A couple of warmer days and some rain teamed up to mean that we started 2011 in Chicago without any snow on the ground (appart from a few places where it was piled up). Lake Michigan is mostly free of ice at the moment too. This shot was taken on the lake shore at Fullerton Avenue. The scene is back-lit by the lights of the Chicago skyline (which looks a bit like this from here). The long exposure gives the lake a slightly mist like appearance, as the waves washed around the stones and posts.
From the first time that I drove into Chicago back in April 2003 Lake Michigan has captivated me; and on that visit Jan and I stumbled upon Montrose Point, a place that has since become a particular favourite of mine—walking out onto the break-wall surrounded on all sides by the lake gives a feeling of peace that is hard to come by in the city.
Chicago skyline from Montrose Point, 2003
Montrose beach, 2006
Wave ice, December 2010
Yesterday Jan and I visited the Art Institute of Chicago to catch their excellent exhibit, 'Looking after Louis Sullivan: Photographs, Drawings, and Fragments', before it closed. This exhibit included a selection of the amazing photographs of Sullivan's buildings that were taken by Richard Nickel, and also photographs by Aaron Siskind and John Szarkowski, both of whom I was previously less aware of. I am a huge fan of Louis Sullivan's work, unfortunately all too many of his buildings in Chicago have fallen to 'progress' or accidents such as the 2006 fire at the Dexter Building (aftermath pictured).
"When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn't plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world's first antibiotic"
— Alexander Fleming
I got to head out with Tim again this morning. After a stop in Wilmette at the Bahá'í House of Worship and Gilson Park we went to the Dam No.1 Woods on the Des Plaines River. I'd visited here before in the winter and got some good shots so I was pleased to get to go back. Tim has been renting a Sigma 8–16 mm lens, and he was kind enough to let me try it out again. This lens definitely is great for certain situations and not so good for others—I think it suited the woods well. This shot was taken lying on my back in the middle of the trail. Fortunately there were very few folk around so there was no one to see me.People always tell tales of the mob burying bodies in the woods at the Skokie lagoons on the Chicago River, and Tim and I were joking about finding bodies in the woods as were bushwhacking through the brush… on the way back to the car we found a knife stuck into a tree at the side of the trail! The scary thing was that neither of us had noticed this on our way past when we were walking the other way.
I went for a walk on the wooded island in Jackson Park with Tim this morning. It was very cold, but the sun was out and the light was nice. I'd decided to focus on trees and shadows as I did a few weeks ago, but the outcome was very different this time as the trees on the wooded island are much older and more close packed than the ones in Lincoln Park. I found myself concentrating on branch structures or bark textures.
I love this pair of bronze tigers. The nearly 3000 year-old grins are something else. I enjoyed exploring the Freer Gallery—we had gone to see Whistler's Peacock Room, which was amazing as expected, but they also had some spectacular ancient artefacts. The museum was relatively empty (it was a monday morning), which gave me time and space to get some photographs.
This photo is taken looking into a little building in the vegetable garden at Jefferson's Monticello estate (the exterior of the building is visible in this photo). The window offers a beautiful view to the south east, over the Virginia countryside. When I was taking this photo I was thinking that it would be a great black and white shot. As it turns out I much prefer the result in colour. We didn't spend very long in Virginia, but I would love to go back and explore some more.