Plan on traveling and visiting the Windy City soon? Chicago, like many big cities, is full of vibrant life and ongoing activities. Whether it’s day or night, overcast or sunny, one can always obtain wonderful photography from the normal tourist areas or in Chicago’s secret nooks and crannies. Here is a miniscule look from the thousands of locations that are great spots to get fantastic photography. Here is a list of specific places that are mention in this blog. They are all in the area most commonly referred to as The Loop: Millenium Park, Wrigley Building, Tribune Building, Water Tower Plaza, Chicago River, and Michigan Lake’s water front. Most of them are within three miles of the heart of the city. Just remember to open your eyes and always look for color to get the best shots…
As soon as you arrive in Downtown Chicago, you can’t help whipping out your camera and pumping out a hundred shots in the first five minutes. The city is full of historical buildings, secret locales that can be quite dazzling when the sun hits them just right at certain points of the day. Night is also included.
Central Camera, as shot by Bryan Scott, is located right in the heart of downtown. It is one of the go-to places for every photographer in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Please note that this is not a shameless plug for them and I am in no way paid or have any affiliation with them. I am merely using Mr. Scott’s vibrant use of colors to illustrate that even the most ordinary of things that many take for granted can become a beautiful piece of art.
Here are two shots by different photographers of the same location. The nice thing about Chicago River is that fact that there is a path that people to walk along away from all the traffic congestion. Notice the difference between a color version verses a black and white. I personally like them both. Anybody like to weigh in on an opinion?
It should also be noted that a lot of the images featured in this blog are HDR or High Dynamic Range images. For those of you not familiar with this term, this means that in a photo, dynamic range is the difference between the lightest and the darkest color value. In other words, dynamic range means the contrast of a photo. You will probably notice that a lot of these shots look highly saturated with color. This can only be achieved by taken multiple shots of the same subject at different exposures and reintegrating them together emphasizing the the dark and brighter areas of the subject. HDR photos have larger dynamic range than today’s digital consumer cameras are able to capture and can only be achieved digitally via some kind of computer software like Adobe Photoshop.
The shot above is Chicago’s famous LaSalle street. Many people probably recognize it from the movie, The Untouchables or Christopher Nolan’s recent Batman movies, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight . This area, in reality, is Chicago’s financial district.
If you walk just walk down Michigan Avenue from Downtown heading towards Water Tower Plaza (North), you’ll pass by The Art Museum of Chicago, Grant Park, Millenium Park, Tribune Building, the Chicago River. These are all great tourist locations that will have you shooting like you’re a member of the Paparazzi. The great things that nobody minds as practically every one is sporting a camera. You’ll be sure to fit right in with the crowd. A favorite to visit is the Millenium Bean as depicted by Brian Scott’s Cloudgate. It’s pretty much a rite of passage to add this artifact to your portfolio.
Just two blocks away from Michigan Avenue is the lake Michigan. Sunrises and sunsets are always phenomenal over a body of water. Though these shots are mostly of just the lake itself, there are always plenty of people sailing giving you an opportunity to get some live people in your shots.
These areas are just a small samples of various locations from Chicago’s Downtown area. If you’re a risk taker and want to deviate from the norm, try hopping on the EL and visiting a neighborhood away from all the tourists and hustle bustle of the city. You never know what you might find.
A big thanks to all the contributing photographers for graciously giving me permission to use their work in this blog. To see more of their work, please click on their names to be directed to their personal photography sites: