The Saturday prior to St. Patrick’s Day, the Chicago River is dyed green to start the celebrations. It is a spectacular event going on for more than 40 years. The dye used is supposed to be biodegradable and harmless. It puts a sense of amazement to people who happen to just see it the first time. This year, they increased the area being dyed – from the Columbus Drive Bridge to Wabash Ave. Bridge.
There were probably a hundred photographers who descended to the lakefront at the Adler Planetarium today to photograph Chicago’s celebration of Earth Hour. From 8:30 – 9:30 pm today, the lights of iconic Chicago buildings were dimmed to celebrate the World Wildlife Fund’s call for action on climate change.
This is the third year that Chicago is one of the flagship cities of Earth Hour. Icons such as the Chicago Theatre, Navy Pier, Willis Tower, Merchandise Mart, the Wrigley Building and Trump International Hotel and Towers were among the more than 200 downtown buildings which dimmed their exterior lights.
Seven people heeded my call for a meet-up (thanks, all) to photograph St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Chicago. Most were from flickr and one read the photowalk announcement and came because of this.
We met at the designated place on the south bank of the river at about 9:45 am to witness and shoot the greening of the river. We then planned to watch and photograph the St. Patrick’s Day parade. It was a miserable day – raining, foggy … freezing. But, rain or shine, we were stoked to photograph.
The main crew of the Plumbers’ Union which was dyeing the river emerald green. The dye starts as orange powder that magically transforms into green when mixed with water. It is vegetable-based and is biodegradable. I heard, though, that these guys piss green-colored urine days after. Don’t know how true is that but I think that is very cool (to have green water coming out of you)! And you know that you’re not sick.
Not much audience compared to past years. It’s probably because the rain (in past years except last year, the days were also very cold but the crowds were thick). Usually, the bridge is full of people. See the bridge crowd here in 2005 and here in 2006.
But maybe the police asked people to be off the bridge. They did that last year in the secondary bridge below.
A member (JC Glad to be back) of the meet-up group photographing the green water
For several of the photowalkers, this was the first time they saw the event – so it was a quite memorable meet up. Two of them brought visitors from out of town.
Everyone was in a happy mood even though it was freaking freezing. I guess green (and being Irish or Irish wannabe) makes every one jolly. We talked to and photographed many people around us.
After the dyeing of the river, we headed to the Columbus Drive bridge to do some panoramic and group shots. Some of us had to leave after this shot.
We then headed toward Columbus Dr. and Jackson to photograph the parade. On our way there, a guy with a camera approached us and remarked something like, he had equipment envy. Turned out he was also a flickrer, chibart, who actually was looking for us. While waiting for the parade to start, we also met another flickrer, ssdriscoll, from San Diego who was here for a business meeting but had a few hours break.
I love a parade!
We didn’t finish the parade as two of us ran out of flash cards (!) … three of us walked toward the loop to find a place to eat … but before that, we went to the Chicago Photography Collective gallery first, then went to the Jimmy John’s nearby.
After lunch (and several sips of a single barrel bourbon, don’t ask), it was time for us to break apart. I had to do more shoots at Millennium Park while the other two had a long drive home to the northern suburbs.
Till next time!
Here are some of my favorite shots from members of the meet up group that day:
, originally uploaded by JC [glad to be back].
Firecrackers demonstration during the Chinese New Year (Year of the Tiger) Parade on Argyle St., Feb. 20, 2010, Uptown, Chicago, Photowalk with topmedic (Rolour Garcia) on flickr, medskul.com and chicagophotoshop.com.
Please see topmedic’s Chinese New Year set on flickr.
Photoshoot with some Chicago Flickr Meet Up Club members at Lock and Dam 14 on the Mississipi River in LeClaire, Iowa. The meet-up was organized by Charlie Guild whom I met two years ago at the 1st Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk – Lincoln Park that he led as well.