illinois

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I just got back from my second trip to Chicago but my first real time visiting with a camera in my hand. I booked this trip with the intention to scout out photo locations for our upcoming photo workshop in Chicago. I wanted to get a feel for the city and the logicistics of getting around. So if you’re interested in joining me for a week in Chicago, click here.

In general, I loved visiting the city. Compared to New York City or even Washington DC, it’s a lot quieter as far as car noises and even people walking around. It’s so photogenic, meaning everywhere you turned could be a great new image. With the so many different elevated views, it was difficult to take a bad picture. I especially liked being among the skyscrapers. Even during the middle of the day, you can find some very interesting shadow play. Overall you can’t go wrong with a photo adventure in Chicago – even if it’s just for a few days.

Side note, they don’t call it the “windy city’ for nothing. Even on a nice, sunshining day, it can get really cold with the wind. I highly suggest packing at least gloves and a hat in your camera bag for those just in case moments. You don’t want to let being too cold be the reason why you don’t capture your shot. I was there at the very end of March and I wore my gloves everyday.

So we had a good 72 hours in Chicago packed full of photography. Here’s what we did:

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Hump Dayyyyy

I feel like I’ve been traveling a lot in 2019 so far. And if there’s anything that I’ve learned in these recent travels, it is never put your camera away. I try my best to always keep my camera in hand for those ‘just in case’ moments. I’ve also found that sometimes if my camera is already in my backpack, I may feel a little lazy to take it out to try to capture a moment and end up regretting it. So as a rule, I try to always have my camera ready and available.

Another consequence of always having your camera available is that you start taking random selfies like this. LOL. or even this one…

I’m not always on the lookout for puddes but if I see one, I do like to see if there’s anything interesting in the reflection. This one was taken just around the corner of our hotel. It’s actually the very last image that I captured on the trip and thought it was cool to see the edges of the tall buildings around me. To add a little foreground interest, I included my shoes in the images and at the very last moment threw up a peace sign. Just something fun but ended up giggling when I saw it as I was looking through my images once I arrived home.

But trust me. This is definietly not the last image I have from Chicago. I have so many more that I’m excited to share. PS I’m starting to work on a Chicago photo guide so if you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask. I’ll try my best to answer them in the guide.

Also excited for more travels in the next few months šŸ™‚

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/100th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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This image was taken at the same time as this one. It’s just a little more in focus. LOL.

So Andrew and I actually spent quite a bit of time looking for this spot. I knew there was a train station that had a pretty cool view of the Trump International Hotel and Tower but for some reason we couldn’t figure where. We walked up and down the street and thought the trains only ran parallel to it instead of appearing like it went straight for it.

So we kinda just gave up.

We spent the rest of the day taking other pictures, eating lots of food and eventually wanted to spend some time at Millennium Park. While walking over, we finally figured out the L train station and I was so excited. Since I had no plans of actually going anywhere, we figured we would just wait a little bit closer to sunset for the better light and went back to our plan of going to Millennium Park.

The park was great and all but it was sooo packed. It was difficult to comprehend what was actually going on just because there was so many people. Not my scene at all. I’m glad I got to scope it out but decided to just go back to the train station when it was around 5p when sunset was closer to 8p. I slapped on a neutral density filter to help with the long exposure and create the blur with the trains.

I think it worked out well. I captured these two trains separately and then just photoshopped them together to look like they were passing. I think it just made the one image a little more interesting.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 0.5 sec and ISO 3200 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Just another image from walking around downtown Chicago. For some reason, I ended up next to this parking garage several times. It wasn’t intentional but I thought it was such a cool wall. So the first day we were walking around, kinda close to sunset time and I noticed this row of trees. I loved the way the light was hitting it so I asked Andrew if we could stop to wait for someone to walk past. I don’t think he knew what I was talking about because he was looking around to see what I was seeing but we stopped immediately.

It wasn’t long before this lady with a red jacket walked by. It was perfect. I love that color pop and how it adds so much scale to the trees and wall. It really is scenes like this that makes me excited about street photography. It may seem so simple, but the timing seemed perfect.

As soon as I captured this, we started walking again to our final destination that night, Lou Malnati’s pizzeria. OMG so good!

On another note, I’ll be in Richmond, Virginia this weekend and I’m really looking forward to it. If you didn’t know, I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA a longggggg time ago and I haven’t been back to the capital city since. I know it’s changed a lot and am really looking forward to seeing all the changes. I definietly want to go check out the campus and all the apartments I used to live in just to see if any of those have changed. It’s going to be crazy and a trip down memory lane FOR SURE!

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/200th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Chicago is such a photogenic city. I felt like everywhere I turned there was a new image to capture and I probably took way more pictures than I had expected to prior to leaving for the trip. Which is 100% why I am so excited for the photo workshop in July. The whole time I was walking around the city, I just envisioned walking around with some of you and having so much fun with our cameras. I was so inspired by Chicago and the vibe that I think I found some great photo spots to help you create some stunning images. So if you’re interested in learning more about spending a week with me in Chicago, click here. Feel free to send me or Focus on the Story any questions you may have.

This image was captured a little bit after sunrise. To be honest, I was surprised by how many people were out there so early in the morning. A little surprised, but not really because I did notice a lot of people walking around with cameras. Even in the non-touristy spots, there were photographers everywhere. But I’m glad I was there in the early morning because this spot can get real packed, real quick. Also that amazing glow that was going on underneath the bean was stunning! As soon as I saw it, I just kept on hoping and waiting for someone to walk right underneath. This lady was under the bean all by herself taking pictures and I love how her outfit just matched that early morning light.

PS Can you spot me in the image? Andrew is standing just a few steps behind me. I love how reflective that surface is.

My camera setting for this image is F4 at 1/1600th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Now for my very special news:

I’m so excited to announce my very first travel workshop! Join me and my friends at Focus on the Story for a truly memorable and exciting week long photography workshop inĀ CHICAGO! I can already feel that it’s going to be fantastic. No matter your skill level, I will be leading you through daily photo excursions with one-on-one critiques to support group sessions that willĀ further your skills as a photographer. By the end of it all, you’ll definietly leave the windy city with images you’ll be proud of and lots of great stories to tell.

What makes this workshop different than others is that it’s a very “Go With the Flow” mentality. That means weĀ tailor each excursion depending on weather conditions AND what is best for the group. I’m here to help you to achieve your photography goals and it won’t happen with a cookie cutterĀ curriculum.

The focus of the workshop will be a mix of street, landscape and architectural photo opportunities. We are limiting the amount of participants so IĀ can make sure to focus on your needs and to create a strong shared experience among the participants.Ā So I hope you’re as pumped as I am because I can’t wait to hang out with you for a week in one of the most exciting cities in America.

Click here for all the full information and please let me know if you have any additional questions about any of this.

The above image was captured in O’hare airport. It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Chicago and looking forward to exploring the city with you all! My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/320th sec at ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.