Posts tagged ‘skyscrapers’

June 18, 2014

You’d never understand

I’m still obsessed with photographing the sky. It’s not a phase. Usually I control myself, but lately a few good ones have floated my way. A good sky isn’t good because it makes you feel something; it’s good because it’s got you feeling nothing. It leaves you sensing your irrelevance. That’s a good sky, one that flirts with total abandonment. A good sky literally grabs you and shakes you (a few times in the best-case scenario) and then stops at once to give you the Mona Lisa – a look of contented uninhabitence, to manufacture a word. It knows you’d never understand. It’s vast and full and empty and changing, and if there’s a miniature plane mutely numbing through it, all the better.
You'd never understand
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September 25, 2013

Paradox towers

This is just my 17th post since breaking my leg back on June 19th. I’d like to believe that it was the injury that stopped my post-a-day routine that ended at something like 378 straight days, but that isn’t the case. Yes, breaking my right fibula in two places drastically reduced my ability to carry a camera backpack for approximately seven or eight weeks, but I could have made things work with different kinds of shoots to fill up the space around here. No, the real reason I posted just sixteen times over roughly three months was I was burned out again – but in a different way than before.

I wrote a few times about how this past winter developed in me a creative block that challenged my ability to post a photo every single day. It came in January and really became near-debilitating in February. There were a few times that I wondered if I’d have to quit somewhere along the path to producing my 365 days of photos. Things worked out, but it really stretched me at times. This latest “burn out” that actually ground me to a halt, however, was more about thinking about what I was doing and what I needed to do moving forward. I got wrapped up in shooting for clients, including a wedding, a reunion event and booking a couple of others as well, and the business of photography became more of the focus than the creativity of photography. I was no longer allowing myself to think creatively on the average day as I was constantly figuring out how to merge schedules and mix in opportunities. Focusing attention on development became more important for a time.

I think I’m starting to learn to balance the two and it’s a tricky concoction of a-little-of-this and a-lot-of-that. Hopefully it means I get back to posting images regularly again. That’s the most fun in all of this – sharing what you’re doing as you do it. I like that I’m picking up more and more photography opportunities at the same time. Things are kind of syncing up as needed. So, today’s image is three buildings that are seemingly out of sync despite the fact that they are identical to one another and part of the same complex. I love paradox.
Paradox towers
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June 6, 2013

Up at towers

After posting the sad scene of the homeless man sleeping in a bus stop yesterday I wanted to do something more uplifting for today. I don’t like looking up at the buildings during the day, because normally the ceiling isn’t very good for photography. Also, who wants to look like a tourist? At night you can literally lay down and shoot between the buildings, and the right grouping can give you pretty stunning results.
Up at towers
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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 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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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 17, 2013

Private park vertical

This is the vertical view from a little park on the west edge of The Loop. It’s a funny little place, because it might be private, but you can’t tell. There are no signs up saying you’re not welcome, but nobody walks through it. There were maybe four others in this little quarter-block part of the city. I saw at least three or four other good shots while lining this one up, but I decided that the nature of the place suggested to be discrete. I kind of stayed to the side, pointed my lens up a few times and snapped away for ten minutes.
Private park vertical
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April 13, 2013

Different angle, same subject

When I first entered onto this little strip of Milwaukee Avenue my attention centered on these utility trucks parked along the curb and how much they leaned into the gutter. I put together all of my initial shots crooked, like this one. Eventually I went with more traditional compositions, and a few of those were added to the blog in recent weeks. I remember I was often like that in school. I’d get an assignment, find a way of doing it that kind of applied in an off-centered way, then went about fitting it into the class as perhaps others might find it acceptable. It’s like reverse editing. Look at it warped, make it acceptable.

I’ve come back to this one, my initial point of interest, and twisted it left and right, added blur, taken the blur away, untwisted, shaken and stirred. The only thing I like about it is what initially drew me to it – that it needed to feel bent. So it is. I may have allowed the other shots to fall into some kind of standardized slant, but lean this one must.
Different angle, same subject
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April 4, 2013

Shadow light

One of my favorite things about big cities has nothing to do with the hustle and bustle or even the stature and grandeur. It’s about time of day and place. Around midday, despite the presence of a high sun, you can find all sorts of whacky shadows created by the relationship of buildings to one another. Some block the sun, some reflect it and some do both simultaneously. In this case, the building in front of me casts a shadow that partly covers the street. The building to my left and behind me is a mirror wall reflecting sunlight back down at the street and the shadow-making building. The result is a jungle-like application of light and dark spots acting like an urban camouflage. Everything in these pools of high contrasts becomes difficult to see.
Shadow light
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March 27, 2013

Reflective black box

These black box buildings spread throughout Chicago, but they’re especially common in the downtown area. Every few blocks you can spot one up the street. I guess they were controversial when the first few started going in several decades ago, but they’ve kind of proved their worth. When the lighting is right and the nearby skyscrapers reflect in them – that’s when they shine brightest to me.
Reflective black box
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