News and Views from Dave Wilson

Tag: Illinois

Chicago – My Kind of Town

by on May.23, 2011, under Photography

I just realised that I had completely failed to post anything about my experiences shooting in Chicago a month or so ago. I was up there on a business trip but managed to arrange a couple of photo get-togethers, one on a very cold, very early morning with Matty Wolin (who you probably know as ShutterRunner) and the other the same evening with Charles Dastodd. I had known both of these guys via Twitter but we had never met so I was delighted that we were able to get together and shoot some images in their home city.

Chicago Reflected. A section of the Chicago skyline seen reflected in the surface of the Cloud Gate (known to most of us as

Matty introduced me to the North Avenue Beach pier which offered a spectacular view of the downtown skyline. We arrived before sunrise (meeting at about 5:45am as far as I can remember) and shot pictures from the breakwater as the sun rose. I was ill-prepared for the freezing temperatures and found my creativity stifled by the thought of, for example, taking my hands out of my pockets to change lenses. There were many, many great shots to be had from that location but I concentrated on getting the HDR panorama that I had hoped to capture. In the end, despite the cold, I’m delighted with a couple of the panoramas I shot that morning. Matty, obviously made of sterner stuff, was being a great deal more creative and took some great shots including this fisheye image.

A panoramic image showing the skyline of Chicago, Illinois as seen from the North Avenue Beach pier.

A panoramic image showing the skyline of Chicago, Illinois as seen from the North Avenue Beach pier. The original image for this picture is large enough to give excellent quality prints at 100 inches or more in size.

After my day’s work, I raced back into downtown and met up with Charles Dastodd at the famous “Bean”. It’s real name is the “Cloud Gate” but regardless of what you call it, this enormous, reflective globule must be one of the world’s best examples of urban sculpture. The warped reflections of the city skyline on the curved surface are fascinating. Milennium Park, which hosts the Bean, also contains many other large-scale sculptures along with a huge concert shell designed by Frank Gehry (of folded, titanium-clad building fame). We didn’t get to shoot this but Charles introduced me to another wonder of modern architecture, the Aqua Building just a couple of blocks from the park. I loved the curvaceous, organic feel of this tower. From there, we moved on to a great view of the Chicago River from a bridge that vibrated fairly dramatically whenever a vehicle crossed it (timing the shutter release was rather important for this shot) before heading over to Michigan Avenue and wandering down to the Water Tower.

A night shot of the spectacular Aqua Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

All in all, it was a great trip – work went well and I ended up with a collection of images I’m very happy with and a couple more faces to add to Twitter handles. Many thanks to both Matty and Charles for being such great hosts and showing me round some of the wonderful sights in downtown Chicago. We only touched the surface and I’m very keen to get up there and see more of this great city.

A night shot of the Chicago River showing the Trump Tower and Wrigley Building.

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Logomotion Goes Loco

by on Apr.22, 2011, under Photography

Here’s something fun and different. During my visit to Chicago recently for the FIRST Robotics Competition Midwest Regional, I took along the Canon Powershot G9 and my shiny new Gorillapod Focus. The G9 can shoot timelapse video so I would attach it to various railings in the stadium and shoot the competition or crowd or pits or whatever. I’ve cut together some of this video now and you can see the result below.

I first tried this a couple of years ago at the San Diego Regional and you can find that video here. That one is encoded as an interlaced MPEG-1 file, though, so it doesn’t look as good as the new video which is 480p instead.

FRC Midwest Regional – Logomotion Goes Loco! from Dave Wilson on Vimeo.

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