Private Workshop – The Loop, Lakeshore East

It’s been a summer of private workshops, which are always a great time! This time, it was with a wife/husband duo and we spent a day in the sweltering heat we’ve been having checking out a bunch of Loop and Lakeshore East locations.

First up, Calatrava’s Constellation. I’ve been here a lot lately and I’m still finding new angles. Just a reminder why it’s good to go back…different time of day, different light. Not to mention you gotta push yourself even harder to find an angle or perspective you haven’t shot yet!

I think this first take was my favorite from the morning stop.

Shooting into the light and further blowing out the sky in post-production to create that negative space for just the tip of the sculpture to shine. Typically, I prefer this sculpture in color because it’s so vibrant, but I kinda like it in B&W this time too.

One more from here. I’ve never been there when its been casting its own shadow on itself. So, here you go…

Onto Union Station and jumping to something “old”. Though recently renovated/restored by Goettsch Partners. It looks fantastic inside here!

But first, the entrance. The columns on the exterior were partially being lit by the sun and partially in the shade so there’s this great contrast between warm and cool tones. I’m a little pissed at myself because I really like this shot and composition but it’s a little blurry, I was rushing too much. Let’s hope I can get back and shoot this again under similar lighting conditions.

Another version from the entrance with the lights. In both cases, great repetitive patterns.

Inside, just one shot, but both color and B&W. A good use of framing, layering, patterns, and symmetry. However, as I mention often in my teaching, typically only one of these compositional ideas is top of mind, the others are secondary or subconscious. In this case, what first drew me to make this image was the framing of the arched ceiling and its opening framing the arch in the background. Next, the symmetry occurred to me. And only in editing did the layering and patterns become obvious.

Off to the Sears Tower. There’s this one spot I like to shoot the reflection of the tower in on the west side of the building. I’ve made similar shots to this on many occasions. Interestingly, they tend to feel different mainly because of different weather and lighting conditions. It was crazy humid this day and it seemed to affect the image in a way I haven’t experienced quite like this before. There’s a softness to it, at least in the color image.

The B&W shot was from a slightly different area than I usually shot. I liked the ‘C’ at the bottom…’C’ for Chicago, get it, ha.

On the southside of the Sears Tower is Olafur Eliasson’s Atmospheric Wave Wall. I’ve been shooting this a lot lately and, in all honesty, I’m running out of new ways to shoot this. When that happens, I default to intentional camera movement (ICM). You might think it’s gimmicky but it’s definitely a different way to see the space. And this location lends itself well to this type of shooting. There’s a high failure rate shooting this way but it’s fun to experiment. I did both zooming and panning to create these.

A short walk south is 235 Van Buren, from very close to the south facade and its cantilevered balconies the light was really hot. So, I took advantage of this to make a really graphic shot of this by exposing for the highlights.

There was a slight golden tone on the balconies which I enhanced in post to make it even more dramatic. I typically convert images of this location to B&W but I liked the warmth paired with the deep blacks.

Walking to our next location I looked back at the Sears Tower and liked the warm reflection it was casting on itself. I zoomed in tight and cropped further to make the shot even more geometric.

The next location was the Calder Flamingo. If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know this is a location I visit very very often. This visit I decided to zoom in tighter than normal and focus only on the angles of orange and leave out any background. Great geometry, filling the frame, shadows, and dramatic light. Plus, there’s some texture with the bolts.

I’m happy the Palmer House is back open! Here’s one take on my favorite of the three staircases in here. I really can’t decide whether I prefer color or B&W. There’s a warmth to the color that I like but then the patterns stand out more in B&W. In my opinion, both work…it’s a mood thing.

Making our way to Lakeshore East, we took a little break on the north side of the Aon Center. An area of this building I don’t think I’ve ever photographed. Kind of shocking, actually. But in taking that break and just taking in the scene we noticed some really simple but great patterns.

I particularly like the wider shot with the chairs. There’s a contrast between the regular pattern which is disrupted by the erratic placement of the chairs.

Then a lookup, symmetrical shot of the corner of the building.

Another shot noticed just from sitting down and looking around for awhile. Some interesting reflections and great light behind us.

Just across the street was Aqua, which I shot with my phone and got a shot I really liked. Why in the world I didn’t shoot it with my “real” camera is beyond me, so moving along, our final stop was the St Regis. Nice clouds briefly reflecting here, giving an added layer to the shot. I also love the mix of lines and curves in this building.

Another fun private workshop covering a lot of ground. Glad we all survived the 90+ degree heat and what felt like 100% humidity!



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