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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!