At the Chicago lakeshore

Ice cream on the lakeshore
Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
2021

Margaret and I spent a long weekend in Chicago not long ago. It was our first stay in a hotel since the pandemic began. But we hardly spent time in the hotel; we walked all over the Loop and up to Navy Pier, and out to Lake Michigan. We spent a lot of time at the lake on this trip.

I brought my Nikon Df along. I’m still getting to know this camera. It’s funny, I can pick up pretty much any old film SLR and make good images with it on the first try. But I have had to spend time learning the nuances of every DSLR I’ve used. The Df seems to bias toward shallow depth of field, which I frequently don’t want. There must be some menu setting someplace to adjust that. Meanwhile, I’ve tended to shoot in aperture-priority mode rather than program mode to control DOF.

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Photographs

single frame: Ice cream on the lakeshore

An ice cream shop on Lake Michigan in Chicago.

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Balcony at the Palmer House

Balcony at the Palmer House
Apple iPhone 6s
2020

I’m sad that Margaret and I won’t be able to make our annual wintertime trip to Chicago this year. It had become a tradition of our marriage. But Chicago requires travelers from Indiana to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, making the trip impractical. Even if we did go, our unwillingness to eat inside a restaurant would make avoiding hunger challenging.

We used to go every December to enjoy Christkindlmarkt, take in a show, and finish our Christmas shopping. Then Margaret took a job where December is the busy season, and we started going in January as a way of relaxing after the holidays.

Chicago is not a popular destination in the cold and snowy months, which is why we go then. We get such great deals on hotel rooms! Last year we stayed in the gorgeous Palmer House for what it would normally cost at a suburban box hotel.

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COVID-19, Photography, Travel

single frame: Balcony at the Palmer House

A view of the gorgeous Palmer House Hotel lobby in Chicago.

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Christmas tree in Millennium Park, Chicago

Light on the Millennium Park Christmas tree
Canon PowerShot S95
2018

After Margaret and I got married we started making long-weekend trips four times a year. One of them was always in December, and we always spent that trip in downtown Chicago. Tourists don’t visit Chicago as often during the cold months, so we always got a deal on a hotel room. Chicago is lively in December, with Christkindlmarkt in Daley Plaza, ice skating in Millennium Park, and holiday shows in many of the theaters. It was the trip I looked forward to most each year.

We didn’t go last year because Margaret changed jobs and she can’t get away — December is the busy season where she works. It’s the big reason we’re not going this year, too. But COVID-19 complicates it even more. We’ve done some traveling during this pandemic, but always in weather that allows most of our activities to be outside. In December, everything about Chicago drives you inside!

I made this photo in Millennium Park at their giant Christmas tree. My trusty Canon PowerShot S95 did a pretty good job here. The tip of the big bulb is blown out, but with shallow depth of field it pleasingly rendered the tree’s other lights.

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Photography

single frame: Light on the Millenium Park Christmas tree

Lights on a big Chicago Christmas tree.

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Film Photography, Travel

Crossing the Chicago River on Kodak T-Max 400

I had a lot of good photographic luck on our early-January trip to Chicago. So much so that I’m still sharing photographs from the trip in late March! I made these crossing the Chicago River at both Jackson Street and Adams Street. On Adams Street, we were walking to our breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s; on Jackson Street, we were on our way back. It was the end of our trip; driving home followed breakfast. I had Kodak T-Max 400 in my Olympus XA, and I hoped to finish it before we got back to our parking garage. I failed, but it was fun trying. I’m usually careful not to waste shots when shooting film, but on this walk I photographed freely. It was a lot more fun that way!

On the Chicago River
On the Chicago River
On the Chicago River
On the Chicago River
On the Chicago River

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Chicago Skyway Bridge

Driving across the Chicago Skyway Bridge
Olympus XA
Kodak T-Max 400
2020

I barely slept the last night we were in Chicago. So I handed my car keys to Margaret. It gave me this lovely opportunity to photograph the Chicago Skyway Bridge while we were crossing it.

This bridge, built in 1958, carries the Chicago Skyway, also known as I-90, across the Calumet River. At the end of the Skyway, eastbound, is Indiana. This is a toll bridge, but thanks to my EZPass transponder I have no idea what the charge is. I just add some money to my account before we go and let the EZPass pay the toll.

It was midmorning Monday. Traffic was light. For a moment, it looked like we had this busy bridge all to ourselves.

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Film Photography

single frame: Driving across the Chicago Skyway Bridge

A through-the-windshield shot of the Chicago Skyway Bridge.

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Inside the Cadillac Palace Theatre

Inside the Palmer House Hilton
Olympus XA
Film Washi D
2020

Because I never take notes as I shoot rolls of film, once in a while I get an image back that I can’t place. I shot this whole roll of Film Washi D in Chicago, so it’s narrowed down that much. But I couldn’t remember whether I shot this inside the Cadillac Palace Theatre or the Palmer House Hilton. Peristent Googling turned up images that confirm this as the Palmer House.

Whichever it is, the Film Washi D did a nice job in the available light, delivering good tones in the marble. I like how the light falls off, giving this scene an air of mystery.

The fine folks at Analogue Wonderland gave me this roll of film in exchange for this mention. Film Washi films go in and out of stock at Analogue Wonderland; see their entire selection here.

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Film Photography

single frame: Inside the Palmer House Hilton

A peek inside Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton on Film Washi D.

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