So it just now occurred to me that I took a huge number of photos on a trip to Chicago a few years back, and somehow neglected to get more than a handful out on the internet to date.

That being said, here’s a shot I took of a Chicago sunrise, partially reflected in the Cloud Gate sculpture (a.k.a. “the bean”) in Millennium Park:


For those interested in visiting, I’ll be writing up a post in the next week or so with tips on photography of and with Cloud Gate; as public sculpture goes, it’s a particularly fun object to work with photographically.

Enter the Bean

I almost titled this one “Self-portrait of Tripod,” given that I made this shot on self-timer so I wouldn’t be in it.  As a result, though, you can see over a dozen reflections of my camera on its tripod.

Enter the Bean

The reflector in this case is, of course, the “Cloud Gate” sculpture (a.k.a. “The Bean”) in Chicago’s Millennium Park.  This is taken from under the middle of it (officially called the omphalos, Greek for “navel”).  You can also get distorted shots of the weather and local architecture by using Cloud Gate’s exterior reflections.

Loads of fun, but you need to get there early unless you want to make photographs with lots of people in them.  Remind me to do a full writeup on photography of / with The Bean some day…

Dark little forest

When we stopped at the Chicago Botanic Garden on our recent trip to the windy city, we found they had a whole courtyard devoted to bonsai trees.  Better still, the trees were displayed with frosted glass backings — making for some really nice photo compositions.

In this particular case, the glass could have been a bit taller.  But I’d never been to Chicago before, and have no plans to return anytime soon, so I wasn’t about to be fussy.  A bit of work in PS Elements, and the size of the frosted glass became immaterial.

Personally, though, I prefer the silhouette / monochrome version.  Gives it a nice, crisp look, don’t you think?

If you’re curious, this tiny forest is a Sawara False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’).

Plein air

On our recent trip to Chicago, we did our usual tour of the local botanic gardens (one of the benefits of being married to a garden-loving woman).  While wandering through the Chicago Botanic Garden, I spotted an in-progress plein air watercolor:

Plein air

Sadly, the artist was nowhere to be found, so I couldn’t chat with them.  Just the same, I liked this composition…

Waiting for breakfast to come along…

We managed to sneak away for a few days’ vacation this past holiday (in the U.S.) weekend — for its cultural amenities, we chose Chicago. But this little guy (gal?) was just waiting for breakfast outside our hotel room window our first morning in town:

Waiting for breakfast to come along...

It must have been a good judge of real estate, as its web was littered with the remains of past meals. I thought the local buildings made a nice colorful backdrop (not too cluttered, though, when you put them out of focus):

Waiting for breakfast (redux)

If you’re working on your own case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), I took these with an Olympus E-M5 camera equipped with a Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm lens. A potent combination, if you ask me…