This year when I went to Lilacia Park, I initially captured the traditional color images. Then I realized what I’d always been longing to do – capture the brilliant colors and shapes as abstracts. To see some of them, visit Abstracts at jdnphotos.com.