Chicago Skyline"That Toddlin' Town" Hello again,
I have not blogged for several weeks and it is my intent to do so more often. Over the past month I have redesigned my website (and I still have more changes to make), celebrated my birthday (Oct 23rd), and over the past week my youngest daughter came to visit. Finally, I also bought new ski boots for the upcoming ski season. My old boots were packed out and they were also too big as advised by a PSIA examiner when I achieved my Child Specialist I certification last season. In addition to photography I am also a professional ski instructor. But enough of this. Let's get back to my passion and profession --- Professional Photography.
Last month I photographed my brother's wedding which was held in Chicago. I have always wanted to photograph the skyline of a major city so I took advantage of the opportunity when I was there. I was most fortunate to have created a night photograph of the city. Since I travelled by air to my brother's wedding, I had minimal equipment with me, i.e., I did not have a tripod. So I had to improvise. I was outside on the 18 floor of the Public Hotel. I placed the camera on the safety railing, and held the camera in place for this 8 second exposure. I set everything manually, including the white balance which was around 2800 Kelvin to offset the incandescent lights of the city, and also to bring out the blue of the sky and the blue light on what I think is the John Hancock building. I can't remember. I also made sure that the camera sensor was at 90 degrees to the skyline to eliminate the "converging verticals" that would otherwise happened if the sensor was at an oblique angle. I would have liked to have had a perspective control lens, but like I said earlier I brought minimal equipment with me.
This photograph is one of my all time favorites. I never tire of looking at it. Looking out onto the skyline and the lighted windows in the buildings. I ask myself who are these people. What are their names. What do they do for a living. Since I am a country guy, viewing this photograph mesmerizes me. I am so far removed from a places like this. I live on top of a mountain in Nelson County, Virginia, which is where I am typing this blog. Sometimes I think I would like living in a large city where you can walk almost anywhere or take the metro. To be able to go to an opera without having to travel around 40 miles would be great. Or would it? I live in what I think is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I am high atop Devil's Knob where I can view the Rockfish Valley or the Shenandoah Valley.
Chicago is without a doubt one of America's most interesting cities. It was the birthplace of Jazz, and has an amazing history. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there, learned a little more about America, and I would jump at the opportunity to return.
Ending on a more technical note, always keep looking for something to photograph. Most importantly take your camera off "Auto" or "Program" mode. Learn how your camera works and experiment with different settings and techniques. Otherwise you are not a photographer, but just a person who takes pictures. Will you screw up? Absolutely! I took several photographs of the Chicago Skyline until I got the results you see here. How did I know what I wanted? I had it pictured in my head before I took the photograph. This is what separates a skilled photographer from a person who just takes snapshots.
I hope you enjoy this photograph as much as I enjoyed creating it.
Until next time,