Not quite the Riverwalk Walk – January 12, 2019

Dr. Cliff Les, a buddy from grad school blitzed by Chicago from the Detroit area for the weekend – met him and his wife Kathy at Lou Manati’s in River North. Cliff and I were in Veterinary Biosciences at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1986 to about 1988 or so – he was in biomechanics while I was working in reproductive biology.



He was in research for awhile, then private practice and academia and back to private practice and he was here in Chicago to visit a former student of his from Michigan State rotating at Brookfield Zoo. It was quite a short visit, but we had fun reminiscing the gold old days (oops typo but I will leave it there).

Going home, I walked along the Riverwalk, not quite on the riverwalk but on Wacker Drive. Since this weekend is freezing I decided not to do the usual 7 mile walk so this 1.5 mile stretch from North Wells to N. Michigan where my bus stop is would suffice. And of course I took pictures along the way, even though just from my iPhone.



No Money Shot Walk – January 4, 2019

I call this walk a no money shot walk because I just didn’t get shots that I would have submitted to Getty Images. It was just a blah walk, going to the same places that I usually go to. I thought I would do an epic walk before I go back to work on Monday, but … nada. I was so uninspired within that my work was just bleah.



On top of that, my computers and wi-fi were acting up. They both kept on dropping me.

As for the walk itself, I just went around Millennium Park after my hair cut. Well at least, the hair cut was done.




Annual New Year’s Day Walk 2019 Edition – Back in Chicago



For over ten years now, I have been conducting New Year’s Day walks, wherever I am during that day. The last two years, I was in California, so did the walk in San Francisco in 2017 and 2018. This year, I am back in Chicago and as usual, I did the walk along the lakefront, starting from the Polar Bear Plunge at North Avenue at noon ending up in Navy Pier. It wasn’t that epic as compared to some years, but, I logged in over 10 miles of walking and photographing, really good for my joints.



Nothing to do with Rizal Day Walk – December 30, 2018



It might be Rizal Day in the Philippines on December 30 (Dr. Jose Rizal is our national hero) but this walk was not undertaken to commemorate his execution. He was executed on December 30, 1896 by the Spanish for his subversive ideas; the execution was one of the sparks for the country’s revolution against Spain. In fact, this walk wasn’t planned at all.

December 29 was the birthday celebration of my high school classmate, now a neurologist based in DuPage County, Dr. Henry Echiverri, at their home in the West burbs. It was a huge affair and one not to be missed … but I missed the train going there, so … Henry sent an Uber to my home in the city to bring me to the celebration (I can’t drive at night due to … I am blind in my right eye!).


The birthday boy carving an Iberian ham

What a guy, this Doctor E is. Just goes to show that high school friendships lasts. I have known Henry since 1969!


Dr. Henry E. with some of his guests (me, Jun and Mariel Marte and Dr. Dennis Asencio) and Dr. Susan E. (extreme right)

Stayed over at the Echiverris for the night. Susan, Henry’s wife is also a physician, she was the chief pediatric geneticist, since retired, at Stroger Hospital when I worked there in Urology in the mid 2000s. She is doing consultant work and paying more attention to antiques rather than young children. Since Ubering back to Chicago was too much for me, I decided to take the early train back to Chicago. Henry drove me to the station in one of his Italian-made cars, in style. It was like Ubering on a Tesla (yup, that’s available, apparently), only even more luxurious. (By the way, before going to Henry and Susan’s, I was watching a Turkish TV drama, called Intersection, which was addicting through to its first two seasons, but the last season was a dud. At any rate, one of the characters was named Aysen … which was also the name of the Uber driver, who is Kurdish and lived in Turkey. Go figure.)

Caught the Metra to Chicago from Winfield, IL station to Ogilvie Transportation Center on Madison.

And that’s why this walk – I just walked east on Madison and took pictures on the way until I reached Millennium Park. Then took the bus home. It was an easy 2.2 miles walk, good for my heart, I guess.



Christmas Evening Walk – December 25, 2018



After Christmas lunch at my apartment with college friend, Pons and his son Maki, both of whom recently arrived from the Philippines, I invited them to my tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day. Instead of going to Evanston, IL, where I usually see a show, we went to downtown Chicago to watch Aquaman. We had about an hour to kill before the show, so we went around the Riverwalk to see the sights.

I was surprised that there were many people on the walk as well as around the Mag Mile. On Christmas evening. I guess there are people who don’t celebrate Christmas in a traditional sense.

Just like me.



Skyline Walk – December 8, 2018



Shooting the Chicago skyline at dusk always clears cobwebs in my mind.

I just can’t get enough of this.

Veteran’s Eve Day Walk, November 10, 2018



From the Cultural Center fo Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park to State Street. In the cold.

Autumm Leaves Walk, October 27, 2018



Some of the trees, especially the maple trees in Millennium Park are turning into fiery reds right now. I just had to do a walk today before the leaves disappear.

I also got to use the Sony A7III exclusively … I like it more than the A7. It feels a little bit more solid than the A7 in my hands.

Also, I used, for the second time now, the Russian-made Helios 44-2 58mm lens and finally got the swirly bokeh in some of the photos that this lens is known for. Loving it!

Swirly Bokeh



From Russia With Love


Testing the Helios 44-2 58mm lens that I purchased from Ukraine’s SmarketUA on etsy. This lens is Russian made that apparently tried to emulate Zeiss lens. According to a Digital Photography School post, several companies made these lenses over several decades, in the millions of units, so they aren’t exactly rare nor expensive. For less than fifty bucks, I got mine in no time at all. It even came with an adapter for the Sony A7 and an Allen wrench to mount it! You can’t go wrong with that!



So, after the Chicago Marathon today (Oct. 7, Sunday), I went out to the Lincoln Park Conservatory to test this lens out. I thought, it would be easy to test this on flowers. I really was trying to see if the reported “swirly bokeh” which I really wanted to have also results from this lens. There are reports that it may happen in some, it may not happen in others. First of all, it is threaded – so that took a long time for me to mount it on the camera (I had to play around with a little screw, thankfully, the Allen wrench came with it.) It’s manual and the aperture setting is also manual. It took me a long while to figure it out. And because I have only one eye working (I am half blind), focusing was a little bit difficult.

But I got the hang of it eventually… and my results? Good bokeh but no swirling. Apparently, you never can get the same quality of pictures from Helios 44-2, and that’s why this is getting a cult following. I know some photographers who own a couple or more of this lens and really, for less than fifty bucks, you can’t go wrong.

Have a look!



Art on the Mart

Art on the Mart Opening Night

Public art at its best.  It is touted to be the world’s largest permanent art projection – art projected on over two football-fields size of the facade of  Merchandise Mart (theMart).  According to Wired magazine, “the project uses 3D architectural mapping to display art via 1 million lumens on the building’s massive facade” and may be instrumental for Chicago surpassing Paris as the city of lights and certainly stealing Dubai’s title as home of the largest digital art show.   Have a look at the website here.

The spectacular  public opening was last night (September 29), attended by hundreds, if not thousands of people.  The city blocked the stretch of Wacker Drive from basically, Michigan Ave. to Orleans (or thereabouts). Four inaugural artists were featured:  Diana Thater, Zheng Chongbin, Jason Salavon and Jan Tichy whose works were certainly masterful, whimsical and cerebral and at the end, a pathetic fireworks display.

Here are some photos (randomly ordered – this new editor for WordPress sucks big time.  Still have to learn it):