Our first full day in Chicago began with a much-deserved lie-in…

Here’s an early-morning almost pano from the hotel room window…

Actually, that first one might be late afternoon from the previous day… no matter, on with the story!

Once we got moving, we went for a nice breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and then headed over to check out the Bean before it got all crowded.

In all my visits to Chicago, I’d never been able to see Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate: it was always closed, first to grind out the seams a year or so after it opened, then to be cleaned or something, and again to be cleaned or something. It was great to finally see it up close and in person, and even better to get there early, as we had it practically to ourselves and the light was just great.



Here, as a bit of an excursus, let us take a quick look at two pictures of the bean, one shot with the D7000 and 24mm lens, the other shot with the LC-A. The subjects are the same, the angle of view is close (24mm on the D7000 is ~36mm; the LC-A has a 32mm lens), and so we can just compare/contrast the output.

First, the digital version. I initially discarded this and only decided to process and share it when I found the film version…

And now the film version. The film used was Rollei Digibase CN 200, processed at home and scanned with the Scan-O-Matic 7000.

The color is different, as is the crop. And there’s a bit of lint and some dust on the film version. But which do you prefer? Why?


After the Bean, we wandered around and around, and ended up walking to Ohio Beach. It was nice to be on a beach again, but we were both exhausted from the two hours of walking we started the day with.

After the beach, we wandered around the Navy Pier before it opened. There was I thought I took a bunch of pictures out on the pier, but nothing came out, really.

I got in touch with my old friend Joe and we made arrangements to meet up for lunch and a bit of a hangout before he left Chicago for Burning Man.

We had a couple of hours, so we decided to take an Architectural River Cruise. Now, I set out that morning with the iPhone, the LC-A and the D7000, but after the Bean, the rest of the day was all digital. It was nice to just be able to snap away and I shot some 300 pictures on the boat.

Note that I’m only talking about it and not sharing any pictures.

The tour itself was great, and I can’t recommend it highly enough: if you have the slightest interest in architecture, it’s a must-do in Chicago.*

But as far as picture-taking goes, digital just makes it too easy to click away without thinking, composing, and/or simply paying attention, and so I ended up with not much worth sharing at all, not even a decent picture of my darling, adorable wife.

After the boat, we walked back to Millennium Park and met up with Joe at a soup/sandwich place. We grabbed lunch to go and walked into a little park next to the Art Institute to eat and chat a bit.

Love you, Joe!

After lunch, we walked over to the State Street Gallery at Robert Morris College to see an art show with works by Thom Whalen (my graphic design professor), Leslie Stalter (with whom I never took a class, but who came to my 27th birthday party and actually tried to bake a strawberry cake with vanilla icing, but burned it and so brought some strawberry beer and vanilla porter instead…), and Mike Miller (my old friend and painting/printmaking professor and Art mentor). Some nice work from everyone, but I didn’t shoot anything. I was pretty wiped out from all the walking.

After the gallery, we said goodbye to Joe and went back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

After a long nap, we wondered about what to do and decided to walk over to the Sears Willis tower and go up to the observation deck for a bit.

It wasn’t a particularly short walk, and we arrived maybe a half hour before sunset. Note to self: a circular polarizer + tinted windows makes for some interesting rainbows in reflective surfaces.

It’s hard to get pictures of people looking at things when you want both the person and the thing they’re looking at in the photo… The Hanabibti looks much too pensive here.

The 103rd floor has these plexiglass boxes that jut out of the side and that you can step into and shoot a selfy or something.

There were loads of people in line, and I wish I’d shot some of their selfy antics… One girl in particular was there with her family, and she wasn’t enjoying herself at all, but when she stepped into the box and pointed her phone at herself, she suddenly perked up and looked quite thrilled, until she finished clicking the shutter, and then she went right back to being a slumped-over, petulant teenager.

I do a fair interpretation of it, and should probably shoot a video of myself doing it or something.

When our turn came, a nice muslim lady in the line behind us took our picture, but she was a bit short to get a good angle, and so a nice, corn-fed Illinois kid snapped this for us….

While they were busy taking picture of us, I shot this one of the free-fall.


And then the sun went down, and the lights in the city started coming on.

There was a pedicab out front of the tower and I thought of jumping in, but didn’t want my wife to think I was weak.

Ends up, she wanted to suggest that we grab a cab, but didn’t want to appear needy…

Note to self (2): When you want something, ask for it; when you have a (reasonable) idea, share it.

After that, we rushed back to the hotel for Maghrib and some not-so-good room service. The meat options were plenty, and likely good; the vegetarian options are slim to none, so we had some mushroom bisque and a cheese plate.

It was only when I laid down for sleep that I realized I hadn’t shot much film, and I resolved to make Chicago (2) more film centric. We’ll see how that turned out tomorrow.

So that was the first full day in Chicago. It wore us out. One more day in the Chi before we start slowly heading back to Texas.


*I looked for a link and there are a few… we picked up a ticket from a kiosk about 1/3 the way down Navy Pier, and there’s a big one right out front of Navy Pier for the same company. They’re good, and there are others that are likely also good.

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