Road Trip! Chicago (2)

After our marathon walk all over downtown, I was sore and I think Hana was too. We decided to take it easy-ish, and after a nice Dunkin Donuts breakfast took the car out and drove up to North Avenue beach.

Hana was really excited to see a proper beach, and North Avenue Beach didn’t disappoint.

Note to self: when shooting with the FG under bright conditions, it’s important to stop down a bit… I think I just left the aperture at f/1.8 and shot away in Aperture Priority mode all day. :facepalm:

I chalk this up to spending all that time on the boat yesterday just snapping away with the D7000.

We hung around on the beach for awhile. It was a bit overcast, and a bit chilly, but still lovely.

MashaAllah, my wife is beautiful. SubhanAllah. Alhamdulillah. Allahu Akbar.

I couldn’t get over how beachy North Avenue Beach looked, but how non-beachy it smelled… White sand beaches without that salty, fishy smell? All the other beaches I’ve been to, sandy, rocky, or otherwise, were on oceans (or small, manmade lakes) and had a smell: oceans smell of the saltwater; manmade lakes smell of the algae or whatever it is. But this beach: no smell.

Strange.

There’s a little jetty off to one side and we walked out to the end to check out the view.

And what a view!

After our time on the beach, we thought for awhile about what to do and realized that we hadn’t done any shopping for gifts yet, and needed some ointment for blisters and all, so we went back to the hotel and re-valeted the car and walked down to hop on the double-decker bus again, as it stopped near to the hotel and right out front of Water Tower Place, the fancy mall on the Magnificent Mile.

In all my time in Chicago, I kept looking for graffiti and kept looking for graffiti, to mostly no avail. Alhamdulillah.

We picked up the bus out front of the Hilton next door and rode it for awhile, down around the museums, up Lake Shore, past the Navy Pier, and then to Water Tower Place.

After a Tuesday with only digital pictures, I decided to go all film on Wednesday. The roll of Precisa finished on the way to pick up the bus, and I loaded in a roll of Fuji Superia X-TRA 400.

Note to self: when using 400 speed film, it’s very important to pay attention to your apertures.

I grossly overexposed virtually the entire roll of Fuji and it’s been really difficult pulling out usable results from the scans, but I did manage to finally get a decent-ish shot of the fountain…

I was still really worn out and didn’t shoot much on the way to the mall, but I did manage to spot and shoot this guy. I’m not sure where this was, maybe out front of Navy Pier.

I like his posture, like chilled out, but impatiently waiting at the same time.

Properly exposed, the Superia 400 is probably a decent film. Good thing I have another roll to try.

So we went did our shopping—picked up a bunch of candy for different family members, and I got some for myself, but Hana didn’t get any for herself: may Allah bless her! as soon as I finished filling a sack for Mom, I started filling one for myself and sorta assumed (didn’t even think about it actually) that Hana would get some candy for herself too, but she didn’t as she was busy filling sacks for her sons, parents, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and nieces.

After the gift-buying, we hopped back on the bus, but were feeling a bit cold and so we sat on the bottom, and I was able to really get my street shooting on.

(I’m presenting these a little bit out of order: I got some good ones and some not quite so good ones, and I want to pretend that I got better all day…)

Many times, I was just half a second late getting all the elements aligned properly. Mind you, this was the first time I really got my nerve and groove down with some street shooting, and even then only in a creepy way, since I was safely inside a tourist bus and shooting through the windows.

InshaAllah, one day I’ll have the confidence to photography whatever (and whoever) I like, within reason, and in public spaces.

And maybe one day, I’ll get my focus nailed properly.

50mm really is a bit too narrow for street shooting. I’ve found myself really wanting something more like 35mm (like the 24mm on a 1.5 crop). Maybe one day I’ll pick up a 35mm lens, or maybe I’ll go out with the 24 on the FG more often.

All of these were insanely overexposed and required much post work to get to this usable state. Almost all had a yellow cast on one side, with I guess indicates where the shutter was open the longest, maybe? Allahu Alim, and a bunch of photographers and people more knowledgable about things like this than me.

But in the warmish safety of the bus, f/1.8, 1/1000th, and iso 400 was almost right. Not entirely, but almost.

The tour guide on this bus was not the most interesting or inspiring speaker.

I’m particularly happy with this one. The framing and timing isn’t quite perfect, but it’s close.

All in all, I’m happy with my first attempt at street shooting, even though I did it in the creepiest possible manner, almost.

We rode the bus the rest of the way around to the hotel, had a rest, and then went out to pray Maghrib at the downtown masjid. We walked past it about 3 times, only to find that they lock it up at 7pm, and so there’s no Maghrib prayed there.

Alhamdulillah.

So we prayed at the hotel and then walked around the corner for some deep dish at Lou Malnati’s: yum, and sadly no pictures.

So that was our second (and last) full day in Chicago. Tomorrow, we’ll roll down to Memphis for the night, then back to Dallas on Friday.

Chicago is a great town, and we had a great time there, much different than the times I spent there when I lived in Illinois all those years ago.

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