Tag Archives: skyscraper

October 2015 – NEW STUFF!

Something awesome happened for me this month. I got a new full frame camera! This was actually quite unexpected but, I plan to make full use of this unexpected boost to my photography.

Since, I already have the Sony NEX-7 and I have been a fan of mirrorless technology. Also, since I have never shot with a DSLR, I am staying mirrorless. The NEX-7 is an APSC sensor camera, which means it uses smaller lenses but also collects less light. Since I really wanted a full frame camera there was only one game in town to shoot mirrorless and to go full frame. That was the Sony A7 series of cameras.

I purchased the Sony A7II from Sony’s refurbish store, Secondipity. Let me tell you, this camera so far feels 100% NEW. I have no problems with it at all. It was a 25% savings over new retail.

This camera has in body stabilization that is making steady shots at longer shutter speeds possible. My ability to shoot at night, hand held has gone up by about 4 – 6 stops of light when you combine the larger sensor with the steadiness of the camera. What does this mean? 4 stops means a shot that would ordinarily take 1/400th of a second, I can use a cleaner ISO and shoot as slow as 1/25th of a second.

I also purchased my first super wide lens! I was aching for a super wide lens ever since I rented a wide angle lens for a national park vacation in 2014.

I hope you like this month’s selections. I know that last month I had a large amount of pictures. This month I’m keeping it down to 12 images. I hope to keep a similar limit from here on out.

The beginning of October saw the Scott Kelby World Wide Photowalk led by Teresa Peek and then the next weekend was the Open House Chicago 2015 extravaganza.

I have to get around to writing some posts about the people I’ve met over the last few months. It’s been very gratifying to meet so many skilled photographers and wonderful people.


Big John from Clark St

From Lincoln Park, looking on Big John. The lights streak by at night when you stand still.

Have a good weekend everyone!


Taken on Clark Street in Lincoln Park, Chicago. You get a great view of the John Hancock Tower.
Taken on Clark Street in Lincoln Park, Chicago. You get a great view of the John Hancock Tower.

Skyline over Iceline – Chicago

The skyline of the Chicago Loop is often photographed from this point, the Adler Planetarium. On this late January morning, however, I was looking for something different. All of this ice had recently built itself up on the cement wall separating the museum campus from Lake Michigan. The soft predawn sunlight was only beginning to brighten up the city. The smooth curves of the ice also was interesting. I found that if I lay down on the ice, I could place it under Lake Shore Drive with the skyline coming up and out of the ice. The street lights also added a little interesting bokeh, too. The only hard contrasting line in the image is the line separating the city from the ice.

The Chicago Skyline placed above the a small icewall closed to the Planetarium.
The Chicago Skyline placed above the a small icewall close to the Planetarium.

Spring Blooms in Chicago Steel

This photo was taken in early spring. Sometimes, in Chicago, this is the only kind of flower you get in March.

Sometimes, when steel is all you got, steel flowers is all you get in Chicago in March.
Sometimes, when steel is all you got, steel flowers is all you get in Chicago in March.


This is one of those photos that I couldn’t let go of. I hemmed and hawed… I just wasn’t sure. I think part of it is that I’m growing more comfortable in the idea of letting go of rigid crop ratios. If it doesn’t fit the image, change it!

Don’t get me wrong… some day, I’ll crop a lot less. Who knows, that some day might be soon. Until then, I’ll give you what I can with what I got. 🙂


Chicago Henge over the L

It was an incredibly cloudy day this first day of fall in 2014. But I could see a sliver of hope on the horizon! The streets of Chicago are supposed to line up so that on either Equinox you can see the sun set on the street. But… you never really know just how exact the streets are and just how exact the sun will set.

But boom! The sun cracked the difference between the cloud and sky and horizon within ten minutes of sunset. The brightness of the sun changed drastically in this time. It was supper hard to control the exposure for both the horizon and to make the scene visible for the people in the foreground. Some of the most dramatic and interesting stuff happened on Michigan Avenue and Washington Street.

This scene I took the fastest exposure I could muster, turned it black and white and gave you what I could of this scene. I hope you enjoy.

Chicago Henge over the L


BTW, I have several exposures and versions of this I’ll be releasing soon. 🙂

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain last year on Memorial Day. This is truly one of the jewels of the city. It is visually pleasing. The city looks fantastic behind it. On a hot day, the mist is relief. And sunsets look great. On Memorial Day they will play patriotic music and the central fountain of water will shut much higher than is shown here.


Buckingham Fountain on Memorial Day, people get a special performance from the fountain as patriotic music plays and the lights change color, the fountain will shoot even higher than you see here.
Buckingham Fountain on Memorial Day, people get a special performance from the fountain as patriotic music plays and the lights change color, the fountain will shoot even higher than you see here.

Morning Flamingo

One recent morning I was in Chicago. That in and of itself is nothing special. I like to find myself there. Calder’s curved red steel is a welcome releafe amidst all the square edges of Chicago.

On another note, I’ll be shooting in the loop again this weekend. My first time back in the loop after visiting the east coast a few weeks ago.

Where are my pictures from that? Well, they’ll be a while. 🙂 I hope not too long. I’ve lately made a decision to hold back on some things so I can let my friends in The Arcanum look at my new work first. I’ve recently finished a batch and everything from before my trip has recently become fair game to post.

But, I do have more than a few photos to post in the mean time. I hope you enjoy those for now.


Calder's Flamingo in the morning. From behind it's as if the flamingo is bashfully putting it's head in the sand.
Calder’s Flamingo in the morning. From behind it’s as if the flamingo is bashfully putting it’s head in the sand.

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.

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.