Chicago Skyline on Valentines Day

This is a post I originally meant to publish back in February. But somehow it fell through the cracks. Here you go!

Chicago Lights up February 14. I shot this from the outer wall of the Shedd Aquarium. I tried shooting a little closer to the Planetarium, but I got sprayed with water that instantly froze on contact on my camera. The camera was not damaged, however. After drying off a bit and warming up, I tried again and got this shot. Note, the wind was whipping around 30 mph and it was roughly 8 degrees outside.

Chicago Lights up Feb 14

I’ll say this again, please do not mess around with ice and water. This is potentially a deadly combination! Respect the conditions. Missing “the shot” is better than losing your life. When I got closer to the water, I didn’t get so close that I could slide into the lake. I stayed on the land side of the ice slope that was on the concrete. Another foot closer to the lake, however, and I would have been asking for a LOT more trouble up to and including losing my life. Be careful and mindful of your surroundings. As soon as I could hear the water rushing my way, I got out of the way. I still got spray, but I was safe.

The result? I didn’t get as much ice in the above photo as I was hoping to. But I still like the view.

In Service of the Print

In the spring of 2013, I was preparing for my biggest road trip ever. I knew that I was going to take a lot of photos of 4 incredible destinations. I was trying to learn as much as I could about photography. I came across a Youtube video by B&H about HDR photography by Alan Kesselhaut (youtube link [http://youtu.be/v3CPavb2NWs] / Alan’s site: http://www.alankesselhaut.com/]. He said something 23 minutes into that video that struck me, that what we do in photography is “in service of the print.”  If you’re interested in watching the video, be prepared, it’s long, but very informative even if it’s almost 3 years old.

I recently made several prints. I made a calendar using several photos and three large prints of my photos. The calendar was great. I used Picaboo [http://www.picaboo.com/]. I knew nothing of them before I tried their service. I thought it was worth a shot to see if they are any good. I have to say they are GREAT! The photos had a nice glossy finish and the card stock for each pages is really sturdy. The binding wires are also good quality and makes for easy flipping of the pages. Based on this, I think they probably produce good prints with their other services.

The following are the prints I used for the calendar:

I am THRILLED about my large prints, however. I used Bay Photo [http://www.bayphoto.com]. I’ve heard nothing but good things from them. Now, I made a print on a piece of metal, but it was a SMALL metal print. But something happens with the large print. I requested a 48″ wide print of my photo of Chicago’s skyline that I like to call “Chicago on Liquid Lights”. This was printed on a “Pearl” paper. It’s priced a little higher than their “Metal” paper option. It is AMAZING. I can’t say that enough. The lights of the City of Chicago look simply amazing. AMAZING!

Chicago on Liquid Lights

My other photo I made was am 18″ x 24″ of the photo I call, “The L Runs Through It”. The paper and print I used was identical, the pearl paper. Again, I was absolutely thrilled with the print. The blue hour sky was amazing. The lights of the buildings were great, but the light representing the train’s long exposure was crazy good! There is something about the paper that reflects light in an amazing way. I don’t know how else to explain it.

The Chicago L going through the near north side of city center.
The L going through the near north side of Chicago just before it crosses the Chicago River into the “Loop”.

Another photo I printed was among the first photos I took with my NEX-7. It was a photo of a gate in Libertyville called the “Liberty Walk”. The gateway is just an alley between two buildings to get you to the parking lot. But the walls were made of brick, the cement walkway was wet, too. There were lights that had a starburst in the image. The brick walls were also wet, too. Again, the print looks great.

Liberty Walk

I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Chicago waves on Valentines Day!

So, this is what I do during Valentines Day. Oh? Was it cold? Yep. Was the wind whipping past 30 mph? yep. Could the waves kill you if you slip into the lake? You betchya! So, I figured it was just the thing to go and take a picture of before sunset.

Basically, I knew that the wind was really strong and usually when that happens there are strong waves somewhere along the Chicago shoreline. I wasn’t sure though if the waves would be in action or where they would be in action. I asked a friend on Facebook who was down by the Shedd Aquarium and the waves looked pretty calm.  This helped me stay by Lincoln Park where this picture was taken. More specifically it was between Fullerton and North Avenue.

waves and ice in Chicago

I’m not sure if they allow people to be there, btw. Not that anyone complained, but as I mentioned at the top of the blog, it is NOT SAFE! Please be careful when going out in such conditions. The water freezes on contact when it lands. If you get yourself wet, DO NOT WASTE TIME! Get yourself somewhere safe as soon as possible and change your clothes if possible.  There was not a part of my body besides my face that had less than three layers of clothing. Do not mess around in dangerous conditions.