Archive for April, 2013

April 30, 2013

Vision Center after midnight

I’ve often passed this building late at night and considered photographing it, but until last night the cold had been stopping me. It stayed warm after midnight, so I finally had an opportunity. I was wary of a few police cruisers rolling around, but they didn’t turn down this way. You have to imagine they’ll wonder why someone is out taking photos of a random business so late. The answer would be relatively easy: because it’s awesome! I assume this shop is for eyewear and such, but I have no idea. It’s one of the more quaint shops where I live.
Vision Center after midnight
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April 29, 2013

Aloha means…

It kind of makes you wonder what was next door before Aloha arrived, doesn’t it? Is the food at Aloha so good that the next door establishment lost its footing? One thinks of the Beatles in this moment. “You say goodbye, and I say hello.” Aloha Eats apparently eats the competition.
Aloha means...
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April 28, 2013

A train overhead snap

While I was sitting in the little park, the one that I couldn’t tell was private or public, a train suddenly buzzed past. I was set up in a different direction, so I hit the shutter and spun the camera in the direction of the train. There’s a two second delay before it fires for these shots, and that allowed me to get it into position just in time to nab the middle cars going by. It’s a snapshot, technically. I still felt it was worth blogging.
A train overhead snap
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April 27, 2013

The arced horizon (& extras!)

EXTRAS!
What, you ask? What are these extras you speak of?

Well, yes, I’m doing multiple photos today. I’ve been overproducing stuff lately – coming up with a couple or more versions of some of the photos I’m doing, so I’ve decided to share those considerations. After today’s photo you’ll get versions of several others I’ve done recently with some writing on why I did what I did. Win.

TODAY’S PHOTO: THE ARCED HOIRZON
If you’ve been here before (this blog, Neverphoto), you know my love-hate relationship with Fullerton Beach. I’ve decided to love it, because it is spectacular, but I know it’s one of the most photographed places in Chicago. Any photographer falling in love with the obvious is, well, obvious… and not to be trusted! So, trust me less, but know that I do have a concern in the matter in an effort not to be obvious. Trust me more?

The lens I used to shoot this with has a barreling affect, which means it distorts toward the edges of the photo, especially the corners. Think of it as looking down a barrel – those rounded walls as you look down into it – that’s kind of what happens to the photo. Long story short, this creates warped or curved horizons like the one you see in this photo. Normally I fix those things and straighten them out, but here I was enamored with the left edge looking straight and curving the city slightly downward to the right. I like slightly surreal-looking photos. Just slightly. You know, less obvious stuff. In this case it presented a curvature-of-the-earth type look to my eye, so there you go.
The arced horizon
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HERE ARE THE EXTRAS!
Looking away from the crowd

This three-photo grouping is not my favorite I’ve ever done, but I liked the mood I ended up with. After creating the HDR image the red became too intense, so I took the color out and nearly went with the black & white. After some deliberation I felt it needed to go cold, and arrived at a messy, painted look in colorized B&W. I like all three, but the blue version of the B&W felt right for posting. I think maybe I was so dissatisfied by the red HDR version of the original that I attempted to cool it off. Interesting, now that I think about it. The original red photo I started from – the core of the HDR bracket – is the red I’m displaying first:
Looking away from the crowed - red
Looking away from the crowd - B&W
Looking away from the crowd - Blue

Caught between stations
This was originally all about the strange combination of imagery – a city street/massive skyscraper/old city hall/Public art/Jesus/the cross/moving traffic – all at once. Then the man ran down the middle of the street! In the traffic! It was all too odd, and I loved it. He became the focal point, and I made color decisions based on this. At first I used a heavy vignette and flattened the background color to draw the eye to the middle, but then I decided color was distracting the eye in too many directions. I blued the shadows to force energy to the middle even more. The building stood out for me too much, and therefor the color had to go. I had this idea of “man on fire” in my head, so I went with this brownish hue – more toward red. I then cropped in a touch tighter to take away some of the dead elements left on the edges. Voila!
Caught between stations - color
Caught between stations - blue cast
Caught between stations - gold
Caught between stations - final crop

The crisis clock
This is the clock that seals my fate as far as making my late train. It’s a gorgeous white face on a gray body against teal framework and yellow-lit black windows. This all adds up to quite the spectacle, but I found it just as interesting with a few tweaks after turning black & white. The color version made the blog in the end, but I like where the black & white took me after rendering the version published here a handful of days ago.
The crisis clock
The crisis clock - B&W

Human beings (are not disposable)
This, like the crisis clock, deserved two renderings. I’m not sure what I like so much about the color one, but I had to post it here. I think the disparate elements maybe show off well in the color – from the cars’ motion to the man to the signs. I really don’t know. I just had to post the color here. The black and white, though more austere, still conveys something emotional – leaving that closing-in feeling of the city on top of you while perhaps focusing more attention on the motion.
Human beings (are not disposable) - color
Human beings (are not disposable) - B&W

April 26, 2013

Human beings (are not disposable)

There are times where you think you captured something you captured before. This photo certainly references one I’ve recently posted to the blog, but I think it stands on its own. I literally had to put my camera in the street to get it, and then two or three ridiculous moments occurred right after doing so. This is a part of that.
Human beings
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April 25, 2013

Drama fence

The line “it has no personality” makes me cringe. People say things all the time that lack thought, and “that lacks personality” is one of them. Nothing lacks personality. You may not like it. It may lack volume. Someone may think it is boring or basic, but all descriptors are attempts distinguish character. They try to define or manifest something in a subject. If you see nothing, you lack vision. That’s the problem!

Take, for instance, this fence. It’s fairly ordinary. Gray. Washed of its former color. Stark. Dry, rigid and gritty. At first glance it’s any fence. The color of autumn behind it overwhelms it. You could try to say it lacks personality. Maybe you focus on a portion of the fourth definition of the word: distinction or excellence of personal and social traits. How does such narrow tailoring of meaning become such a throwaway thing to say about something? Anything? It’s really strange to me. This fence in it’s gray, washed-out, stark, dry, rigid grittiness cuts the scene. It makes a statement. It builds up the drama. It functions in the photo, and that brings mood to the composition. I like drama in a photo, but not in real life, so I’m sorry to call you out.
Drama fence
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April 24, 2013

A bridge into Gotham City

I watched Batman Begins tonight. It’s probably the tenth time I’ve seen it, I think it’s that good. In fact, I like it better than the more highly-acclaimed The Dark Knight. There are various considerations for that, but there’s only one reason I took this photo; it reminded me of the film. I never thought to add it to the blog, but I went looking for it after watching the movie and decided it works. Director Christopher Nolan got some criticism (mostly from New Yorkers) for choosing Chicago as Gotham. It’s got all the art deco and mix of old with new to get the job done. All you really need is dark and brooding, which you have here. I left it messy and dark for obvious reasons. Even the streaks of light off the bridge had me thinking of that famous spotlight.
A bridge into Gotham City
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April 23, 2013

The crisis clock

I’m normally in a panic when I encounter this clock. Not a personal crisis-type of panic, but a rush to make a train. This is the big clock that hangs over the second floor of the Ogilvie train terminal in the West Loop. It looks kind of small up there, but my guess is that the clock is maybe six feet tall? I’ll have to look at it again tonight to see if that seems right to me. Anyway, I’m in a panic because I’m always arriving just a couple of minutes before my train leaves. I travel at night, and the trains only depart every hour or so, so you don’t want to miss them… and they move their departure location far too often for my liking. You arrive in that walk-run manner, wonder where the heck your train is, locate and RUN! I never miss it. Maybe once.

Because I’m always so hurried I’d never stopped to shoot the clock before. Last night I entered the building with ten minutes to spare. After buying a ticket, I slyly positioned myself centrally in the station to grab this photo. I’m really happy with how it turned out! The security guards even ignored me, so for once I wasn’t hurried nor harried in the making of one of my photos. Perfect.
The crisis clock
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April 22, 2013

Chapel ceiling through the window

This ruined abbey had a chapel tucked back into a section most people were ignoring, but it was very cool to look at. I went around the corner to shoot through this window, and because I didn’t have a tripod to steady my camera I had to balance my little point-and-shoot on the the stone window ledge. That leaves the base of the window in frame, but it also gives you a sense of the scale. If I remember correctly, the window is about four or five feet high, and the ceiling stretches about 20 feet up overhead. I’m probably wrong, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be going back to measure any time soon. I was more interested in the subtle coloring in the stone – the green and the orange – so, I embellished them.
Chapel ceiling through the window
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April 21, 2013

The Hancock in the purple

It’s back to the beach as I continue to unload the remainder of the photos I took at Fullerton Beach. I think there are only two or three left now, and originally the plan was to share maybe two… or three. I’m not sure how many I’ve posted now, but it’s probably a week’s worth of images. This came just moments before sunrise but after first light had colored a little bit of purple into the sky around the city. I had to tweak this so it would come across the right way. Tweaking is good in photography.
The Hancock in the purple
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