Photo of the Day: Under a Mulberry Sky

Mulberry Sky

One of the things I love the most about Chicago, aside from the amazing architecture, is that you don’t need to go far to surround yourself with tranquility. Just like yesterday’s Photo of the Day, “In the Quiet Moments,” this beautiful field of heather and wildflowers is just steps away from the city. Walk the path and you’ll spot any number of beautiful birds, hear the buzzing of the bees as they fly by and can listen to the stream of the water surrounding the garden. It makes me want to settle down with a picnic.

This one isn’t quite finished. Just like yesterday’s photograph, this is one half of the collaboration I’m currently working on and I’m so excited for the final piece. Keep an eye out here over the next few weeks and share in the excitement. 🙂




Photo(s) of the Day: Harbingers of Spring

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

The joke in Chicago is that there are two seasons: Winter and Traffic. Based on the last few years, where most of Spring has been cool and rainy, with a few, beautiful sunny days dropped in there for good measure, followed very quickly by a slam of Summer heat, I believe it. Thankfully, Spring seems to be trying to eek out a few more of those beautiful days a little earlier this year and, along with the spring blooms, it’s bringing out some of my favorite little creatures.

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

With the budding of the trees and flowering bushes, comes the Yellow Warblers, Thrushes and the like. I am very lucky to have some outdoor space right outside my apartment and, sitting on my deck get to witness any number of indigenous species, from birds to butterflies, busily preparing themselves for the Spring and Summer ahead. Today’s photos of the day, “Harbingers of Spring” were captured yesterday in various spots around my apartment.

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

I am looking forward to getting out to Chicago Botanical Gardens and Morton Arboretum for some of the wonderful blooms that are starting to grace us, in the meantime, I am very happily watching several female Yellow Warblers in the tree out in front gathering for their nests.


Photo of the Day: Beginnings

"Beginnings" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Beginnings” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I have always viewed Spring as a “fresh start.” All of the city-soot blackened snow is finally melted away, the crocus start to bloom, the buds start popping out on trees. (I’ll choose to ignore the fact that this also brings the pollen that wreaks havoc on me… it’s still a fair trade off) Thanks to an exciting collaboration with a friend, and truly gifted artist (more to come on that down the road!), the creative juices have been swirling non-stop over the last several days and I can’t wait until Spring hits Chicago full force. I am excited to get out with the camera and capture the rapid fire changes that are going to happen over the next few months. More importantly, I can’t wait to share!

Today’s Photo of the Day, “Beginnings,” was shot a few years ago, in Nashville, and pays homage to that fresh start of Spring. It was the beginning of April and I was walking around the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. This one dogwood bud (if you recall, I am obsessed with them) was more advanced than the rest, standing out against the mid morning sun with it’s subtle touches of burgundy against the butter yellow.

If it was at all appropriate, I would camp out at the Chicago Botanical Gardens or Morton Arboretum so I can be there the second these little lovelies start blooming. Perhaps I would be able to capture another like [this one].


Photo of the Day – Smoke

"Smoke" - Tracey Capone Photography  © 2013

“Smoke” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Today’s Photo of the Day – “Smoke” is one of the “oldies but goodies” which, as of last night is headed off to the lovely state of Washington on a 30×30 wood panel.

This shot was taken during my time in Nashville a few years back. I remember coming across these giant blooms on a very sunny day walking through a botanical garden. I spent about twenty minutes in front of the flower, playing with various lenses but, as always defaulting to my 60mm which I absolutely love for macro shots.

This photograph makes me more and more excited about what is to come this spring and summer. What flowers are you looking forward to seeing this year?

Photo(s) of the Day: Catharsis and Papillon

"Wisp" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Wisp” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I have been in one of those mind-numbing creative funks again. I am convinced it’s a combination of lack of Vitamin D from the sun (it’s been rather dreary here in Chicago as of late) and the fact that my studio looked like a tornado had selectively ripped through it, sparing the rest of my pristine apartment but wreaking havoc on the one place I feel most at peace. Given I’m a full time artist who needs to create to eat, live and, frankly, breathe, that’s not exactly ideal.

The Eye - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

The Eye – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I had all sorts of new ideas for my work, I even had new photographs and found objects I wanted to use, but, mentally and physically (more in the sense that the room was that messy I couldn’t get to my work bench without tripping) I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I was uninspired, tired by the mess, admittedly depressed and concerned, once again picturing myself asking, “would you like fries with that shake?” It’s funny how it works; it’s a Catch 22. The mess started because I got extremely busy and kept putting off organizing. Said mess grew to epic proportions and then started to chip away at my psyche, making me feel sad and uninspired, at times angry, and with no desire to clean, let alone create. So, I simply closed the door to the room and wouldn’t go in.

Opposites - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Opposites – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I am one who craves order. In my office days, everything was always perfectly aligned on my desk, to the point where people took great delight in “poking” my inner Milton Waddams by moving my stapler to various, completely illogical, locations on my desk. The only way I was going to get back to being creative was to override all the negativity holding me back and just take care of it.

Inspired by a friend, and fellow artist’s, desire to reorganize his own workspace, I set out Sunday to clear away the chaos. I would say, “it was that simple” but it wasn’t, however, once I got started it was as if someone was taking a broom and clearing cobwebs from my brain. As I worked, and the dopamine levels started to rise, I soon realized it wasn’t just the work space that needed to be “cleared” of negativity. (but that’s more for my journal and next serious “bestie conversation” and not so much for the blog) As I found various tools and supplies hidden by the mess, I got excited, I started to feel creative again, admittedly getting distracted more than once by my sudden desire to create. The more I wanted to create, the more I wanted to clean and, soon enough my studio, while not quite up to Martha Stewart’s standards, was back to it’s very workable organized chaos.

The Light - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

The Light – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

A funny thing happened when I was done. I worked. I created. I smiled. It was a weird rebirth; all of my creative energy flooding back to me. At the risk of sounding like I should be the lead in a Greek play, it was a catharsis for me. The book(s) I had been burying myself in stayed shut, the TV stayed off, the music went on and I spent the evening creating. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was cathartic.

I realize I have been posting photographs of butterflies along with my rambling and you’re probably wondering what they have to do with any of this. I have been wanting to go to the Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Center for the last several months and never did, mostly because of my slump. With the studio clean and a rejuvenation of my creative energy, what could be more fitting, and a better homage to Spring being right around the corner, than photographing a symbol of catharsis, the butterfly?

Extend - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Extend – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

If you have a butterfly haven near you, I highly recommend going, if not for the beauty of these creatures then for the shooting practice. While you might be lucky enough to get a few who land and stay perfectly still long enough to get the shot, it’s more likely you are going to have to exercise your shutterbug brain to capture them either mid-flutter or mid-flight. I will note that butterfly havens are purposely kept very humid. If you’re going to swap out lenses mid shoot, I highly recommend doing so outside of the haven otherwise your lenses, and, with the lens off, your mirrors, will fog up. While it makes for a very ethereal shot, if that’s not what you’re going for, you will be disappointed.

Stained Glass - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Stained Glass – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

So, with the studio organized, and once again feeling inspired, I am running through my list of places I want to hit. I have even been tossing around the idea of booking a trip to London ahead of my September trip to Spain and Portugal. Fish and chips, a Guinness and my camera. What more could a girl ask for? Funny what a clean workspace, and mind, can do…


Orange and Blue - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Orange and Blue – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Photo of the Day: The Eyes Have It

"The Eyes" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“The Eyes” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013


Yesterday, I brought you some colorful jellies, who couldn’t hide if they tried. Today, I’m bringing you a beautiful caiman from the Shedd Aquarium. When I first walked up to the tank, I thought it was empty, save a turtle that was hanging out on a log. Then, low and behold… the eye.

Undercover - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Undercover – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

The difference between an alligator and a caiman, aside from region in which they live, is primarily in the snout, the latter having a more narrow one. They also tend to have less uniformly distributed scales and are a tad less mellow than the alligator, although you certainly can’t tell by looking at this guy.



Holding Court

Photo(s) of the Day: Explosions of Color

Explosion - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Explosion – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Not two days after I wrote this post about not feeling creative, I woke up feeling a sudden burst of creative energy and decided to take full advantage of it. What better way to start by photographing some of the amazing, colorful creations Mother Nature affords us?

I have been wanting to shoot the “Jellies” exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium since it opened. I have always been obsessed with how fluidly they move through the water together, as if moving to music.

Orange on Pink - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Orange on Pink – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Sea Jellies have been around for more than 500 million years and existed without bones, blood or brains. Amazing isn’t it? (actually do you ever get the feeling some humans exist without that last one?)

Blossom - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Blossom – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Made up of 95% water, jellies range in size from a drop of water all the way up to 100 foot giants. (I would prefer not to run in to the latter in the ocean, thank you very much) Some merely float, others follow the movements of the sun and some jellies bounce like balls through the water.

These magical creatures made for a fun shoot. I honestly could have sat there and watched them for hours they were so mesmerizing. Of course I couldn’t go to the aquarium without taking time to sit and watch my favorite animal, the otter. 🙂



Fire - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Fire – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013