Category Archives: Architecture

Night Aqua

Couple of weeks ago, I walked around downtown and I walked past the Aqua Building. I thought it was kind of cool to play with the look of this building at night.

Night Aqua

This one was a long exposure at f/8 with 25 second exposure and 200 ISO. I used Lightroom to process into B&W and to change the perspective a bit.

 

I hope you enjoy!

Night Owls at the Harold Washington Library

I really liked the Harold Washington Library.  It’s one of the more iconic symbols of Chicago and one of the primary protectors of Chicago’s history. Here’s a factoid for you: The Chicago Public Library system didn’t exist until word of the Great Chicago Fire reached the Queen of England and in response, she sent library’s worth of books to Chicago because she thought that Chicago’s libraries were all up in smoke. In truth, Chicago didn’t have any libraries to begin with.

The library has owls in place of gargoyles that line the roof. And as you can see, they are very nicely lit at night!

 

The Harold Washington Library in Chicago at night has owls instead of gargoyles guarding the rooftop.
The Harold Washington Library in Chicago at night has owls instead of gargoyles guarding the rooftop.

This picture was panorama of three photos in the portrait position each photo was an HDR processed bracket of three exposures. I hope you enjoy.

The Loop’s Gateway

I went to Chicago on the evening of Sunday March 23, 2014 and I parked by the Adler Planetarium on Solidarity Drive because it’s only $2/hr and the parking times go on until pretty late at night. (Although, the police try to get everyone out of there by 11 pm, but I have trouble finding signs that say when you aren’t supposed to park there.)  I walked from there to get a chance to see “Chicagohenge” which was coined by the folks at OutOfChicago.com. (It was a term to call attention to the fact that Chicago has East/West streets that will give you a sunset / sunrise during the spring and fall equinox because that’s when the sun rises and falls due east and west.) It was a little late in the year. But I think I will have a decent sunset shot later to show.

BUT! Chicago is wonderful feeding ground for panoramas and night photography! I walked pretty much due west to State Street from the museum campus, and then walked due north to Wacker to view the Chicago River. That is where I took the picture I am posting today. It was such a cool view. There was a sign there that said that it was the “Gateway to the Loop”. Indeed the view from this intersection when looking north is a view that opens up and shows the sky and the full scope of the buildings across the Chicago River.

This is a image stitched from 7 HDR processed brackets at State and Wacker in Chicago. Chicago lables this location as the Gateway to the Loop, but this photo is looking away from the loop to the near north side of downtown.

This is a image stitched from 7 HDR processed brackets at State and Wacker in Chicago. Chicago lables this location as the Gateway to the Loop, but this photo is looking away from the loop to the near north side of downtown.

I did seven brackets from left to right with the camera in a portrait position. I did the brackets by manually setting the exposure so I wouldn’t have different processing across the brackets. After processing the HDR brackets, I then combined them into a single panorama where I cropped it.

Equitable Building, Chicago

Here is the Equitable Building from Chicago. This was shot on the day of the Greening of the Chicago River. I was out shooting with a group called Drink and Click Chicago. It’s a lot of fun to shoot with this group. The theme of the day was Depth of Field. I’ll wait to display some more of those till later.

Equitable Building HDR

The thing about some Chicago skyscrapers is that they were boring. Steele and glass in a predictable grid on four sides with a flat roof. With this one I shot a three shot bracket for HDR processing. Once I got it into Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw, I was able to bring out some of the colors and present the clouds in an as interesting way as I could.

I hope you enjoy this one!

Rockefeller Chapel and Frank Lloyd Write

Last Saturday, I decided I wanted to get some experience at regular residential interior photography. When you live in Chicago, where else do you go but the legendary, Frank Lloyd Write? Well, I can’t show you those pictures of the inside because the foundation for Frank Lloyd Write basically locks you down from distributing them online or anywhere in any public forum except in your own home and in closed social networks. BUT, they can’t keep you from taking photos of the exterior! So I’ve included one of his home and studio in this post.

DSC05581_

I also visited the Robbie house in the Woodlawn area of Chicago. Personally, I like his home and studio better because it actually felt more like a home. The Robbie house has some very interesting features to it, but photographically, it feels more like a commercial building to me than a home. He didn’t believe in having lots of ornate furnishings and knick knacks. I can say that I did enjoy his habit of making common areas like hallways ‘compressive’ and the rooms the release.  I also enjoyed his habit of slowly bringing you from the outside with transition zones for both the patios and decks. You can only wonder what he would have done with today’s engineering capabilities.

But, when I went to see the Robbie house, I parked next to the Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. So I might be a sucker for the vast spaces of these churches. I also find them photographically challenging. Stained glass can be very difficult to contain it’s essence. The scope of the display is so hard to translate into a single exposure. So I keep trying. I hope you get to feel a little bit of what I felt from this place.

The Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, IL. On this day they were gettign prepared for a wedding which was a few hours away from this photo.
The Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, IL. On this day they were gettign prepared for a wedding which was a few hours away from this photo.

Technical stuff: When I took this photo, I did a five exposure brackets that were three frames wide, and five frames tall. However, the top frame was almost completely cropped away. It’s hard to get everything to line up right. I did the HDR processing first and I was careful to make sure all the settings were universal throughout the HDR processing. Once that was done, I stitched everything together and did my final adjustments. Do the math, 5 exposures per bracket x 5 high x 3 wide = 75 exposures! I had to reduce the resolution just a little so my computer could handle the data. (Time for an upgrade?)

Jewelers Light

Jewels shine and late at night the Jewelers building shines, too. This dome is well lit and it is iconic. It is an attractive sight at night!

That was a cold evening to be walking along the Chicago River. Winter isn’t done with our fair City, either. This weekend we’re talking about getting even more snow. I’m sure we haven’t seen the end of negative temperatures, either.

The Jewelers building late at night in Chicago. A 20 second exposure gave it a nice glow but veiled look.
The Jewelers building late at night in Chicago. A 20 second exposure gave it a nice glow but veiled look.

Technical stuff: This photo was a 20 second exposure, ISO 200, f6.3 at 39mm (58.5mm 35mm equivalent). It was a bit of a challenge to get a good image that night. The winds were fierce along the Chicago River.

Looking in and up: St Mary of the Angels

I guess some of the things I like about large old churches is that they invite you to look deep and high. There is a certain entertainment value here. But it’s guided. That when I get lost in thought, my eyes just bounce around and come back to where I am supposed to be, connecting with the Holy Spirit.

At St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago, their art has gone to so much work to do just that. The church has a kind of light glow that is hard to feel when there is no one there and the lights turned off. But through post processing it is easy to bring that back.  In this image you can easily make out the mural above the alter that depicts the crowning of Mary in Heaven. There is also the stained glass ceiling.  We also have murals to either side of alter, further displaying the values of the parish and their devotion to St. Mary.

I know that people that go to new churches have good parishes. But they are missing something when they don’t stuff their church with nearly so much visual goodness!

Vertorama of St Mary Of The Angels
Vertorama of St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago. This reveals a common stars in blue field in the ceiling and wonderful stained glass in the main dome. The crowning of mary is depicted above the alter. Then in the side alters you have depictions of people honoring the traditions of the parish.

The technical stuff: This image is a combination of six horizontal images. They were brackets of 2, 0, -2 exposure values. I combined the images into three separate  vertoramas of each exposure value and ran the HDR program in Photoshop. I then ran Adobe Camera Raw and touched up the HDR to reveal as much textures and tones as I could before converting it to what you see here.

St Hyacinth the Alter view

I’ll keep this entry brief with a new photo of the day.

Here’s another view from St. Hyacinth Basilica. This time, I put together six photos from top to bottom . They were also stitched with Microsoft Image Composite Editor.

For more information about my visit, read yesterday’s blog post.

Thank you for viewing!

-Adam

A vertical panorama view of St Hyacinth Basilica's (in Chicago) alter and dome. Stitched with six images.
A vertical panorama view of St Hyacinth Basilica’s (in Chicago) alter and dome. Stitched with six images.

Whirlpool-Britannica and survival!

Whirlpool-Britannica two brands that have been in Chicago for a long time.

I found this after the Chicago Auto Show on 2-13-2014. OK, it was actually 2-14-2014 by the time I took the image. It was about 12:30 in the morning. There was tons of snow all over the city. I had to go down some stairs to find a little stretch of the River Walk . At this point of the river it isn’t much of a walk, more like a Lower Wacker Drive patio. The stairs had obviously NEVER been shoveled during the whole winter. Going down these stairs was more like sliding down these stairs. With an expensive camera, tripod and lens. The railing was my best friend, especially on my way back up!

Why did I do this?

Because I liked the light and I knew there was more of it where I was going.

Not every spot of the skyline is interesting. But I do enjoy where warm and cool colors mix like they do here with the Maytag and Britannica symbols mix.  I planned for brackets and doing HDR processing. But there is something about this single exposure I liked. The edges in the background buildings seem to have more life, I think. Anyhow, I’m not showing you those pictures.  Just the one I liked.

If you like it, at least you didn’t have to go down and up an icy flight of cement stairs to see it. 🙂

-Adam

Whirlpool-Britannica two brands that have been in Chicago for a long time. Whirlpool was a Sears brand and Encyclopedia Britannica was based in the city, too.
Whirlpool-Britannica two brands that have been in Chicago for a long time. Whirlpool was a Sears brand and Encyclopedia Britannica was based in the city, too.