Category Archives: Trip Report

Chicago

Ok – it has been a while since I created and posted a blog. I probably overdid my first one reporting on my photo workshop to the Grand Tetons. I have several blog posts to catch up on so I hope by the end of the year I will be able to catch up. I will have to continue to fight against the round tuits.

My wife, Sara, attends a conference every summer as a board member and I tag along, as it is nice to visit new locations and photograph while Sara attends the conference. This past July we went to Chicago for 6 days and stayed at the Sheraton Grand on the Chicago River. This hotel was ideally central to the locations I wanted to photograph.

When I go to a new location, particularly to photograph, I struggle with what local spots to go and photograph other than just the tourist areas especially since time is limited. I do the usual research using Google search and picking up travel books at the library. This just seems to scratch the surface, as the locations that are appealing aren’t easily found and referenced. This is where one I book I bought called “The Photographer’s Guide to Chicago” by Chris Smith helped a lot. Not only did he describe the great locations to shoot in Chicago, he also gave the specific locations with links to Google maps and described when the best time to shoot and with what lenses. This helped enormously as I was able to save the locations on my Google map app on my iPhone and refer to it as I made by daily treks around Chicago.

In addition, Out of Chicago, sponsored a Chicago Water Taxi architecture tour during a day I was going to be there. I signed up and spent a day with a group of photographers led by Angie McMonigal taking photographs as we traveled by water taxi to various locations.

I have organized my Chicago gallery in the Destinations menu with four sub galleries. The first sub gallery is the Abstract gallery. This series focuses on a sense of form, color, pattern and curves than it does on context.

The second sub gallery, Architecture, showcases the beauty of the Chicago buildings as I wondered around the streets of Chicago. This is one of my favorites from this series.

The third gallery, Cityscapes, is a collection showing views from various locations (including our hotel room) around Chicago , such as the 94th floor of 360 Chicago, along the river and long exposure images from along streets and from parking garages. This is my favorite long exposure taken of the “L” taken from a parking garage at the corner of Wells and Kinzie Streets.

The final Chicago gallery, Urban Quilt, depicts the various geometric patterns, forms, shapes and lines created by the Chicago buildings. This is a term I like and describes the images in this gallery. This term is used by Angie as it looks like a multitude of patchwork patterns used to make quilts.

All in all, a productive trip photographically as I continue to learn to see creatively.

Also posted in Destinations

Iowa Cornfields

I had a business trip to University of Iowa last week and when I drove from the airport to the hotel I was enamored with the miles and miles of luscious green cornfields.  I was determined to take photographs of the cornfields while I was there.  Since sunset wasn’t until 8:45p, I took the opportunity to take a drive out in the country after dinner a few nights.  I had a vision to photograph the cornfields with the golden sunset light, an old red barn, distinctive rows of corn stalks and puffy clouds.  Well, nature didn’t come up with my order, but it did present some alternative opportunities.

I would drive out North of Iowa City after dinner scouting out locations.  First night was not successful in finding a location worthy of stopping.  The second night I came across the Sutliff Historic Bridge.  An old bridge that opened in 1898 to allow the farmers to cross the Cedar River to deliver their produce to Iowa City.  Originally, there was a ferry that crossed the river at this location and the story is told that a sandbar formed in the river preventing the ferry from crossing the river.  As a result this bridge was built.  It is now a walking bridge with a tavern on the East side.  There are picnic tables on the bridge for drinking and eating.

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On the second night of driving I was not successful in finding a location that met my criteria for photographing.  As a result of being unfamiliar with the Iowa countryside, I almost didn’t go out the third night.  I decided to give it a try.  I did end up stopping at two locations North of Solon, IA.  The second location was my favorite and somewhat challenging.  I didn’t find distinctive rows of corn, but I did take photographs of a cornfield that was separated by a waterway.  These are planned grassy areas winding across fields to control erosion.  Otherwise, on a sloped field, the fields would wash downhill, losing precious soil. I did get a red barn, it wasn’t an old red barn, but a red barn nevertheless.

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Off to the left of this photograph I attempted to take images showing the farm gate and fence along the edge of the cornfield with the parallel road to lead the eye into the distance.   This was my best attempt at it.

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Finally, the Sunset was starting to get interesting, but the foreground wasn’t all that great.  I picked a spot across the road that had vines growing in the barb wire fence and used that for my lower foreground.  The Sun came out briefly and I was able to capture this image to wrap it up for the evening.  These three images were taken within a span of 20 minutes.

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– Ron