Chicago Blows And Other Strange Tales

They don’t call Chicago the windy city as in “wow, it’s really calm here” you know, like calling the fat guy “slim” – Nope that’s not why. It’s because it’s near-gale-force blowing most of the time I was here! But I love Chicago; the architectural showcase of America. My goal was simple, eat good food, wander the streets and take photos. Which I did. Want to see ’em? Good! But before you scroll down, click here and set the mood: 

Having photographer friends all over the country isn’t that hard when you are a member of an international organization of photographers called The Arcanum. I reached out to one of my photo friends who I never met and asked if he would spend an evening with me showing me some of his favorite spots. He agreed and we made plans to meet. Our first stop was the river walk.

Nenad Spasojevic is from Serbia and made his way to Chicago via Philadelphia. We hit it off immediately and we started our evening out into the city. It was still light out when we wandered the river walk but we both prefer to shoot in the dark. Other than this walkway/pathway image above, I really didn’t shoot much of anything else before dusk. I knew our time was coming soon. After a quick gluten free pizza, the night sky was starting to glow and we were feeling like the twilight and the city would soon display her grand jewels.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the prettiest city of all…

Nenad is effusive in his enthusiasm for his photography, as am I. He wanted to show me some of his favorite spots, which I would have never discovered on my own. Our next stop was to a nondescript building off a side street. We entered like thieves about to snatch the gold before the royal guard would come to stop us.  Somewhere around the 10th floor of this Chicago parking garage, I watched as Nenad jumped up and leaned over the wall suspending his camera over the busy street below. Naturally, I followed suit, and I was thrilled with the results.  The effect of using the side of the glass walls as mirrors was simply delightful. If I hadn’t told you what you were looking at, you may have never realized what we had done. Amazingly, I was able to hold the camera still enough and get straight lines in the process. All this before the security guard came up and nicely asked us to get the heck outta there. 

The effect of using the side of the glass walls as mirrors was simply delightful. If I hadn’t told you what you were looking at, you may have never realized what we had done. Amazingly, I was able to hold the camera still enough and get straight lines in the process. All this before the security guard came up and nicely asked us to get the heck outta there. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love to hang off the side of buildings at night, particularly empty parking garages while suspending $5000 worth of camera gear over the side, on my tippy toes. Yeah, that was fun. But we weren’t done. The next stop would be even better. But first, a walk through the center of the city where the river flows. 

I know, I know, it’s freaky gorgeous, I hardly had to do anything other than a short pano series here, to capture what I saw. These are the spots that Chicago demands you see, just so you know how amazing a place it is. I wasn’t going to leave without this one, even though the bridge shoot like a junky needing his next fix, I managed to squeeze out three good exposures. Remember this view, because later I am going to show it to you from the other side.

The red, green and yellow streaks on those railway tracks are from the subway trains which snake around the interior landscape, which changes constantly

What’s the deal with parking garages? Here we go again, suspended over a wall this time to catch the streaming subway trains as they snaked around the outer buildings. Nenad was surprised to see the half-finished building, it wasn’t there last time he visited. I didn’t care one bit, I was loving this spot as much as the other parking garage. We were able to hang out (no pun intended) for the next 1/2 hour as we waited for trains to stream by and find the right moment to get those streaks perfect.

Some more wandering around but I had just flown into town that day, I was running out of steam so we decided to end the evening as we passed a subway platform that would get Nedad home quickly and easily, thanking each other for a very fun night. 

This was my first night in Chicago and we had a blast. The following days and evening would be spent with a different photographer and I will report back shortly how that went as well.

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