Private Workshop – River North, The Loop, Lakeshore East

It’s been a busy few weeks with private workshops. This time I spent a few hours with a father/son duo. We spent our time exploring some urban views from parking garages to a mix of modern and historic architecture.

The first stop was the Kinzie & Wells parking garage for some elevated views of the ‘L’. I didn’t shoot here to give them a chance to get shots, as there are only a couple of areas to stand, and there’s a bit of wait time for the ‘L’ to go by.

Next, we headed over to Calatrava’s Constellation sculpture. By the time we got here the little bit of sun we had seemed to fade for the day. So I used the cloudy sky as negative space and focused on some of the details of the sculpture for a more graphic take this time around.

I prefer the B&W versions but this last shot was pretty good in color too.

Onto another parking garage, Lake & Wells. I didn’t want to change my lens so I stuck with my 70-300mm and got some closer detail shots of the tracks and smaller portions of the train cars going by.

We stopped by the Hampton Inn for the staircase but I didn’t shoot here this time, gave them the space to get the shots they wanted as it’s pretty cramped in this stairwell.

However, we did stop next door at the Carbon & Carbide Building and home to the new Pendry Hotel. A beautiful Art Deco gem. We spent a little time photographing the lobby.

My shots were focused on shooting the ceiling and cornices; great detailing here!

Then a stop by Aqua in Lakeshore East. The light had an interesting quality that day…hazy, diffuse. So the building looked a little different than any other time I’ve photographed it. It seemed to take on this soft blue, hazy quality.

The color version was interesting but I think I prefer the B&W.

Next, the Cultural Center. A couple of shots of the north staircase…

Kind of crazy how differently the light affects the stone depending on which side is being photographed. There’s a warmer/orange quality in the wide shot versus the cooler tones from the underside, as you see in the two shots below.

Then, of course, the Tiffany Glass Dome. The light coming through was really pretty. I’ve shot this wide so many times I decided to zoom in on a detail for this first shot.

Also, because I’m running out of new ways to see this, I decided to lay on the ground underneath the dome and play with ICM, zooming the lens during a longer exposure.

Next up, the Art Institute because there are 3 great staircases in here. Sadly, one of them was boarded up because of a new installation going in. It’s my favorite of the three so I’m curious what’s going on here. I’ll have to stop back in soon to see.

Onto the two we did see. The first is Renzo Piano’s design in the modern wing. It was insanely busy when we were there so the focus was on the underside and playing with the geometry and textural differences of the wood and metal of the design. Much more apparent in the B&W version.

The Grand Staircase is the other area we photographed. Though, again, because it was so busy, decided to focus our attention on ceiling arches in the area.

Our final stop of the day was the Palmer House, so glad this has reopened! The staircase on the southwestern side of the lobby is, to me, the most difficult to photograph. When I was there a few days before this visit, I made a similar photo with my phone but failed to do it with my “real” camera. It took me awhile to find the composition again but here it is.

I liked how the beams create this crisscrossing shape that frames the curvy staircase and railing. A good contrast between curves and lines as well. I also went higher key by overexposing a bit in camera and then even more so in post-production. It’s a very dark area so the processing is a bit deceiving. You can see what the light is really like in the shot below.

Still using my 70-300mm I focused my attention on the overlapping curvy handrails and the curvy underside of part of the staircase. I rarely like shots of these interiors in color because I hate the wallpaper and the intense tungsten hues from the lights. But it worked better for this shot than the B&W. Seemed to give it a warmth and mystery that was lost in the B&W conversion.

My final shot of the day was my favorite staircase in here, located on the northwest side of the lobby. And because I’ve shot this countless times I, once again, decided a little ICM would be fun.

Might just be my favorite shot of the day. Love the curves and motion and can’t decide I prefer color or B&W.

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