Street photography in, around and Out of Chicago

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” 

Ansel Adams

I love this quote and I stand in awe of Ansel Adams’ book of work.

But, as I learned from my first Out of Chicago photography conference, you do make a photo with a camera, and a lens, and a tripod, and increasingly sophisticated software.

I have a long way to go.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed myself as I rubbed shoulders with some of the country’s most talented street photographers, learned about post-production techniques and found myself trapped by an overzealous, under-mommied security guard.

I loved it all.

My first session, with the inspiring Marie Laigneau, pumped me up so much that I skipped lunch and headed out to shoot a few street scenes around Chicago.

I wanted to capture the contrasts in a city I’d grown to love, and I lost all track of time and self as I worked my way down to the lakefront, where the ITU World Triathlon happened to be taking place. I snapped away, thrilled to be in the midst of such concentrated talent.

A tactical error landed me just in front of a barricade on Lakeshore Drive, with great access to the transition area but also directly in the sight line of a crazed race official.

I’m not sure what set him off, but he yelled in the general direction of me and all of the other race fans gathered behind me.

“I’m through being nice. I hope you all went to the bathroom because it’s going to be a long time before I let you cross this street!”

A long time turned out to be 93 minutes, but who’s counting?

What a nut.

Eventually, we stormed the barricades and headed across, sun-burnt, parched, collectively late for our various events and utterly triumphant. Viva la revolucion!

Enjoy these basically unedited pictures I snapped with a camera that needs a new lens. I had hoped to capture the contrasts I found. While I remain thrilled by the experience, I am less than excited about the photos I made.

I plan to invest in the art of photography in the coming year and I can’t wait to attend the Out of Chicago conference next year.

Going places
I loved the idea of this photo and the image of a proud young man going places in this old world. (I thought the El Tracks helped suggest that.) I happened to turn a corner just as Roosevelt University graduates headed out, an unexpected thrill on a Saturday afternoon.
Diamond in the rough
As I said, I was looking for contrasts, and I didn’t have to look too hard.
Apple trees
I was going for perspective here and the surprise of an urban apple orchard.
Transportation and competing lines.
City scape
I wanted a cool image of Buckingham Fountain and was so thrilled to find it framed by an international race.
From my vantage point, I caught this image of the race leader, heading toward the transition area. Again, I was pretty fascinated by the contrasts.
The pack
Here’s what it looked like when the rest of the athletes made their way across.
Mip and Mop the race officials
Not a great picture of a not-a-great man. The knee highed race official stranded us all, just for funsies.
Directionally challenged
Note the mixed signals from he and his henchman.
We all rallied, though, and went on to enjoy our day. I like this picture of my daughter Katherine, who was kind enough to meet me for dinner that day.
Later that evening, I couldn’t help but take a picture of this irony, a Do Not Enter sign right in the patio of this sophisticated lounge. Bonus, they served really excellent drinks. I highly recommend the Tiny Lounge.

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