Chicago Workshop Recap 2022

We had a beautiful weekend for the Chicago workshop this year! And, a great group, of course. They traveled from near (Chicago area, Wisconsin, Michigan) and far (NYC, Iowa, San Fran area, Seattle area) to be here. A big thank you to all of them! I’m definitely lucky with such wonderful people signing up for my workshops, it makes the weekend enjoyable for everyone involved.

Let’s get started with a recap of the locations we explored over the weekend.

Day 1

Friday, we started in the south loop at the Spertus Institute, both inside and out. Always so many great angles here. Plus, some fun reflections which create layers and a little framing of some of the south loop buildings.

Onto Buckingham Fountain. TBH, not my favorite location to photograph but I was pretty happy with the water from the fountain framing NEMA in the south loop + I had fun creating abstracts of just the water spray.

We also managed to get into the atrium area of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There’s a nice staircase lookup. Was happy to catch this sunburst from one corner of the skylight.

After lunch, we stopped by the Art Institute. Some nice shadowplay throughout the museum!

We then spent a couple of hours in Millennium Park – The Bean (Anish Kapoor), Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge (both Frank Gehry).

Had fun with some ICM on the sides of The Bean creating some colorful & silhouetted takes on the many people getting their selfies.

Always love when the stainless steel of the Pritzker Pavilion catches the colors of the sky or seats. In this case it’s a nice red/white/blue color scheme with the curved seats of the pavilion creating a nice leading line.

After Millennium Park we made our way to Lakeshore East. As we approached there was some nice, dramatic light on the Aon Center & Two Prudential Plaza.

Across the street, the BCBS Building. I always like the canopy reflections in the pillars at the entrance. Gives a bit of an otherworldly vibe, exaggerated by emphasizing the blue reflected in the stainless steel.

Next door, Studio Gang’s Aqua. Always a crowd favorite. How can it not be with those fantastic curvy balconies? On the north side of the building, there’s this one area that kind of looks like a teardrop to me.

Black & white vs. color for comparison.

One of the latest Lakeshore East additions and another Studio Gang design – St Regis Chicago. The world’s tallest building in the world designed by a woman and the 3rd tallest building in Chicago (Sears Tower & the Aon Center hold #1 & #2).

Lots of fun zig-zagging patterns here.

More fun with ICM…

After a short break and dinner, our last stop of the day was the Chicago Theater. More ICM. My favorite way to capture the theater at night.

Day 2

Saturday we started our day in Lincoln Park at another fantastic Studio Gang design – the South Pond Pavilion. Always great patterns here.

Onto the Gold Coast and the Sofitel Hotel. This location always draws a lot of attention with people wondering what the heck we’re doing swarming the entrance with big cameras, staring up into the building. Luckily, the hotel staff is always good with us getting close to the building for great reflection shots. Its curved wall makes for fun, layered, warped reflections of the tower portion reflecting in its surface.

A short walk away, the John Hancock Building. One of my favorite areas of this building is the round parking garage. Here, I paired it with an older building just east of it. The design, color, and curvy/grid contrasts work well together.

Onto another weekend favorite, the Museum of Contemporary Art and its two fantastic staircases. The original Josef Paul Kleihues always has that wow factor.

I made a shot with my iPhone that I attempted to replicate with my “real” camera. That took many tries! It’s always interesting how it’s sometimes so much easier getting a composition I like with the phone and then I struggle to find it again with my camera. I finally found something close…

After lunch, we worked our way south along Michigan Ave. First, a stop by Burberry for its great geometry and reflections.

Onto the Apple Store (more fun reflections) – I did not get anything new I liked. So, across the street to the Wrigley Building for an opportunity to capture curves & angles.

Moving a little west along the river, Trump Tower (SOM – Skidmore Owings & Merrill). Another great reflection spot. So many layers!

The last stop before a little break, the iconic Marina Towers designed by Bertrand Goldberg. Stuck again, it was time for some ICM. First time I’ve done that here, so it was fun!

After our break, we photographed the Washington/Wabash station + the views from the Adams/Wabash stop. I didn’t capture anything new I was thrilled about so you’ll have to follow along on Instagram and the Facebook group to see what the students got 😉

We then grabbed dinner and made our way to the final stop of the day, the Calder Flamingo for some night shots. Here’s a look at the same angle – straight and with ICM. Which do you prefer?

Day 3

Onto our final day, Sunday! We began with another group favorite – a private hour inside the Rookery for views of that fantastic Oriel Staircase, top to bottom.

Plus, a couple of details.

Time for some great geometry with the cantilevered balconies at 235 Van Buren designed by Perkins + Will.

Next up, the Sears Tower. Some ICM of the sculptural wall by Olafur Eliasson titled “Atmospheric Wave Wall” – inspired by the changing light and motion of Lake Michigan. And one of my favorite ways to photograph the actual building – reflections of it in a building across the street. We lucked out with some great clouds and dramatic light

Now, for something old – Chicago’s Union Station. Some shadowy details outside and staircase details inside.

Here, you see the beautiful restoration Goettsch Partners did of the Grand Hall.

After lunch, we headed to the Cultural Center and started with another restoration, this time of the dome on the north side of the building.

Another lookup shot of the ceiling north of this dome.

Our next stop was another older interior, the Palmer House Hilton. Which, we actually got kicked out of. Frist time that’s happened despite me taking groups there for years. Oh well, the students got their shots. Again, nothing I loved of mine. So, onto the Picasso sculpture in Daly Plaza.

Once again, defaulting to ICM because I was feeling stuck and have never tried it here. So glad I did because this next shot is one of my favorites from the weekend!

The ICM view from the backside wasn’t too bad either.

What I love about ICM is that it’s so unpredictable and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to repeat the results. So you can get something truly unique.

We had a couple more stops for our final day – the Lake & Wells parking garage for those iconic birds-eye-views of the ‘L’ (we also got kicked out of here, lol). Again, luckily after everyone got their shots. It’s always an adventure! I opted to get some shots of the surrounding buildings instead of the ‘L’.

Our final stop of the day was Calatrava’s “Constellation”. I tried some ICM shots but everything was very meh, so I didn’t edit anything. As I’ve mentioned before, ICM has a very high failure rate, so you’re not always successful. Next time… No doubt I’ll be back 😉

Stay tuned for the student images next!

Oh, and here’s our group photo! Thanks, all, for joining me!



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