Something that I've found is that if one wants visitors to one's site, one generally has to have both media and text. Neither, by itself, tends to suffice - count the number of truly beautiful images at Flickr that have seen fewer than ten visitors. This says something about what visitors want, and really, it's not something particularly surprising. Think about the experience of sitting with somebody who's sharing his photo album with you, his friend. Wouldn't you find it odd and a little unsettling if that meeting took place in dead silence? Text is virtual speech; in effect, we give many of those coming to our sites the silent treatment, and then wonder why they don't send their friends our way.

What to pair with photos like these, taken of whatever I can find growing in the Chicago metropolitan area? Even in the case of the upcoming Morton Arboretum images, we're not really looking at nature. These forests, unlike the ones out West, are very actively managed and would have to be - a forest fire, for example, would hit densely populated residential areas within the first two miles in almost all cases, and the predators (aside from a few coyotes) have been gone for generations. These are all gardens, sometimes just with slightly bigger plants that happen to have bark on them, limiting the discussion of natural science that might have accompanied them, had they been taken in a wilderness. I'll probably just paste together topics as they are brought to mind, probably including a few cookout recipes, but not until the weather is a little more welcoming (I'm writing this on New Year's Day). The first set I've posted, from a flower show in Lincoln Park, I'll let speak for itself.

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