Chicago with a 50

Second time to Chicago in a month, all on the company’s tab.  Last trip was only 3 nights and I was in the burbs so there was not much of a chance to get out and see the town.  This trip had me staying right in the heart of downtown, so I packed with just enough room to squeeze in a camera body and 50mm lens.  I knew I would want something wider, but my wide zoom is a lot softer than the 50, and with no tripod I knew I would want the faster glass that my 50 offers.

While I didn’t have an abundant amount of time to get out, I made the most of my free time and got out 4 of the 5 nights I was there.  My goal was to get some decent bracketed shots for converting to HDR.  Getting good shots would prove a bit tougher than normal without a tripod at my disposal, but some steady holding, and well placed stationary objects helped accomplish the task.  Even with some slight movement between frames the HDR software handles registering the images seamless.

One of the shots in my mind when I got there was to shoot the downtown skyline along the Chicago river.  My initial thought was to shoot from one of the bridges over the river but my plans changed after finding how much the bridges move with the passing traffic, and how limited I was on angle of view with the 50mm lens.  I finally came to a point at the corner of Clark and Whacker shooting back toward Lake Michigan.  The river makes a jog at State St before continuing on, which allowed me to compose an interesting row of buildings.

With such grand architecture all around a wider prime lens would have been ideal.   I felt very limited with the 50mm but at the same time I was happy with the sharp high contrast shots i was getting.

Cloud Gate is one of my favorite art pieces in Chicago.  I was completely unaware that the sculpture was completed in 2005, thinking it had been a centerpiece of Millennium Park for much longer.  Weighing 110 tons and 66 feet long and 33 feet high, the polished mirror surface gives a brilliant reflection of the surrounding city skyline.

Crown Fountain offers another fantastic attraction.  Two 50 foot glass block towers opposing one another stand amidst a shallow reflection pool.  The towers display video images of local Chicago people while water pours over the top edge of the adjoining sides.  At various times and synchronized with the video a water outlet spouts water from the persons mouth giving a very interesting illusion.


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