The season for one-on-one workshops is back! These are always fun, usually a bit of a slower pace and we get to just the spots that are most important to the participant. Early May I had a 2-day workshop with a woman from Long Island. We started our day at Navy Pier working our way into the loop.
My favorite area for abstracts at Navy Pier is the central staircase leading up to the Ferris Wheel. Its curved glass on the sides reflects the stairs. Tilting the lens further abstracts the lines and curves of this space and adding a bluer white balance changes the mood of the shot.
Just a quick walk from Navy Pier is Lake Point Tower. There’s an entrance to the parking garage and lobby of the building on the north side. When you look up there’s an opening where the curves of the building mirror the curves of the parking garage. If you use a really wide lens you can exaggerate those curves for a little drama.
Onto Michigan Avenue and one of my favorite locations, Burberry. The reflections in this building are great on every side. The next shot is on the north side of the building with reflections of the vents from the neighboring building.
Just a bit further south to the new(ish) Apple store along the river. My favorite area to photograph is the southwest corner where the curved glass meets the underside of the roof. You get some great warpy reflections of the city and if you have blue skies the blue contrasts nicely with the warm wood tones of the building.
Still at the Apple Store but this time zooming in on where the glass meets the ceiling.
Across the street are the nice contrasts between Wrigley/Trump Tower Chicago/330 North Wabash. Three architectural icons of Chicago.
Just a couple more stops for our first day together. Marina Towers. These “corn cobs” can be so challenging to shoot. There are often window washers and their whole systems hanging from these buildings, plus they’re concrete and cracked and dirty. So…either underexpsoing or overexposing helps in that cleanup, but the processing on these images can be time-consuming. It’s been awhile since I’ve come up with new takes on these towers, so it was a happy day in that regard!
Our final stop of the day was the James R. Thompson Center. Likely the most chaotic building in Chicago. There was some nice warm, dramatic light in this wider shot from the basement level looking up.
Just inside the entrance on the first floor, I focused on just a portion of the structure where the blue meets the red.
And from the second level, I noticed these irregular reflections contrasting with the regular patterns of the ceiling lights for an even more detailed shot.
On day 2 we started with Aqua. Like Marina Towers, the concrete doesn’t age the best so back to the high-key and low-key versions of this.
Then we headed to Millennium Park, most of our time was spent on the Frank Gehry designed BP Pedestrian Bridge. This is one tough location to shoot abstractly. I think the best area is actually the underside of the bridge. You can focus on the curves and the reptilian-feel from the overlayed stainless steel panels. Once again opting for either low-key or high-key post-processing.
After a visit to the Cultural Center (no shots this time) and lunch to escape the downpour we checked out the Washington/Wabash CTA station by Exp.. Always love contrasting the curves of the canopy with the older architecture along this stretch of Wabash.
Our final stop of the day was the Palmer House Hilton where we spent a good amount of time on one of the great spiral staircases in this historic hotel. Wide or tight shots work equally as well here.
If you’d like to see a few more outtakes from our couple of days around Chicago you can find them here. Otherwise, see you again soon with more 1on1 workshop images 🙂