Saturday, October 11, 2008
The Cumberland station platform on the blue line
I woke up early due to my leg having some kind of spasm. I think I need to intake more potassium (I ate a banana today). It was around 8am and everyone in the room was still sleeping. Not being able to go back to sleep I woke up and walked over to the L train and went downtown.
I hopped off the train at a stop in the loop (the Chicago downtown core) called Monroe and when I got outside on street level found I was surrounded by buildings. The blue line train is underground but there are other lines that go above ground.
The shadows are falling westward...
For navigation I had a CTA map (Chicago Transit Authority) which I picked up at the beginning of the day. I had bought a map the day before but left it in Becky's truck. Based on getting lost in London (UK) because I had used the tube map I didn't put much into the Chicago transit map being that accurate. So as any geek would do I looked up at the shadows on the buildings, started humming "...the sun is setting in the west...", figured that the sun rises in the east, casting shadows westwards, figured out where I was in relation to the water on the map then walked toward the water. I suppose just asking for directions would have been easier but I had no where that I wanted to be. I just wanted to look around.
The L train
I shot around Chicago all day without incident. A police officer had stopped me while I was shooting pigeons flying by but it wasn't to arrest me it was to find out if I was shooting with a 10.5 mm fish eye lens. He wanted to buy a new camera and he had told me the sad story of how his wife took his Canon and all the accessories when they got divorced. Now he was looking at buying a new Nikon D90 (when it comes out). We talked for a few minutes until a city guy posted a sign changing the parking restrictions for under the train bridge. Tomorrow is the Chicago Marathon so the city streets were starting to get reconfigured.
The silver jellybean
I found the silver jellybean, as I like to call it. It's actually called the Cloud Gate designed by Anish Kapoor. I like "Silver Jellybean" perhaps because it reminds me of food (much like everything). This was one of the things I heard about that's located in Chicago that I really wanted to see. I forgot about it from being overwhelmed with all the other architecture in the city. I actually went to shoot the Jay Pritzker pavilion because you could see it from down the street of the downtown core. It's a flowery organic looking structure by Toronto born Frank Gehry.
While shooting the stage I walked out onto the field. It was in the middle of the field that I noticed the silver jellybean on my left (west of me). It was like someone used computer graphics to place a reflective mercury blob in the city scape.
The jellybean with the Pavillion in the background
For the most part, the day went pretty well photography wise. I walked around for six hours taking photos all over the city. The only weird thing that happened was when I saw something really cool to take a photo of. The sun was coming down at the perfect angle . It was an American flag. It looked amazing with the light passing through it. Everything that was great about the USA flooded through my brain. Abraham Lincoln, the Constitution, Randy's giant donut, JFK, the moon landing, freedom of speech, School House Rocks!, the american national anthem, and even a flying bald eagle. Then as I started to focus my camera on the flag, cutting through the silence and my wonderment at the same time, out of nowhere, a disembodied voice blurted "No Photos!".
The American Flag, the stuff dreams are made of.
I looked around. I was the only person on the street other than a window cleaner above me and a block away at that. "No photos!" went the voice again. This time it seemed angrier. I stopped and listened. "Do not take pictures!". This time rather than the hum of traffic mixed with some garbled voice I clearly heard the voice this time. It was coming from some megaphone speaker fixed to one of the buildings. It had an electronic distortion to it. I looked up trying to find the speaker but couldn't see anything. I decided it was time to go so I pointed my camera down and walked back toward the water.
Some more photos from the Windy City...
A window washer or a guy escaping cubicle world
Stacks of dirty dishes?
Nope... it's twin buildings that look like cobs of corn.
The corkscrew parking garage.