Cloud Gate, 13 November 2011


Fair sure I’ve posted photos of the underside of the Cloud Gate in Millennium Park before, but I’m too lazy to find the post and link to it…it would’ve been a while ago, anyways, so here are some new shots!

FM2 CHI TMax100 CloudGateUnder01B

FM2 CHI TMax100 CloudGateUnder02B

FM2 CHI TMax100 CloudGateUnder03B

Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Chicago Loop
Camera: Nikon FM-2
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 (Photos 1 & 3); 28mm f/2.8 (Photo 2)
Film: Kodak TMax 100 (135)

I shot these photos the day after the Great Blizzard back in February, so that’s why you can see a bit of snow on the ground reflected in the shiny metal underside of the Blob. Also of note: you can see me in these reflections…I know, such a rare occurrence! You can’t easily see me in the first photo, but in photos 2 & 3, I’m the guy in the lower left corner…yup, the guy who looks like he’s steadying himself while taking a photo – makes sense, right? Of course, even if you could see any details, you wouldn’t have much of an idea of what I look like, anyways – the “high” that day topped out around NINE DEGREES, so I was pretty well bundled up for the six hour walk I took around the Loop (for the record, I was wearing two shirts, a sweater, a heavy wool coat, ski mask, hat, jeans, two pairs of gloves, and two pairs of socks inside my insulated boots – and I was still freezing). OTOH, I was one of the few people in Millennium Park that day (or anywhere outside, for that matter), so it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it usually gets. That, and I got photographed by a Chicago Tribune photographer and made it into the Tribune slideshow for the blizzard (skip to image 30…that’s me).

Regarding the photos, I had considered taking out my Dad’s Canon AE-1 Program, as I always enjoy shooting with that camera, but I was concerned that the cold might adversely affect its batteries – the AE-1 Program has an electronically-timed shutter, so if the batteries fail, the camera is rendered inoperable. By contrast, my FM-2 is completely mechanical (the batteries only power the built-in light meter), so the worst that would happen is that I would have to estimate the exposure values; Nikon also engineered their older mechanical cameras to very exacting specifications, and the camera is supposedly able to reliably operate in temperatures from -40°C to +50°C – well outside the range of temperatures I would ever encounter! You’ll also note that  was shooting with prime lenses for all three photos – I’ve mentioned my preference for them before, and this is a good example of why they were helpful. The underside of the Cloud Gate is always relatively dark, even on sunny days, so shooting photos of the underside (without a flash) can be problematic – and was, with some of my older digital cameras that had variable maximum apertures. The f/2.8 wideangle lens isn’t much better than the f/3.5 or f/4 I usually got with my digital cameras, but that f/1.2 lens really does give me a much wider range of shutter speeds in tough lighting conditions.



2 Responses to “Cloud Gate, 13 November 2011”

  1. Awesome! I love images that make me look for ages before I can actually work out what it is

  2. I love these images. Black and white is perfect for them and just like abstracts, making me keep looking and following every line. Wonderful!

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