From the Cultural Center fo Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park to State Street. In the cold.
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!
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):
A classmate of mine, Pons Cabagnot, from veterinary school recently arrived with his family from the Philippines as immigrants. During their first weekend in Chicago where they are planning to settle, I took them for a water taxi ride to Chinatown for lunch.
It was a little bit chilly yesterday, but I think we had a good time seeing some parts of Chicago that many people haven’t seen. We were a little bit lucky to be treated to a side show – a Great Blue Heron hunting for food on the Chicago River. It’s getting to be more and more common now – wildlife on the revived river!
Chicago’s Full Moon Jam season began in May but I was only able to attend July’s celebration. There are more and more participants, more and more spectators, and more and more daring acts. This is a grass root movement … it’s nice to be in a loving, non-judgmental, inclusive and safe place for a fleeting moment.
I didn’t see much of the parade because, as usual, I was on the float for Chicago’s Bible Bingo from NunsforFun Entertainment. Bible Bingo is another wacky interactive comedy penned by my friend, Vicki Quade, the creator of the popular Late Night Cathechism. The premise of this comedy:
“The parish needs money and the Archdiocese has a new bingo department.
Bring the two together and you have a night of bible trivia, audience interaction,
and the funniest quiz about the Holy Family you’ve ever seen.
Add to that a box of wacky prizes, fun bingo cards, and a lot of Catholic humor. In this interactive bingo show, we actually play bingo! And get the audience talking about everything from Adam & Eve to modern sins.”
It plays at the Royal George Theater 8 pm Fridays and 8 pm Saturdays.
Late Night Catechism plays at the same theater 5 pm Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays.
See the reviews at Trip Advisor here.
Vicki Quade and son Michael
The float with the requisite group picture.
Vicki in action at the parade
While I don’t have any pictures of the parade, I have lots of spectators pictures taken from the float. Here is a bunch of them. Enjoy!
The Garden of the Phoenix is a new garden at Chicago’s Jackson Park in the southside of the city. It is located just behind the Museum of Science and Industry. The Japanese Garden is just a small part of it.
The Garden of the Phoenix is supposed to symbolize Japan and the USA’s 160-year story of friendship, turmoil and prosperity, according to its website. This garden is home to Yoko Ono’s Skylanding, a public space composed of a revitalized landscape and pavilion.
I joined three other photowalkers (Mark Marshall, Nenad Spasojevic and Lucy HS) for a sunset shoot at the Japanese Garden. However, the sun was nowhere to be found. Just as well because we were able to get beautiful photos (no one was there!) and resolved to come back either during sunrise or another sunset later.
Bike the Drive is when Chicago closes practically the whole length of Lake Shore Drive to motor traffic, and open it up to bicycles. It’s quite a spectacle … and a nice Sunday bike ride for participants.
It also is a good practice for me to work on panning. Not as successful as I want to be this time around but … I like the abstract feel of the results. I did have some focused panning but I kind of like these ones. Have a look: