Mayslake Nature Study & Photography Club Outings

Mayslake Nature Study & Photography Club outings are a great way to have fun shooting, see new places, ask advice of other photographers and share your images on the MNSPC Flickr site. We also share stories while enjoying food and drink. Why not join us?

Club Outing – Indiana Dunes National Park – September 2020

Rafi Wilkinson, Park Ranger for the Indiana Dunes National Park, guided a group of MNSPC photographers to explore the Great Marsh. This area of the National Park is known for its magnificent wetland ecosystem. It is a critically important habitat for native and migratory birds; coots, mallards, wood ducks, herons, egrets to name just a few have been seen in the marsh.  This area was drained in the early 1900s for residential and agricultural use with the restoration of the marsh by the National Park Service beginning in 1998.  After exploring the Great Marsh, the group headed to Dunbar Beach area to capture the evening sky over Lake Michigan.

See the images of this outing in the  Indiana Dunes NP Sept 2020 Album.


Club Outing – Black Partridge Forest Preserve

Bill Dixon and Beverly Bartos hosted a group of 15 MNSPC photographers for an outing to Black Partridge Woods Forest Preserve.  Black Partridge Woods’ is an 80 acre woodland featuring bluffs overlooking the Des Plaines River, ravine forests and spring-fed streams. The site is a protected Illinois Nature Preserve. On htis day in Ocotber autumn was just beginning to turn the leaves to brilliant colors.  The temperature was perfect, the company on the outing was perfect, and lunch at the Rustic Knead in Lemont was perfect!

See the images of this outing in the  Black Partridge FP Album.


Club Outing – Lensbaby Workshop

A group of MNSPC enjoyed an outing to Chicago Botanic Garden where we met up with Anne Belmont, the renown macro photographer.  Anne brought a case of Lensbaby lens for the group to try out and learn how to best use Lensbaby lens to produce creative, soft, selective focus.  After the workshop, Anne facilitated a feedback session where we all shared a few of our “best” photos and received constructive feedback from all participants.  Fun time was had by all!

See the images of this outing in the  Lensbaby Workshop Album.


Club Outing – Indiana Dunes National Park

A group of MNSPC enjoyed an outing to Pinhook Bog and the Heron Rookery located in the Indiana Dunes National Park.  Rafi, a park ranger led us on a tour of the Pinhook Bog which is only open to guided tours.  Rafi explained the origns and ecosystems of the bog which was very interesting.  Fortunately the rain held off for most of the tour but the rain also provided us with many opportunities for rain drop photos.  The other highlight of the toursuggested by Rafi was at Heron Rookery.  No herons nest there now but there were many wild flowers.  The outing was capped off with a lunch at the Smokey Southern BBQ.  Fun time was had by all!

See the images of this outing in the  2019- Indiana Dunes outing album.


Club Outing – Lilacia Park

A group of MNSPC enjoyed an outing to Lilacia Park in Lombard, known for its outstanding liclac and tulip festival. The group was greeted by a tour guide and gorgeous light (and no rain)!! The scent of the lilacs, and the beauty of the tulips surrounded the group. The weather was very nice. The botanical tour was very interesting but the group hurried to capture the light, and the tulips, and the lilacs!!

See the images of this outing in the Lilacia Park .


The outing to Orchids by Hausermann on March 23rd in Villa Park was enjoyed by many.  Among the orchid greenhouses our photographers were able to set up areas to photograph the orchids of their choosing; some used their own backdrops whereas other photographers used the muted colors of light and orchid plants as their backdrops.  Late breakfast/early lunch was enjoyed by all at Simon’s Restaurant in Villa Park. To thank Orchids by Hausermann , participants paid $5 and purchased Hausermann gift cards.  Gail Chastain and Steve Baginski won a $40 gift card as did Jim Hutchinson at brunch.

See the images of this outing in the 2019 Hausermann Orchids album.

Club Outing – Starved Rock State Park

On February 9th an intrepid group of dedicated MNSPC photographers met at Starved Rock State Park to capture winter scenes of frozen waterfalls, abstract river ice and  some eagles at Lock & Dam #6 followed by a re-energizing lunch.

See the images of this outing in the Morton Arboretum Outing Album in Flickr.


Club Outing – Morton Arboretum Fall Outing

On October 28th, A small group met up at Morton Arboretum to brave wind and at times rain droplets to enjoy fall.  Among the famous large trolls and friendly scarecrows (made by local scout groups), this group meandered through the Arb to capture the quickly changing fall colors

See the images of this outing in the Morton Arboretum Outing Album in Flickr.

Club Outing – Matthiessen State Park

On October 13th, several MNSPC member visited the Matthiessen State Park to capture the fall foliage.

It is beautiful at all the times of the year with deep canyons, streams, prairies and forests. Rich sandstone rock formations are dotted with waterfalls. The main canyon consists of Upper and Lower Falls where the canyon drops 45ft. As ground water evaporates, the minerals contribute to the rich colors of the rocks. Mosses, ferns, and mushrooms grow on the damp, sandy walls of the canyons. Cliff swallows and rock doves perch along the canyon walls as frogs, toads, and salamanders call the moist, cool canyon floors their homes. On this outing, photographers were able to capture the nature of Matthiessen State Park with the rich colors of fall.

See the images of this outing in the Matthiessen State Park Outing album in Flickr.

Club Outing – Joliet Iron Works and Old Joliet Prison

On September 29th, 18 club members from MNSPC, MAPS and PhotoGenesis visited the Joliet Iron works Historic Site and the Old Joliet Prison which are within a mile of each other.

The Joliet Iron Works Historic Site features 0.59 mile of paved trail that provides a self-guided interpretive tour of the site’s historical significance.  It was the site of an iron manufacturing facility from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Cultural resources protected at the preserve include foundations of the blast furnaces and other structures from the dismantled factory.

The Old Joliet Prison started giving tours this year.  Built in 1858 and currently under restoration, the tour gives you insight into living conditions over the years. The 90 minute tour was very interesting and provided many opportunities for close-up and environmental images.

See the images of this outing in the Joliet Prison and Iron Works album in Flickr.

Club Outing – Balmoral Park

On August 26th, 6 club members (Fran, Gail, Steve B., Diane, Sandy, and Steve O.) visited the Balmoral Park in Crete to photograph the $500,00 purse Equestrian Competition. We had close access to the show ring and used focal lengths of 200-400mm.  It was a unique experience and we got a chance to see world class horses up close.  Because of the large purse there were horses and riders from all over the world, including Olympic level and world ranked riders and horses.

See the images of this outing in the Balmoral Park  album in Flickr.

Club Outing – Mayslake Eco-Systems

Over 20 people attended the Mayslake Eco-System Photo Walk that was led by FPDDC’s Shannon Burns. Shannon explored the 5 Eco-systems surrounding Mayslake and pointed put many nature features, plants, marshes, ponds and prairie.  It was very informative.  See the images of this outing in the Mayslake Photo Walk album in Flickr.

Club Outing – Lake Renwick

A group met at the Lake Renwick Preserve and Heron Rookery in Plainfield. This site has been listed by the Illinois Audubon Society as the most valuable rookery in Illinois. Here the group was able to take images of nesting cormorants, blue herons, and egrets. This area has also been noted for great horned owls, American white pelicans, eastern bluebirds, purple martins and Baltimore orioles. Access to this area is limited during nesting times, refer to the website for that information. The group finished their morning together with a late breakfast at Larry’s Diner in Plainfield. See the images of this outing in the Lake Renwick Rookery album in Flickr.

Club Outing – Fabyan Japanese Garden

Margaret Eagan from Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley gave an insightful, private tour of the Japanese Tea Garden at the Fabyan Forest Preserve. Our group was able to then take pictures of this lovely garden’s many serene and tranquil elements such as wooden bridges, concrete lanterns, and an authentic tea house to name a few. The paths thru and around the garden enabled us to view the garden from different perspectives to take beautiful landscape images as well as beautiful plant and flower images. The group then explored paths along the Fox River before having lunch at the Country House Restaurant in Geneva. View the images we captured there in the Fabyan Japanese Garden album on Flickr

Club Outing – Franklin Creek Wilderness Area

Several club members, led by Dee Hudson and Bev Bartos visited the Franklin Creek Wilderness Area to photograph the spring flowers and other scenes on a beautiful, bright spring day in May.  Click here to view the the Franklin Creek Wilderness Area images captured by our members.

Club Outing – Fall, Falls, Fungi and Full Moon

Several club members, led by Steve Ornberg visited the western Upper Peninsula in Michigan, near Ontonagon to photograph the fall colors, flowing waterfalls and cascades, fungi and leaves on the forest floor and also capture sunsets and setting full moon over Lake Superior.  It was a week long outing and all had a great time. Images from the outing can be seen in the Fall, Falls, Fungi and Full Moon album on the MNSPC Yahoo site (MNSPC membership required to view photos).

De Kalb Barn Night Photography

Noriko Buckles arranged for MNSPC members to gather at homestead of Joe and Kari in De Kalb on the night of September 20th to try night photography techniques that Steve Ornberg learned on his Night Photography Seminar.  We had a fun time experimenting with light painting using a head lamp.  See more photos from the night at the De Kalb Barn Night Photography album on the MNSPC Yahoo site (MNSPC membership required to view photos)

Got a place you love to go?

Want to share it with Mayslake members?

Then why not lead an Outing!

Email us at and let her know.