Dusk Ride to McDowell Grove

I went out for a quick ride Friday evening since I had weekend plans and wouldn’t be able to ride. Near the end of my ride I popped into McDowell Grove in Naperville. I hadn’t been there since the park district had completely re-landscaped it. I didn’t have much time to explore since the park was about to close, but what I was able to see looked really nice!


I checked both ends. No troll.

When you pull into the park, you cross the DuPage River on this bridge. (The bridge could use a little repair.) Unfortunately, my photos didn’t turn out very well since it was getting dark, so these shots don’t really capture how nice the area really is.

I didn’t know much about McDowell, so I looked it up on the DuPage Forest Preserve District’s website when I got home. Apparently, McDowell Grove was created in the 1930s as a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps which provided jobs for unemployed men during the Great Depression as part of FDR’s “New Deal”. I also discovered this cool fact:

“During World War II, the site served as a secret installation for developing radar technology.”

The park also provides a great view of the DuPage River and its summer foliage.


View of the DuPage River from the bridge

I was so disappointed when I got home to see that my photos were so muddled. My phone doesn’t have the best camera to begin with, and in those low light conditions it just couldn’t cut the mustard. I have a Canon Rebel which I love and which takes amazing photos, but it’s large and impractical to take with me on the bike. My phone is really convenient because I can just slip it in my jacket pocket.

So, I dug through boxes and found my old 8MP Olympus FE-340. I dusted it off, charged up the battery, turned it on, and experienced my second disappointment of the night. The LCD screen was filled with blurry, pixelated horizontal stripes. I took a couple photos and they were also just blurry stripes. After some online research, I discovered that Olympus churned out a batch of cameras with a defective CCD sensor. Apparently, my camera was one of them. 🙁


Pretty flowers I noticed in a parking lot down the road from McDowell Grove

I don’t want to miss out on photo opportunities that I might never have again because of a bad camera, so I decided it was worth it to buy a new one. I poured over camera reviews all day today and finally settled on a Nikon Coolpix L27. It’s not the most current model (L30 is the newest), but it should be good enough for what I need. I was going to go with a used L30 off eBay, but then I saw that Walmart was offering the L27 new for about the same price. Since it’s new it will have a full one-year warranty unlike a used camera, and if I end up really hating it I can always return it. Hopefully, I will be happy with it though, and will be taking some great photos with it soon!

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