City By The Lake, 27 February 2011


The most easily-recognizable defining characteristic of Chicago’s geography is without doubt the relationship between the city and Lake Michigan on the east. Thankfully, there are also a number of publicly accessible locations along the Lake shore that allow any and all Chicagoans to appreciate that relationship.

KodakDuaflexIV CHI Acros100 CityByTheLake01B

Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Uptown Neighborhood (Lincoln Park)
Camera: Kodak Duaflex IV
Lens: Integral Kodak Kodar 72mm f/8
Film: Fuji Neopan Acros 100 (120 respooled onto 620)

The most extensive area from which to appreciate the Lake shore is from within Lincoln Park, which stretches along the north side shoreline of Lake Michigan from Ohio street in the south (600 N) to Ardmore Avenue in the north (5800 N) – roughly 52 blocks, or a little over seven miles [1] along Lake Michigan. This encompasses more than half of the 70 blocks that make up Chicago’s North Side. [2]

This photo also serves to illustrate some of the drawbacks of the Duaflex camera: while it isn’t poorly made or designed, it is also not held to the highest standards, either. As mentioned above, the lens has a maximum aperture of f/8, which would all but guarantee that regardless of the focus setting of the lens, all of the image would be in crisp focus. It appears, however, that the lens is not of very high quality; I shot this photo at f/11 with the focus set to infinity (which is a pretty well idiot-proof means of capturing a distant object in focus). Despite this, the city skyline (which, from where I shot this photo is by far more distant than the “infinity” setting of the lens, ~20 feet) is not in crisp focus; one can make out individual buildings, but not much else. Even so, I’d much rather use this camera than a toy like a Holga or some other cheap plastic POS like that…but that’s a topic of discussion for a later time.

BTW, in case you’re wondering where the title of this post came from, it’s a line from the Smashing Pumpkins song, Tonight, Tonight, one of my favorite SP songs. I’m not entirely sure what the song is about, but given that Billy Corgan is from the Chicago area (Elk Grove Village, which is near O’Hare Airport), it’s likely that the line itself is a reference to Chicago.


[1]: Generally, one mile is equivalent to seven Chicago blocks. Obviously, there are exceptions, but most of the blocks are uniform in size: each block has 25 lots per long side, each of which is 25 feet wide; this adds up to 625 feet; adding in sidewalks, street widths, and alleys, the long side each block can easily add up to 1/7th of a mile or approximately 754 feet. Each block is also approximately half as wide as it is long, so two “short” blocks adds up to a full block length. As such, 52 / 7 = 7.43 miles.

[2]: The North Side of Chicago stretches from the northern edge of River North (which is generally still considered part of downtown) at Oak (1000 N) all the way to Howard in the north (8000 N). In case you haven’t yet figured it out, the first two digits in these coordinate numbers indicates the block number as measured from the “center” of Chicago at State and Madison, which is 0 N/S and 0 E/W, while the two trailing numbers indicate the relative location of the address within the block (i.e. 1250 N is 12 blocks north of State & Madison (Division), and the buidling itself is at the roughly midpoint the block).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: