Chicago – 2008

In 2008 we had a short visit to the middle of Illinois. While there, Melisa had the opportunity to go see a play in Chicago, a 3.5 hours drive from where we were. The play was Jersey Boys, the plan was to head up to Chicago, see the play, and get back down where we were staying.

I had no interest in the play, and since she was going with her sister, I suggested they just drop me off at the Millennium Park. Well, not just me . . . me and my camera, both.

And so it was I got these photos.

One of the first things I saw was the Crown Fountain.


These are big interactive fountains set in shallow tapered pools. The big murals offer changing faces with various expressions. As can be seen, the water feature is enjoyed by all sorts of people.


Where is the fountain, you ask?


Of course, it’s not just older people who enjoy the water.


Next, I saw this plant. I thought it was neat . . .


I have no clue what it is.

But what I had really come to see was The Bean.


10854_MISC_091908_2-2_DIGIThey call it The Bean, but it’s actually the Cloud Gate. Here’s the Wiki excerpt for them too lazy to click on the link:

Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, that is the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed The Bean because of its bean-like shape. Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, it’s highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It measures 33 by 66 by 42 feet (10 by 20 by 13 m) and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long tons).

It is a visually striking piece; one that keeps drawing one’s eye—and one’s camera—to it.



By the way, the early afternoon sun reflects from it something fierce. A difficult thing to photograph. I did the best I could.

People seem to like getting under it, in part because of the crazy reflections. I did not get under there with the camera because it was both crowded and difficult to photograph from up-close.



I think that now I could photograph the underside either with my 10-20mm or my Samsung. Of course, I’d have to mingle with people to do so . . . I think I’ll pass. If you want to see what it looks like under there, plan a trip.

I managed to hide myself in the reflection for most of the photos, but these next two are likely my very first selfies . . .



I really like this next photo, but wished I had left more room below the pigeon.


This is a bit more of a close-up . . .


. . . and this shows you where I took those two photos from . . .


By the way, for them interested in architecture, and specifically Chicago architecture, then you should read THIS, and THIS, and THIS.

FYI, that site has architecture guides to a number of cities around the world. She’s also involved in THIS which might be of interest to travelers.

I should mention something else . . . all of these photos were snapped with my trusty Nikon D100. Honest, that camera was, and still is, very good in the right conditions.

If I could, I would take the resolution and low-light performance of the D7000, add to it the burst speed and buffer of the D200, and finish up with the color engine of the D100.


That’s part of the Jay Pritzker Pavillion . . . I had more photos of it, but they are not currently loaded on my computer. That means at one time I thought they were crap and got rid of them. Of course, with new post-processing technology one can even make crap look good. Still, not motivated enough to go dig them out.


I walked around a bit more looking at a few sculptures . . .



. . . and one more shot of The Bean . . .


. . . before crossing the BP Pedestrian Bridge and making my way to the lakeshore. I had photos of it, too, but probably not good enough to keep. The bridge is best viewed from the air, and one can find plenty of aerial views of it online.



I might have mentioned before that I like marinas, boats, and the idea, if not the actual experience, of sailing open waters.

However, the destination was not the marina per se, but the Navy Pier.

The above photos, like this next photo, were shot on the way to the pier.


So . . . Navy Pier . . . here’s a few approach photos.






Surprisingly, the place was not very crowded . . . a joy, that.


It’s nice to see adults remembering what it’s like being a kid again.

Were it not for my suspicious engineering nature, my understanding of kinetic energy, my awareness of fatigue failures, why, I might have considered taking a spin.


A tad safer, and also not crowded, the Ferris wheel is another option, but I was on a schedule. I settled for photos.

The glass enclosure houses plants that would not survive the Chicago winters . . .


They also had water features that always capture my attention . . . arching streams of water that shoot from one flower bed to another.



Back outside, more photo opportunities . . .



Very colorful places and prime targets from creative post-processing . . . probably for a different post.



The darkening of the sky tells me I probably had my polarizing filter on the lens, something I should get back to using more often.

No, nothing political; an actual filter.

Here’s a couple of ‘artistic’ shots . . . or what passes for artistic on this blog.



I did walk through the buildings, and there were interesting displays I would have gladly spent time examining, but I was on the clock and did not have long before heading back and meeting my soulmate at The Bean.

I did take the time to shoot the lighthouse and a tour boat under full sail.




The above and the next two were shot from the end of the pier.



On the way back I shot a couple of more ‘evocative’ photos. They evoke a Ferris wheel.



On the way back to the rendezvous point, I lingered a bit at the marina for some late-light shots.




In case anyone wants to know where the Columbia Yacht Club resides . . . 


Probably my favorite boat photos from that stroll are these two:



. . . especially the first shot which reminds me of something one might see in the harbor of a small coastal town as opposed to a marina in Chicago. For them who did not notice, that’s the Adler Planetarium in the background.

Back at The Bean I met up with the love of my life and we walked around a bit. The sun was no longer high enough to hit The Bean, but it still kissed the sides of the surrounding buildings.




These lighting conditions pushed the capability of the D100. I loved the camera, but a low-light shooter it was not.

However, my post-processing tools are much better now, so I can show these shots with reasonable quality. For whatever reason, the park, plaza, and surrounding area now had more people enjoying the place.



We wanted to leave before it got dark, so I stole a few more shots of the Bean, and then we left.




As usual, dear reader, you can click on any of the photos to open them in a separate tab or window with the largest side at 1280pixels. If you want to see the original-sized photos, they are in the SmugMug Gallery HERE.

The gallery contains a few additional photos. Be aware the originals are not that much larger since the D100 was only a 6MP camera . . . less than the resolution of the camera on my phone.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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