Archive for May, 2013

May 31, 2013

Stairway to Wabash

The Chicagoan would look at this and say those buildings are on Wacker, but the stairs just up the way go ahead to Wabash before it crosses the river over the Wacker side. There’s this empty strip along the side of the Trump Tower that isn’t a very good space for taking photos. I’ve checked it out a few times and nothing’s ever materialized, but I do like stopping in my tracks and looking back where I’ve come from. In this case it’s a nice, jumbled view of The Loop area. I’m into strange lines and compositions, as though who visit here frequently have probably found out over time.
Stairway to Wabash
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May 30, 2013

The lights are out

It’s down to two weeks. I’m at 351 straight days of posting a photo a day, and it’s finally getting to me. I feel a complete lack of creativity, everything seems enigmatic. Maybe it’s that I’ve slept 14 hours total for the past three days. There was a time on this blog where I was thinking I’d make this a kind of photo diary where I’d post what I slept, ate and exercised in a given day to see if there would be some kind of correlation to how I felt and what I posted. Now I think that’s an entirely horrible idea. Part of the problem would be that I didn’t always post photos on the same day I made them. Today I did. OK, so maybe in list form?

THURSDAY
Slept: 4.5 hours
Breakfast: Toast
Lunch: Ham & Cheese
Dinner: Pizza / broccoli (had trouble remembering this, probably due to lack of sleep)
Exercise: None

That’s kind of a morbid little concoction. Anyway, I’m really tired and unimpressed with myself of late. When I was composing this shot a guy walked through from left to right and apologized. I was so empty for something clever to say I told him it was OK, because this was his good side. Three-hundred, fifty-one days saps your creativity at times. The traffic light wasn’t operating.
The lights are out
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May 29, 2013

Shuffling up to the arriving train

I tried a few different photos for today. None of them came together. I went back and looked at what I had already produced, and I don’t think this one has yet appeared in this space. This is one of the better L stop locations in downtown Chicago. The people were dead still when I clicked, but on the tripod I use a two-second delay, so they shuffled up toward the train. The end result gave the image more motion and made it feel more alive, so I made no adjustments. This is a pretty old photo by this blog’s standards. I think my style or approach has changed a bit since.
Shuffling up to the arriving train
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May 28, 2013

Adams crevice

One of my favorite aspects of a big city are the little views of big things. So often you cannot see the expanse of the city, because you are tucked away up some street. Adams is one of the better streets for this sort of thing. Just duck in on any crossing street a few dozen feet and look up, and you might find one of the world’s tallest buildings looking after you.
Adams crevice
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May 27, 2013

Gulls on the wings

This was a winter shot that I struggled to get done until the other night. I was never sure of how I wanted to do the sky, which is silly, because it is almost stark white, or gray, straight out of the camera. It was an issue with one little splotchy gray cloud that was affecting the fundamental look of the photo which I eventually decided to take out with an all-white sky. My hands were numb, and I had to keep the camera as steady as possible by leaning it against my car. In a perfect world I’d want to get those winged light standards a little closer together by getting the camera up higher, but I like this… and it isn’t a perfect world.

Gulls on the wings
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May 26, 2013

After a light rain

It rained tonight in just the right way. When it is still and spitting for just long enough to leave droplets all over the leaves at near-dusk, that’s when the leaves hold the water really well. You get good, gentle shadows and the light isn’t harsh in the shade. This is the center of a hosta plant, though I don’t know the subspecies.
After a light rain
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May 25, 2013

What to say about a warehouse door

I’ve disliked most of what I’ve written lately. Words used to be very important to me, but at some point images became more important, or maybe they were always most important. I remember “reading” Sports Illustrated as a kid. Actually, I looked at the photos and read the captions more often than I read the articles. It was kind of important to me to see how the caption associated with the image. Did it work? Did I need to read the article (or much of the article) after just looking at the photos and blurbs below them?

Sometimes, when I’m writing this blog, I kind of think of my commentary as those captions. Rather than explain the image, however, I’d like them to help find a meaning or something stronger I’d wish to convey in the photo. Then I feel like I’m cheating, or cheating the image. Maybe they should always just stand up on their own? If words are cheap, am I cheapening the value of the photograph? I’d like to think not, but when you’re trying to explain how there is this beautiful decay in the organization of repeating values about an old warehouse door, you feel kind of stupid.
What to say about a warehouse door
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May 24, 2013

Left-centered Wrigley

I’ve been unable to watch as much baseball as I’d like this season. It’s weird not doing something you love. Here’s a shot of Wrigley Field from late last season. I pushed it way to the left field side in order to catch the lights spilling off the standards on top of the stadium. Almost every shot you can take of Wrigley is interesting. It’s quaint and colorful.
Left-centered Wrigley
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May 23, 2013

The other way up Canal

Though I normally don’t post two photos from the same location on back-to-back days, this is a rare exception. Yesterday I made a photo looking in the opposite direction from this same position. On my way back through the intersection at night, I decided to see how the backdrop worked at that hour. It didn’t, but my gear was out and looking north on Canal is a good thing to do. The arc of this overhang against the buildings works in nice contrast against the architecture. I’ve seen a couple of photographers shooting it in the past, and it would work in an abstract way in the daylight. I might go back to get that one.

One other note – I’m always surprised that police don’t hack locks off of bicycles chained to street signs.
The other way up Canal
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May 22, 2013

Stumbling on Canal Street

I’ve been here before, tried this before, failed at this before. This is a tricky intersection. There are lots of ways to go with it, and previously I was setting up for it to be a vertical shot. In the end it needed to be more of a landscape, and it also required a guy hailing a cab… and failing miserably at that. I think he crossed over to the far side of the street and tried a few times over there. I tried that side once, too. For me, it finally worked out with this one.
Stumbling on Canal Street
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