Fullerton Esplanade – January 5, 2018

Nothing new here. Just the standard Chicago winter sunrise. But this was the first photowalk in Chicago of the year, so it must mean something. Done on January 5, 2018, the day after I arrived from San Francisco.

It was too frigid out there that day, I could only stand 30 minutes of the cold.

Northerly Island – December 16, 2017

Beautiful balmy December weather last Saturday, December 16. The walk (with walk buddy Mark Marshall) started innocuously from Michigan and 9th St. to the museum campus. It was in fact, a blah walk and we almost didn’t continue because the breakwater at the Field Museum was covered with thin ice and was slippery. But we trudged along, reaching the Adler and took the requisite skyline shots. Then we just sort of meandered around, to the back of the Adler, then to the 18th St. Beach where things got interesting, photographically. There was first, a lone ice formation on a structure on the beach … then toward the Northerly Island end of the beach, some more ice-covered vegetation on a short stretch of the lakeshore. It was strange, in this short stretch of the steep(er) shore, the plants and rocks were covered with ice, but that’s it, the rest of the area wasn’t.

Then we saw some commotion toward the middle of Northerly Island just west of the Daphne Garden – we went to investigate. There was a Husky Dog Sled demonstration! And they let the audience pet the dogs (don’t just have your face at the level of the dogs’ faces). This is what I like doing walks around Chicago. You just don’t know what to expect.

We ended the walk at Northerly with shots of the Daphne Garden and then the skyline from the empty marina.

I had my money shot:

So I was satisfied.

Walking back to 9th Street where Mark parked his truck, more money shots:

A merganser playing with its food!

I <3 Chicago!

Sunrise, November 26, 2017

I didn’t have much chance to do photography the last couple of weeks because of illness. Hopefully, I will bounce back soon.

But the sunrise yesterday as seen from my balcony was just gorgeous. I had to rise from my bedrest and endure the pain just to take these pictures.

Veterans Day – November 11, 2017

A member of the Drink and Click Chicago group flew in from Monroe, LA (she flies in to see the opera) last Veterans Day weekend – perfect timing for the November themed photowalk, the theme of which I totally forgot. Hah!

But it was Veterans Day, so it was fitting to photograph the Vietnam Memorial on the Riverwalk after which we walked south to see the autumn colors which finally arrived at Millennium Park.

Sweet but short.

Moonlight Sonata, November 3, 2017

Did a very quick visit to the lakefront just south of Ohio St. Beach and Lakeshore Drive last Friday night. It was quick because it was damn cold. I kept on asking myself, why am I even doing this?

But it was a good way to end a very strange week.

Leone Beach, Rogers Park, October 27, 2017

Leone Beach on Touhy at Lake Michigan is one of Chicago’s largest beach, stretching for 8 blocks in Rogers Park, in the city’s far northside. The beach is just north to our beach in Edgewater. Nothing is happening much on the beach in the fall and when we went there a little more than a week ago to shoot the sunrise, the sunrise was nowhere to be seen.

But there are these pilings that jut out of the water surface that seemed to be remnants of a pier. They look very ethereal when photographed in long exposure.

Have a look!

Riverwalk, October 28, 2017

Kind of oft beaten track instead of off the beaten track, but there is always something interesting happening on the walk. We were taking photos to submit for the October upside down challenge at Drink and Click. It was an impromptu walk as it was a last minute decision – our organizer, Lauri Novak, was away and could not organize a meet up. So Mark Marshall and I hastily thought of something just so the Chicago group could be represented in the challenge.

It was a difficult challenge to fulfill but we did what we had to do.

I was surprised to see a black-crowned night heron right on the river – this is supposed to be a relatively rare bird and endangered in Illinois, but here it was in the middle of the concrete jungle.

At the Navy Pier area of the river, we bumped into some Halloween revelers who graciously posed for us … and at the end of the walk, we were rewarded with a fireworks display! What a wonderful way to cap an almost 7 mile walk in the cold.

Apple Opening Unplugged – October 20, 2017

I have been an Apple user since 1994.

So naturally, I went to see the opening of their new store on Michigan Ave. The old store was on corner Huron and Michigan which opened back in 2003. I guess they’ve outgrown that location and built a remarkable structure on Pioneer Court right on the Chicago River just steps off the northeast end of the Michigan Ave bridge (DuSable Bridge). The all glass structure that rises off ground is transparent, so it blends in with the surroundings and doesn’t block the view of the river for the most part. Its roof is shaped like a laptop!

Inside and under the glass structure, going down the stairs, is a sprawling space – the store itself plus space for performance and seminars. There is also more space on the bank of the river and a terraced seating area outside on the Chicago bridge side.

Visitors at the opening were herded like cattle outside in Pioneer Court (really, they directed people to chutes just like livestock brought to slaughter) and then made to run through a gauntlet where they had Apple sales people and other employees applauding and high-fiving the arriving guests. It’s all a sham to me though as most of these young kids during regular store hours are arrogant and haughty. (I came back two days later to purchase a charger, and sure enough, a snotty kid unanswered my questions about compatibility issues, he was sort of in a hurry and I saw him sauntering off to tend to more beautiful people than a paying customer like me.)

But I don’t go to the store to pay attention to their sales people. I go to the store to buy Apple products. As I said in the beginning of the piece, I have been an Apple user since 1994.

White – t-shirt from the 2003 opening; black – t-shirt from the 2017 opening

And of course, I went to the opening hoping for a free t-shirt which they had. Good on you, Apple!

Open House Chicago Day 1, October 14, 2017

Open House Chicago is the annual event organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation in which over 200 buildings in various neighborhoods and communities of Chicago are opened to the public for free. In most cases, the “behind-the-scenes” activities of many tenants in the buildings are open for the public to see. We started with three buildings on Randolph St., then two on Michigan Ave., then two in the La Salle Canyon in the Loop and ended up in the Chicago Temple, also in the Loop.

Frequent photowalk buddy, Mark Marshall and I were at the Aon Center first (we were the first one to show up there, they were not even ready for the deluge). We planned to shoot the sunrise first before hitting the Open House, but it turned out to be an overcast day, so we arrived about twenty minutes before opening. Just like the previous years, they opened the 71st floor with a commanding view of Millennium and Grant Parks, albeit blanketed with low lying clouds.

From the Aon Center, we headed next door to the BCBS building. The view is the same as in the Aon but from a lower floor – the 30th floor and clearer because it was below the cloud cover. From there, we ended the Randolph Street leg of the walk on the deck of the One Prudential Plaza.

We then headed to anything open on Michigan Ave. On the avenue, we hit the Pritzker Military Library and Museum and then the Cliff Dwellers, a private club with a restaurant overlooking Michigan Ave.

Then on to lunch. At this time, it was pouring and I was very wet despite the plastic poncho I was wearing.

But we planned to see more buildings in the loop so we headed out there, first to the Wintrust Bank where they opened the no longer used bank vault in the basement. We were about to end our walk, but since we were there, and the Federal Bank of Chicago was just across the street, we decided to see what’s in the offing. I am glad that we went – they opened the money museum and got to see how much a million bucks look like!

We heard from people that the River Walk was flooded and we wanted to see that -. We started to walk from the La Salle Canyon to the river but somehow on our way there, we decided to just skip it and go home. So heading back to the Aon Center where Mark’s truck was parked, we passed by the Chicago Temple on Washington and Clark – and decided to check it out. It wasn’t that much. We climbed up 178 steps to the chapel in the sky, supposedly the highest place of worship, at least in North America, but didn’t stay long as it was too stuffy up there.

After that, we called it a day.

Chicago Botanic Garden, October 7, 2017

Mark Marshall, a fellow photographer and I went for a short visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glenview, IL two weekends ago to view the changing colors of the leaves … but not many leaves had turned colors yet. Fall colors have been soooo slow arriving this season, it seems.

But we were treated to … not only one but two elegant Great Blue Herons in the garden!