Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

Winter wonderland in Rockford

Rockford, Illinois sure knows how to go all out for the holidays. While Chicago may get a lot of the national publicity being that it is a world-class city, Rockford puts on its own impressive showcase during the winter months. While Stroll on State is usually hailed as the major event, the light displays throughout the town last much longer and are a sight to see – oh and did we mentioned that they are completely FREE.

Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital
Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

For this article, we’re concentrating solely on the light displays at the Nicholas Conservatory Gardens which sits on the Rock River just a couple miles north from the downtown area. Pulling into the parking lot you will see lots of lights and beautifully decorated trees but the real magic is behind the big glass building. On your way to the back is a path with lights arching above (pictured above) it and it sort of reminds us of those cartoon sketches where they go to a different universe through a portal covered by neon lights.

Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital
Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

Once you make it through the portal path you will see the lagoon and the rest of the light displays. At this moment you are at a split and have to go either to the left or the right of the lagoon. Unfortunately, the path does not make a full circle (yet) around the lagoon but we hope this happens soon. We made our way to the right and captured the beautiful blue and violet colors, as seen in the picture above, reflecting on the frozen water. One section turned red right as we took the shot but we don’t mind it at all.

Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital
Holiday lights in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

If you are to go to the left side (technically it’s more of a straight shot) the path leads you up the longer path alongside the lagoon. Again, beautiful colors follow the path as you make your way to the north side of the park. The picture above was taken at about a half way point and we did have to wait at least 10 minutes for the area to clear as hundreds of people were visiting that night.

So the only thing missing in this winter wonderland is the snow. Did you even notice that? However, we are definitely not complaining because being able to enjoy the beautiful displays without freezing temperatures definitely felt good. Also, we wouldn’t have gotten the amazing reflections off the frozen lagoon if it was covered with snow.

We’d love to hear from you! Have you ever been here or have we inspired you to visit it next year? Let us know in the comments below.

Stroll On State 2019

‘Tis the season to be jolly… falalalala-lala-la-la

Santa on State Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois.
Santa on State Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois.

It’s that time of the year again when everything becomes so festive. For the city of Rockford, Illinois, an annual event called Stroll on State officially kicks off the winter holiday season. The event started several years ago as a way to bring the community together and help out small businesses in the downtown district. It is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and well sometimes the weather can be a bit too much here in northern Illinois during that time.

Rockford Fire Department participated in the parade.
Rockford Fire Department participated in the parade.

While last year’s attendance set a new record, at almost 80,000 attendees, this year was not that even close to that. The rain had to have been a huge factor and the low temperatures didn’t help either. Nonetheless, KB Digital was there to capture some amazing shots of the parade. We had a blast seeing all the different floats and just enjoying all the holiday spirit from the community.

Frosty and Rudolph wave at the crowd.
Frosty and Rudolph wave at the crowd.

We love the Stroll On State tradition and try to attend every year, and this year was no exception. Due to prior scheduled plans, we couldn’t stay too long and didn’t get to enjoy the tree lighting later that afternoon. However, we did hurry back to the studio to process all the pictures and start uploading them. Out of about 150 pictures, we selected 46 to upload on our website so we hope you enjoy them. They are also uploaded onto our Facebook page so feel free to tag family and friends if you spot them in the gallery.

PS. Only thing we regret not doing is picking up some of the candy because we sure do have a sweet tooth.

Snow on Halloween in Rockford, IL

White Halloween in the Stateline

When’s the last time you went trick-or-treating through snow? For the Rockford region and the northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin state line, that was just last week. While the snow might have spooked some trick-or-treat goers away (see what we did there) the majority of the crowd seemed to embrace this rare occasion.

Snow on Halloween in Rockford, IL
Snow covers Sinnissippi Park on Halloween in Rockford, IL.

Obviously, we wouldn’t have missed the chance to capture a few images of this amazing day. The scariest thing for us would have been not to go out and shoot some pictures. We grabbed our camera gear and headed out to a few local spots. Sinnissippi Park and its lagoon are always fun to shoot and we just loved the dark blue desaturated water with the white snow all around it. Even though the shot wasn’t a long exposure, the water still looks pretty still and a bit icy.

Snow on Halloween in Rockford, IL
Snow covers the trees at Rock Cut State Park on Halloween 2019.

Another favorite stop of ours is Rock Cut State Park. While we enjoyed the views of the lake and the different picnic areas, we really liked how the road swiveled through the snow-covered trees. The green pines stood out in the white snow and created such a relaxing atmosphere. It just reminded us of a commercial or movie scene. (Elsa wouldn’t have been able to ‘let it go’)

Snow on Halloween in Rockford, Illinois.
Snow on Halloween at the river dam in Belvidere, Illinois.

We also made our way out to Belvidere, Illinois and stopped at the park right by the Belvidere Dam on the Kishwaukee River. It was beautiful to see how the snow just glazed the ground while the trees remained in color. The white water coming off the dam complemented the snow surrounding the river and just created a postcard look. Once again, we didn’t have our tripod with us to do a long exposure here but we were pretty happy with the hand-held shot that we were able to get that day.

None-the-less, we’re quite excited to see what kind of beauty this winter gives us. Now, we’re definitely not looking forward to the frigid cold temperatures…. but that’s a whole other topic. Depending on road conditions, we would love to get some pretty pictures of a snowy Chicago and maybe even head up north to Lake Geneva and Milwaukee. Though, we just might have to escape somewhere warm if it get’s too cold for us and our gear. 🙂

Colorful trees at Rock Cut State Park in Rockford, Illinois.

Autumn at Rock Cut State Park

It has been a colorful season here in the stateline area. While our fall season has been quite a short one, we did manage to get a few shots of all the beauty that mother nature has to offer.

Fall in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital
Red, green and blue colors at Rock Cut. (KB Digital)

Living in northern Illinois has its perks when it comes to nature and photography. While we usually complain about the weather (mostly the cold) we do get blessed with some beautiful views. KB Digital has spent a lot of time wandering around our local parks and forest preserves during this summer-to-winter transition and we were lucky enough to capture some amazing images. While we’re not fully ready to brace the upcoming winter season, we’re definitely making the most of the current situation.

Fall in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital
Fall in Rockford, Illinois by KB Digital

We set out on a Sunday to get some fall pictures and we weren’t disappointed. Our first stop was Rock Cut State Park in northern Illinois, just a few miles south of the Wisconsin border. Driving through the woods we had a good feeling about the shots we were about to get. We arrived about 30 minutes before the sun set and started walking around the park. Immediately, beautiful fall colors starting to grab our attention and the camera was brought up.

Colorful trees at Rock Cut State Park in Rockford, Illinois.
Colorful trees at Rock Cut State Park in Rockford, Illinois.

One of our favorite shots is the gradient-colored trees right above, where the three trees go from red to orange to yellow. That right there just screamed “mother-nature” to us. Our journey took us through the woods and next to the lake, and we we’re pretty happy with the results. We’ve been quite a bit busy so we haven’t posted in a while (sorry about that) but we are getting back on the horse, with our camera strapped to us. We did just have a white Halloween (it was snowing for Halloween) and we managed to get some shots of that as well so stay tuned for our next article showcasing those images.