Out of Chicago Photo Conference Recap 2018

palmer house hilton
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of teaching at the 5th Annual Out of Chicago Photo Conference. I’ve been lucky enough to teach every year the conference has run, it’s always great seeing so many familiar faces and meeting so many new people, both students and instructors. There’s always something new to learn!
The conference started with two, 1-day pre-conference workshops led by Michael Muraz and me. After a classroom presentation we headed out to photograph downtown Chicago for a few hours. Despite some pretty lousy weather, we had some great groups and saw some great locations.
Our first stop both days was the Palmer House Hilton. I’m sure you’ve heard me mention this location before, it’s definitely a favorite. Hard not to like a space with three different spiral staircases.
In this first shot, I used a portion of the wall as a foreground element while isolating part of the staircase railing. The countering curves play well off of each other, along with the strong blacks and whites.
palmer house hilton
Just next to the staircase, I noticed the light creating some interesting shadows where the wall and ceiling meet.
palmer house hilton
This next shot was kind-of an accident. I forgot to adjust my ISO so my shutter speed was really slow, I moved the camera to change it during the exposure and this is what was created.
palmer house hilton
Back to a more representative take on another staircase.
palmer house hilton
After the Palmer House, we headed to the Cultural Center. Another fantastic indoor location I’ve visited many, many times. One of my favorite areas is the third floor on the south side of the building. This is more detailed shot of the floor looking down from the 3rd floor, but the lookup shot is really interesting too. (You can find some images from there in this album.)
chicago cultural center
One floor down is the world’s largest Tiffany Dome. In this shot, I framed a portion of that dome with the archway.
chicago cultural center
I don’t often photograph the stairway on the north side of the building, I find it very challenging, but its curviness an zig-zag pattern can make for some fun shots.
chicago cultural center
We still had some pretty bad weather after leaving here on the Thursday workshop, so instead of our planned outdoor locations, we headed to the James R. Thompson Center. Always a challenging and chaotic spot. But here’s something new from there.
james r thompson center
After we left here it cleared up a bit. Well, at least it wasn’t raining anymore. We made a quick stop by the Picasso. Do you see the profile of a woman?
chicago picasso, daly plaza
We then walked by Chase Tower, stopped in the Marquette Building and ended at the Calder Flamingo.
calder flamingo chicago
calder flamingo chicago
On the Friday workshop we had slightly better weather, so instead of the Thompson Center, Flamingo, etc. We spent time at the Pritzker Pavilion and Aqua.
I really liked how the light was hitting the various angles and dimensions on wall of the Pavilion.
pritzker pavilion, frank gehry
This is just one take on Aqua from the day, I’ll have a follow-up post with more since there are a couple mini-series I managed from this building that day.
aqua, studio gang architects
One Saturday, Michael and I taught one more presentation and photowalk. And on Sunday I presented on creative habits for your photography and led another photowalk to the Rookery. I’ll share those images in a separate post as well 🙂 For now, here are a few photos from Saturday’s photowalk.
Our first stop was the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. We finally had some sunshine and blue skies, which is what you see reflecting in its glass facade.
spertus institute of jewish studies, krueck + sexton
spertus institute of jewish studies, krueck + sexton
Next up was 235 Van Buren. The cantilevered balconies always make for great patterns. The shadows add to that as well.
235 van buren
Back to the Calder under very different lighting conditions.
calder flamingo chicago
Instead of including the Calder in this shot, I wanted the focus to be on the contrasts in both the color tones and warpy reflections vs. rigid grid.
mies van der rohe
I want to say a big thank you to Out of Chicago for having me back again and to all of my students. It was so great meeting all of you and learning from you as well!
If you want to see everything from the conference weekend, head over here.
And if you want details on upcoming workshops, head over to Photography Unfolded. There are 2 spots left for Paris. Chicago is sold out, but we have a Friday morning add-on session that still has a few spots open.



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