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.
Once I hit middle age, my internal rhythm went out of whack. I found myself waking up earlier and earlier. Suddenly, I was faced with the dilemma of what to do, what to do in the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t face that before because I didn’t get out of bed before 8 am unless I had to. Then I remembered what the great Bryan Peterson (author of Understanding Exposure and other books) said about missing more than 80 percent of photography when waking up late. So I made the habit of going out before sunrise to photowalk. That’s why you see a lot of sunrises in this blog. Granted, I drive out of Chicago very early in the morning to go to work in Indiana … but this habit of getting very early preceded that. And it’s a great exercise too, without really realizing I am exercising. I walk at least anywhere from 3 – 14 miles every weekend.
This morning, I went out for a walk around the Navy Pier area, arriving at the end of Navy Pier way before sunrise. It was blissful not to be among the crowd. Because I can only see in one eye now, I have difficulty navigating crowded areas. I was the only one there, save for some runners who ran in and out. It was incredibly uplifting to soak in the power of the sun while it rose above the horizon.
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.
This weekend’s walk is at the Chicago lakefront, where else, at Navy Pier to witness the sunrise, and then at Olive Park and Ohio St. Beach. The walk was conducted with my new photowalk buddy, Mark Marshall from Flickr and Chicago Drink and Click®. He wanted to test some new gear for this shoot.