millennium park, pritzker pavilion, frank gehry
As I briefly mentioned in my last post, Chicago was my final workshop of 2019. We spent three days covering a lot of ground and despite some pretty chilly weather and one night being rained out, there were still plenty of great photo ops.
Friday morning started bright and early at the Adler Planetarium. Another year, and no photo I was happy with from this vantage point so we’ll start with the first architectural location, The Spertus Institute designed by Krueck + Sexton. Fantastic geometric facade and modern contrast next to its neighboring historic buildings.

After breakfast, we headed to the Calder Flamingo. A rare black & white shot of this location and, of course, a couple of color shots! Hard to pass up that red against the neighboring buildings, especially the black Mies van der Rohe’s.
calder flamingo, alexander calder
calder flamingo, alexander calder
calder flamingo, alexander calder
Next, 235 Van Buren designed by Perkins and Will. The cantilevered balconies on the south side are always great for stark geometric shots. Even more fun when you flip them upside down 😉
235 van buren, perkins and will
Back inside to warm up and to check out the recently completed restoration of Union Station by Goettsch Partners. So beautifully done!
union station chicago, Goettsch Partners

Now for 540 W Madison or the Bank of America Plaza. Until this visit, I’ve never been kicked out of this space, but I guess my luck ran out. Another space for great geometry with the triangular sculptural element on the side of the building. Had to manage a couple shots from the public sidewalk, not their private plaza.
540 w madison chicago
Then for the chaotic Thompson Center by Helmut Jahn.
james r thompson center, helmut jahn
james r thompson center, helmut jahn
After an afternoon break, we headed back out to the Studio Gang designed pavilion along the Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk. I’m shocked at how badly in shape this pavilion gets with each visit…
lincoln park pavilion, studio gang architects
I really wish they’d clean this up and refinish it. Not sure why that’s not in the park district’s plans. I guess it lends some texture to the images. Or if you catch the light right, you can still manage some clean shots.
lincoln park pavilion, studio gang architects
We ended the day with skyline views from North Avenue Beach. Check next week’s post for my shots from there, as I played with intentional camera movement.
Saturday we started with the Museum of Contemporary Art and the two great staircases here. The original designed by Josef Paul Kleihues.
museum of contemporary art chicago, josef paul kleihues
And the new by Johnston Marklee, which pays homage to the original.
museum of contemporary art chicago, johnston marklee
Back outside for the John Hancock Building.

And the Sofitel Chicago.
sofitel chicago
After lunch, the rain started coming down and we had to rearrange our days. We headed back to the Loop for some historic indoor locations, starting with the Palmer House Hilton. Here’s just one of the many fantastic staircases here. Can’t decide if I like color or black & white better.

A quick stop at the Washington/Wabash CTA station on our way to the Cultural Center.
washington wabash cta, exp.
Again taking cover from the rain at the Cultural Center. The south staircase is one of my favorite areas, with great overlapping angles everywhere.
chicago cultural cetner
The Tiffany dome was closed for a private event but you can still take a peek from the hall. Lately, I like playing with the reflections of the dome in the marble pillars.
chicago cultural cetner
A tougher area to photograph here is the hallway on the west side of the building connecting the north and south sides. It has these modern sculptural pieces above the walkway. Quite different than the rest of the building.
chicago cultural cetner
That ended our second day as the rain was just too much to get to our cityscape location. Instead, we grabbed a couple of drinks and dinner before our early start on Sunday morning.
We had intended to begin with skyline views from Lake Shore Drive Bridge but it was under construction. Instead, we ended up at Navy Pier with some pretty morning light on the nearly completed Vista Tower, now the world’s tallest skyscraper designed by a woman-led firm, Studio Gang Architects.

Just behind this view is the staircase to the Ferris Wheel. The raindrops and the soft morning light made for some nice abstracts and details

Just because the light was pretty on the bench 😉
navy pier
Onto Lake Point Tower. The north side of the building is in the shade but we lucked out with the buildings across the street reflecting the morning light on its facade.
lake point tower
A chilly walk to Milton Lee Olive Park for a skyline view and reflections of the city in the rain covered marble benches.
chicago skyline
After breakfast, we stopped by Burberry. Another great spot for reflections and geometry.

Details of the Wrigley Building…

More reflections, this time on Trump Tower.
trump tower, som, skidmore owings and merrill
The light on the AMA Plaza Garage was too good to pass up. Also, I love this garage for photos!

We stopped by Marina Towers but I didn’t get anything new I was loving, so onto the next location, Millennium Park. First, Anish Kapoor’s Cloudgate, or The Bean.

Pretty fall colors and light on the Frank Gehry designed Prizker Pavilion and BP Bridge.
millennium park, pritzker pavilion, frank gehry

Just across the street is the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building, more reflections…
And the final stop of the workshop, Aqua, also by Studio Gang Architects and the 2nd tallest skyscraper in the world designed by a woman.
aqua, studio gang architects, radisson blu aqua
Thanks for sticking around for this very long post! If you’re interested in upcoming workshops, head over to Photography Unfolded for the 2020 schedule.



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