Actually, I shot this photo on August 9th, not today.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Camera: Samsung Moment (SPH-M900)

The main reason I wanted to post this photo (other than it being a truly stunning view) is as proof that the best camera is the one you happen to have with you when a moment like this arrives. Could I have shot this view “better” with my DSLR or one of my fancy film cameras? Probably…but I didn’t have any of them with me when I saw this (I was at work…a catering job, so I don’t much get the opportunity to carry around my camera pack), and I did have my phone in my pocket (no, I don’t use the phone itself while I’m working…I keep the network turned off, but I keep it in my pocket for the clock). Granted, if I had brought my DSLR with me, I could’ve gone and fetched it, but that would’ve taken me several minutes…and this view only lasted for about five minutes before the sun slid below the clouds and horizon. So, I shot the photo with what I had.

I did adjust the photo a little in post-processing, but mostly, this was to adjust contrast a little. I didn’t actually have to adjust the colors much, as they were pretty spectacular already…limited though it is, the camera on my phone does tend to capture color pretty well. I also cropped the photo to square format…just because.

Enjoy.

Why yes, I do have more photos to share!

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Lincoln Park
Camera: Zeca Bettax
Lens: Schneider-Kreuznach 105mm f/4.5 Radionar
Film: Kodak TMax 100 (120)

The subject of the first photo is the Century Theater on Clark Street just north of Diversey. My AIA Guide to Chicago does not contain any information about this building, but I did find the following website with some information about the theater’s history. As noted on the website, the original interior no longer exists, and the shopping center that now takes its place is also rather uninspiring; the one time I went inside, I was rather unimpressed by the design, and the fact that many of the shops were vacant.

I also don’t know anything about the building in the second photo; all I know is that it now houses, as you can see, a Starbucks. Yup…they’re everywhere. One interesting matter though, is that in the older neighborhoods of the city, this is a fairly common sight, not just for Starbucks, but also for a number of other chain restaurants / retailers that would otherwise stick to standardized designs for their various locations. I like the fact that in the older neighborhoods, places such as this tend to be a little less obtrusive, and a little more respectful of the existing buildings they inhabit.

The subject of the third photo is a lantern on the bridge over the entrance / exit for Diversey Harbor. The bridge and particularly this lantern (there are four total, one at each corner of the bridge) have a vaguely Art Deco appearance to them, which is why I wanted to photograph them.

Enjoy!

See? I told you I’ve got more photos to post!

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ZecaBettax CHI TMax100 TheRookery01B

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Photo Information:

Camera: Zeca Bettax
Lens: Schneider-Kreuznach 105mm f/4.5 Radionar
Film: Kodak TMax 100

Photo 1:
Location: Chicago, Illinois; Near West Side

Hey look…a concrete factory! I have mentioned before how much I like industrial settings, right?

Photo 2:
Location: Chicago, Illinois; Chicago Loop

This is the Rookery (designed by Burnham & Root and completed in 1888; it has also been renovated a number of times since its completion) at the southeast corner of LaSalle and Adams. As impressive as the outside is, the light court in the center of the building is the real attraction of the building; I’ll have to get in there one of these days with faster film to shoot it.

Photo 3:
Location: Chicago, Illinois; Chicago Loop

This fine looking building is the Washington Block (designed by Frederick & Edward Baumann and completed in 1874) at the southwest corner of Wells & Washington. You can see part of the Loop elevated tracks in the upper left-hand corner of the photo. And yes, I did shoot this photo from the mdidle of the street…but don’t worry; I timed the traffic so that I could do this with relatively little risk of harm.

Enjoy!

Okay, so I’m really, really going to try to make some progress with that massive backlog of negatives I still have yet to scan from last year. There’s also the small matter of the rolls of film I need to process from earlier this year, too, but I’ll get to those…eventually. I hope. On that note, here are some of those photos.

ZecaBettax CHI TMax100 BarbedWire01B

ZecaBettax CHI TMax100 BudweiserSign01B

ZecaBettax CHI TMax100 LoadingDock01B

Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Near West Side
Camera: Zeca Bettax
Lens: Schneider-Kreuznach 105mm f/4.5 Radionar
Film: Kodak TMax 100 (120)

Photo 1:
Hey look…barbed wire. Actually, it’s barbed and razor wire…fun, right?

Photo 2:
Hand-painted sign for G&Z Restaurant & Bar; those of y’all who’ve been reading these posts long enough will know of my fixation on hand-painted signage. Those of y’all who don’t? I like ’em. They’re examples of a dying art form, and those that remain are slowly fading into obscurity. It’s impressive and depressing at the same time.

Photo 3:
Yup, a loading dock…and a fire escape. I love old masonry structures, and I really loved the interplay of shadows and shapes in this photo.

More will follow, I promise. Enjoy!

Yes, I know…I’m finally getting around to posting the last of my fireworks photos. It sure is a good thing I don’t do this for money, because I don’t know that I’d ever get paid on anything like a regular schedule! Okay, okay…to be fair, if I were getting paid, I’d have more incentive to actually get things done on time, so there’s that. Anyways, enjoy the last of the shots. Til next year, that is.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Lincoln Park
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX

Enjoy!

Yup…more photos of the fireworks show in Lincoln Park.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Lincoln Park
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX

Enjoy!

So, as I mentioned previously, after the official fireworks show at Navy Pier concluded, the neighborhood show in Lincoln Park started up. Since I was sitting at the tip of northern end of the Belmont Harbor breakwater, the Lincoln Park show was much, much closer – just based on what I could see of it, I suspect it was staged somewhere near the Lincoln Park Zoo. Anyways, here are the first of the photos I shot of that show.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Lincoln Park
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX

You’ll have to excuse the people standing in the bottom of the shots; they didn’t know they were being photographed, and I suspect they (like I) were surprised by the startup of the Lincoln Park show…the standing guy had originally gotten up to go, and stayed to watch after the show started. It’s also a bit of my own fault; I didn’t know that the show in Lincoln Park was going to start up, so while I chose my shooting location to have an unobstructed line of sight to the show at Navy Pier, when I turned my camera towards Lincoln Park (which was slightly southwest of where I was sitting), I was facing the backs of some folks who were sitting further south of where I was.

Note also that these photos, unlike the Navy Pier ones, were shot with my 35mm normal lens, not the long telephoto lens I was using to shoot the Navy Pier show. This is a good example of why it’s a good idea to carry a selection of lenses. Not knowing that the Lincoln Park show was going to start up, I could very easily have just carried my 300mm telephoto lens and no other (lord knows that lens alone is very weighty), but then, I would not have been prepared to shoot the Lincoln Park show. As it was, I actually had pretty much my entire lineup of lenses along for the ride (including my wideangle lens – that got no use at all – and two other, shorter telephoto lenses; I was fair sure I’d need the 300mm, but I brought the shorter ones in case I wanted wider shots of the fireworks and Navy Pier)…so, as you can imagine, along with my 2L Camelbak bladder and 10-lb tripod, I had a pretty hefty pack to shoulder…on a night when it was 95 degrees and humid. Yes, I know…I’m crazy. But hey, OTOH…fireworks!

Enjoy.

Yes, I know…my ability to post stuff here on anything resembling a normal schedule really, really, really sucks. Sorry about that, y’all. Anyways, here are photos of the finale of the official Chicago fireworks show on July 4th.

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Navy Pier
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/4

Impressive show, wasn’t it?

Oddly enough, the fireworks show in Lincoln Park – which started after the official show (and was also much, much closer to where I was sitting) was nearly as impressive. I’ll (hopefully) get around to editing and posting those photos soon.

Enjoy.

Oh yes, I have more fireworks photos for y’all!

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Navy Pier
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/4

As for how I shot these photos, well…first and foremost, you need a tripod, there’s just no other way to do this. Not only is this night shooting (and over long time periods, but I’ll get to that later), I was also shooting with a large, unwieldy telephoto lens; don’t get me wrong…I love the lens for what it allows me to do, but it’s damn near impossible to hand-hold; luckily, the lens has its own built-in tripod mounting point (the lens itself is heavier than the camera it was attached to, so you need to support the weight of the lens, not the camera). I kept the lens aperture set at f/16 or f/22 – it’s difficult to determine critical focus at night and at a distance, and even more so when your subject doesn’t appear for very long; the small aperture gives you maximum depth-of-field, and greater likelihood that if your critical focus point is slightly off, it won’t matter so much for the final results. I used the ‘B’ or Bulb setting for the shutter speed, and just counted off 5, 10, or 15 second exposures; naturally, this means that you’re basically hoping for the best with each shot. The subject being fireworks, however, it’s impossible to predict what the shots will look like beforehand, so you just have to cross your fingers and hope they turn out. During the more active portions of the show, I didn’t stop to check the results of each shot, and just kept sequentially shooting until the show ended.

Enjoy!

Okay, so it appears my plan to post more frequently has gotten slightly derailed. Again. Sorry, folks…unfortunately, the two paying jobs I have are not photography-related, and well. They pay the bills, so I suppose I should focus my efforts there…which leaves my poor blog languishing without my loving attention. If it makes y’all feel any better, I’m not particularly happy about this, but hey…gotta do what ya gotta do, right? Anyways, to make up for it, here are some festive images for your viewing pleasure. That’ll make up for my lack of attention here, right?

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Photo Information:

Location: Chicago, Illinois; Navy Pier
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/4

And yes, for those of y’all who were following the news of the heat wave that hit the Midwest and other areas right around the time, it was a balmy 95 degrees when I shot these photos (around 9pm, mind you). I made sure to bring my 2L Camelbak bladder with me, so I was well hydrated for the show (hey, I’m crazy…not stupid).

As for the photos themselves, I shot these from the northern end of Belmont Harbor (check it out on Google Earth…you’ll be able to figure out where I was sitting). For those of y’all who are familiar with Chicago geography (and those of y’all who, y’know…can check out a map), you’ll note that Belmont Harbor is a few miles north of Navy Pier – hence my decision to lug my 300mm telephoto lens. And my heavy, but dependable, Manfrotto tripod. The result? While I couldn’t hear the fireworks, I sure could see ’em pretty well…much better than the folks who were sitting behind me and spent half the show trying to figure out how to make their (presumably) point-and-shoot camera 1) autofocus on the fireworks (yes, I know how silly that sounds…but that’s what they were trying to do), and 2) turn off the flash (or turn it on…I’m not sure if I heard that part correctly, since I was paying more attention to what I was shooting).

In case you’re wondering about the proper technique for shooting fireworks, I’ll mention that in a later post (don’t worry…it’ll follow relatively soon…ish – I’ve already edited a number of shots from the show, so I have some to share for the next couple days).

Enjoy!