Out of Chicago Photo Conference Recap – 2019

the rookery
For the 6th year in a row, I was invited back to the Out of Chicago (OOC) Summer Conference. Pretty special as this is where I got my start teaching, thanks to a big nudge by Chris Smith (founder of OOC).
This year, Chris asked me to do the opening talk, cue the panic, lol! All went well and I discussed some habits to foster creativity. Shortly after that, I led a photowalk with Michael to the 18th Street Bridge. Being a bit lazy with the tripod, and let’s say trying some of those creative tips on cityscapes I discussed in my opening talk, I decided to handhold some evening/blue hour shots and play with intentional camera movement. If you want to read more about what that’s all about and how to utilize it, head over to this blog post on my teaching site with Michael, Photography Unfolded.
There’s a high failure rate when attempting shots like this but here’s one I liked. Felt a little dreamy or windy.
18th street bridge, chicago skyline
Day 2 of the conference was Saturday and began with Michael and I doing a presentation covering composition related to architectural abstracts. Later that day we led a photowalk around the Chicago Loop. First up, the Palmer House Hilton. I’ve photographed here so many times and the staircases are always amazing, but this time I focused my attention on some of the curvy arches in the hallways.
palmer house hilton
One block away we photographed the newish Washington/Wabash CTA station. Love the mix of old (the architecture along Wabash) and new (the train station canopy).
washington wabash cta station, exp.
I also managed a new Urban Quilt image from the station 🙂
urban quilt chicago
After a short ride around the Loop we stopped by the newly renovated Union Station. A little layering here.
union station
Our final stop of the Saturday photowalk was 235 Van Buren, always a favorite. Those cantilevered, concrete balconies never get old. The light, whether sunny or overcast, always makes this area fun to play with in creating some abstract, geometric, dramatic shots.
235 van buren, perkins + will
I liked how the flowers on this one balcony broke up the pattern and added a slight pop of color. I rarely edit this location in color but with the flowers, it worked so much better than in black & white.
235 van buren, perkins + will
Sunday began with another photowalk to a few other locations in the Loop. First, the exterior of the Harold Washington Library. Nice clouds playing against the gargoyles at the tops of the building.
harold washington library
We can’t not go to the Calder Flamingo 😉 So, a couple new takes. First, playing with those reflections in the neighboring post office.
alexander calder flamingo
More play with reflections, this time as the backdrop and the Flamingo taking center stage. The warmth and curves of the tan buildings reflecting in the dark, linear Mies Van der Rohe building create a nice backdrop.
alexander calder flamingo
And the final stop, exclusive access to the iconic Rookery. Rarely can you get access to the upper floors of this building, but the conference organizers got us a few hours in here! The Oriel staircase is the most sought after area to photograph and on the regular tours you don’t get access to the upper floors looking down. So we definitely spent a good amount of time taking advantage of this uncommon perspective.
the rookery, frank lloyd wright
the rookery, frank lloyd wright
the rookery, frank lloyd wright
the rookery, frank lloyd wright
the rookery, frank lloyd wright
Though the lookup shot is pretty good too 😉
the rookery, frank lloyd wright
I ended the conference by doing a few portfolio reviews for attendees. A newer addition to these conferences that I think/hope participants find useful.
If you’d like to stay up to date on other workshops and conferences I’m teaching, subscribe to my newsletter (you’ll see the signup section to your right of this post) and head over to Photography Unfolded for the bulk of my teaching stuff with Michael – workshops, photowalks, blog posts, etc. Plus you get a free ebook when you sign up for our newsletter there 🙂
If you’d like to see all the photos from the weekend, head over here! And if you joined me at the conference, I’d love to see your photos, share them through the Architecture Photography Unfolded Facebook page.

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