The Explorographer
Chicago Illinois

Chicago Illinois ~ Part II ~ More Than a Green River

Welcome to part 2 of this 5 part series on Chicago Illinois.  When we left off we had just finished shooting “The Bean” and were headed up to Union Station to meet up with my fellow Arcanum  Master, Scott Norris.  Scott was taking the train in from Milwaukee and we hand about a 20 minute walk from the bean to Union Station to get him.  No photos to show as this would be our power walk part of the morning. Once we found Scott, we were all ready for a little wandering.  Scott suggested we head for the river walk and then up to a little place in the North called “Yolk” for some breakfast.  Right now the Chicago river walk is under a big expansion, which is going to make this city even MORE lovable.  We finally find an open walk way to the river near the Lake Street bridge.  We are heading east on the river and so was the “Skedaddle” tour boat. Along with the train crossing the bridge, I thought this made for a nice “Morning in Chicago” shot.

Chicago Illinois ~ River walk
Camera: Sony a7rII ~ Lens: Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS ~ ISO80 ~ 29.0 mm ~ f/8 ~ 1/160

This was quickly shaping up to be a beautiful day although we were a bit worried as it was 75F @ 8:30am!  One of the things you notices as you walk along the river is how green the water is.  Abnormally green it seems.  I cannot imagine how green it is for St. Patrick’s Day. One has to wonder of how the annual coloring of the river weighs on the local fish and wildlife.  I know the dye is non-toxic, but it does change the UV and light properties of the water itself? I mean, here it is, almost 3 months later, and this river is GREEN!

Chicago Illinois ~ River Walk
Camera: Sony a7rII ~ Lens: Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS ~ ISO320 ~ 16.0 mm ~ f/8 ~ 1/100

I am sure the powers that be are looking out for the river and lake and know what’s what.  It is quite astonishing though, the first time you see it.  Next stop, Marina City!

Chicago Illinois ~ Marina City
Camera: Sony a7rII ~ Lens: Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS ~ ISO320 ~ 18.0 mm ~ f/8 ~ 1/160

To me, one of the most unique structures in the city for a couple of reasons. The first reason it’s retro style!  With it’s 65 floors of rounded scalloped facade with the bottom 19 floors of this Chicago icon being a spiral parking garage!  And of course the second reason is that it was constructed in my birth year of 1964! Proving that many cool things came that year. 😉  The unique buildings are a mixed use development creating it’s own city within the city.  One of my favorites of the day.  Next stop would be breakfast at a cool place called “Yolk” at Streeterville.  I apologize for no foodie shots here. Were were famished and winded and the cell phones never made it out of the pocket.  FOOD was all we could think.  I had an amazing omelette that was more like a crust-less quiche than an omelette.  Totally amazing food here so if you are in any of their locations, be sure to make Yolk your stop for breakfast! (4 locations in downtown Chicago and more in Dallas, TX and Indianapolis, IN)  With breakfast out of the way, it was off to Buckingham Fountain to wait for any of the folks that wanted to join us for the day.  To get there, we would walk along the western shore of Lake Michigan.  This gave a wonderful view of the Marina there.

Chicago Illinois ~ Marina
Camera: Sony a7rII ~ Lens: Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS ~ ISO100 ~ 35.0 mm ~ f/9 ~ 1/1000

As well as a wonderful marina view, this walk also offers some incredible views of select parts of the Chicago skyline.  It’s seems that I have an affinity for the more organic buildings of Chicago. More about that though, in part 3 of this series.  Here is a shot of the Lake Point Tower condo building. (I am told Oprah has a floor here)

Chicago Illinois ~ Lake Point Tower
Camera: Sony a7rII ~ Lens: Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS ~ ISO100 ~ 34.0 mm ~ f/5 ~ 1/400

If you are a fan of architecture and black and white photography, check out the next part in this series where I will be featuring just that.  Finally, we make it to Buckingham Fountain, another staple if you are visiting Chicago.  I am sad we did not get to see this at night when it is spectacularly lit and synced with music.  I did manage to grab a few long exposure photos while waiting for others to show up for the walk.

Chicago Illinois ~ Buckingham Fountain
Camera: Sony a7rII ~ Lens: Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS ~ ISO50 ~ 24.0 mm ~ f/16 ~ 13sec

To learn more about this amazing landmark, please check out THIS LINK.

Chicago Illinois ~ Buckingham Fountain
Camera: Sony a7rII ~ Lens: Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS ~ ISO100 ~ 27.0 mm ~ f/16 ~ 13sec

The fountain was mobbed with people even though it does not look like it in my shots.  I used a Sony App on my camera called smooth water to do a long exposure median shot composed of many shots in succession which works well to remove people and moving objects in my shot.  It does leave you with only a .jpg but the quality is superb and little adjustment is needed to the final image right out of the camera.  It doesn’t work in all situations, but it did for this one.  After our 30 minute wait for others in the now 95F heat we decide to start the walk.  Dani, Greg, Scott, and I will take you on a tour of Chicago architecture both old and new and meet up with Deidre in my next installment!  Thanks for checking out my blog, please share this article with your networks as that is what keeps this site alive!


Explore. Photograph. Write. Repeat.

A multi-award winning travel photographer and mentor. Most known for his "abandonscape" images. Creator and curator of and

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