Private Photowalk – The Loop, Millennium Park, Lakeshore East

It’s been a busy summer for private photowalks! This time around I met up with two ladies from Philly who either have never been to Chicago or haven’t been here in many years. So much fun having the opportunity to show them some of Chicago’s best architecture.

We started with the relatively new Calatrava sculpture, Constellation. Generally, best in the morning this time of year to get some light on the sculpture.

The red is always a nice contrast to the blue of the River Point building in the background.

Next, moving from new to old, we walked over to Union Station. Once again, the light was only hitting a small area at the entrance. Always good for those warm/coll contrasts of sun/shade.

Onto another newer public art piece, the Atmospheric Wave Wall by Olafur Eliasson on the south facade of the Willis Tower. The concave nature of the sculpture makes for some interesting depth to the wall. You can get varying patterns and depth depending on where you stand in relation to the wall. It’s always a fun one to photograph!

Another public art stop, the Calder Flamingo. Always a favorite for the contrast between the bright Calder red against the black Mies van der Rohe buildings. Not to mention the curves of the sculpture against the grid of the buildings.

After a lunch break, we headed to the Palmer House Hilton for some staircase photos.

One more indoor location, the Chicago Cultural Center. Previously the public library, then abandoned for many years, then what it is today. The south end of the building is my favorite. There are these great zig zagging staircases in this white marble with some really pretty mosaics. This shot is from those staircases looking out the arched window. I liked the grided window framing of the curved exterior detailing and fire escape across the street. A nice layered mix of linearity and curves, simple patterns and ornateness.

Of course, you can’t pass up grabbing a shot of the world’s largest Tiffany Glass Dome.

Now, for Millennium Park. The skies were blue with some nice clouds so I decided to focus my attention on just the top of the Bean and the reflected clouds. Makes the real name of the sculpture live up to its name, Cloudgate.

Just east of the Bean, is the Frank Gehry designed Pritzker Pavilion. A nice mix of cures and geometric shapes.

In this shot, the blue of the sky created blue cast on the stainless steel surface, which I exaggerated slightly in post. Plus, the black & white for comparison.

Continuing to move east over the BP Bridge. I typically have a hard time finding shots I like here but the way the light was hitting the curves and reflecting some of the nearby buildings and sky, there was this soft, subtle warm/cool contrast that was really pretty.

I also liked how distorted the reflections were in the panels. They kind of feel like ripples in the water.

I converted to black & white as well but prefer the pastel color versions. I did a bit of a more contrasty, moody B&W conversion and the attention is more strongly focused on the texture of the stainless steel panels.

Our final stop of the day was Studio Gang’s Aqua. Part hotel, part apartment building and part condos. It’s those curvy balconies that make it so fun to shoot. When you get close and use a telephoto, preferably 300mm or longer you can get shots solely show the curves devoid of the windows and balcony railings.

Once again there was this contrast in warm vs cool tones due to the sun illuminating only part of the building while the rest remained in the shade.

One more version with a moody and dramatic black & white conversion.

We have a few more good months for outdoor shooting, so if you find yourself in Chicago and want a private photowalk of downtown or other areas off the beaten path, just send me an email ( and we’ll tailor things to your preferences.



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