#52weekproject: Week 31 – Chicago Subway – Monroe

Monroe Subway

 

The Accordion Player

Taken Tuesday, Jan 6th, 2015. I’m working on a bunch of new years resolutions, one of which is to continue taking pictures in Chicago. I’ve started to take the Red Line from the Monroe stop in the loop, since it means I get on the train one stop ahead of the other half of the rush hour work crowd. The station here is a little darker, and doesn’t seem quite as lively, but I did find this lady playing her accordion for the waiting passengers. Doesn’t seem to be quite as popular as the singers, but she isn’t quite as interactive either.While I can’t even recall what she was playing, I will say that it takes an immense amount of confidence and thick skin to ply your trade on the subway, where the only feedback you’d get is from the expression of hurried commuters trying to get somewhere. Thanks but no thanks;¬†I think I’ll stick to just sharing my photos on the internet. ūüėõ

So as I watched her play,¬†I took out my camera and¬†waited for the train to pass in the background, and snapped a few shots before I shoved my camera back in my pocket, and dropped the only dollar I had in her bag and boarded the train. Although¬†it was a quick photo, and I was actually able to eyeball exposure and had the settings dialed in just right without even having to futz with my camera too much. Which is something I feel kinda proud of… Like that should earn me a ribbon¬†or something!)¬†Even the the camera is slower, and with the manual controls (or especially because of the manual controls), I am still able to take a quicker shot than I probably could have with this other newer camera I have.

Black and White vs Color

One of the other things I’ve done is converted this to black and white, and brought it into photoshop to do some dodging (to decrease the exposure in some areas, and increase the overall contrast of the image). I’m finding that I like doing that for my black & white conversions, but it would be a terrible pain to include into a workflow for an entire series of photos, but I’m sure that’s just my laziness¬†talking there…

I’m a little torn between whether I like the black and white version, or if I prefer the color version (also dodged a bit). I think each have their own merits.What do you think?

Monroe Subway v2 color

#52WeekProject: Moonrise over Chicago Harbor

 

Week 28: Moonrise over Chicago Harbor

Taken on Saturday, December 6, 2014. It had been a while since I had gone out to take a picture. The last time, it was of a boat in the harbor while I was trying to do some scouting for this photo. Unfortunately, the day I originally wanted to take this photo (Nov 6th), the weather was crazy and the winds and waves ended up tearing up a lot of the lakefront and even sunk a barge. So wisely, I waited until the next full moon to take the picture. (And hooray, I didn’t get swept out to sea!)

The top picture was taken at around 4:20pm, as the sun was setting. The bottom picture was taken at around 5:01pm just after the moon rose over the horizon. The downside of having moved to December, was the moonrise ended up being 40 minutes after the sunset, so because of the darker scene, I needed to boost the exposure when caused a lot of issues. (As you can see in the blurrier bottom picture.)

In order to emphasize the moon, I wanted to use the longest focal length I could, which meant a 300mm f/4.5 manual focus lens stacked with a 2x teleconverter and a 1.4x teleconverter. This makes it an effective focal length of 1000mm and the increased distance from the focal plane reduces the overall exposure by 3 stops, so an effective aperture of about f/13. Unfortunately, because of these limitations, and the decreased ambient light, my shutter needed to be open much longer (from 1/125s to 1/2s), and with the long focal length and heavy gear on my tripod, every little vibration resulted in major blurriness in the photo. Even after I switched out the lens to the 200 f/2.8 with and only the 2x teleconverter (EFL 400mm f/5.6) at 1/6s, and you can still see major blurriness in the photo.

So, while the idea was pretty solid, the execution was pretty terrible due to the conditions and limitations of my equipment. I’m definitely going to try this photo again, and will likely aim for next year’s supermoon (Sept 27th, 2015) when the moon will be about 14% bigger, and the moon rises at 6:32pm, 7 before the sunsets. I’ll bring a sturdier tripod, and keep my fingers crossed that the weather holds up so I can shoot at some reasonable settings, so it’ll look like that top picture with a giant ass moon (not my own) in the background!

Also, I made a timelapse, which¬†you can see below…

#52weekproject: Week 22 – Looking in the Loop

52wp-w22 - lookin in the loop

 

Taken on Friday, September 12th, 2014. Left work late on a drizzly Friday, when I took this photo on the corner right by my office. I was killing some time waiting for my cousin to come into the city on the Metra, so I had some plans on taking some more train photos in the loop from a parking garage I had spotted earlier that week. While I was checking my settings, I decided to take a few test shots and was checking my manual focus skills when this lady spotted me with my camera. I don’t normally take street photos like this, because it feels a little creepy to take pictures of people I don’t know. But I kinda liked how it turned out, so that’s why I’m posting it here.

If I could change a couple things, I’d have moved a bit to my left, so she would be directly in the middle of the crosswalk lines, where the eyes are naturally drawn by the leading lines, and have the taxi just a little further to the right to balance the picture. The wet streets adds some good contrast, but I would have loved to make it rain a bit more (like I do in the clubs).

Here are a few other photos I took.

52wp-w22 - train in the loop

 

52wp-w22 - uptrain

#52weekproject: Week 20 – The Real Connection

 

The Real Connection

52WP - Week 20 - The Real Connection

 

Taken Tuesday, August 19th, 2014. Once again, I got out of work later than expected, but luckily I got to enjoy a few songs while waiting for the Red Line at the Lake Street stop. Plus, I got a chance to make good on my promise to print out and give these guys the photo I had taken of them for Week 16 (as you can see in the lower right hand corner of the picture).

I actually missed a couple of trains just to chat with these guys a little bit. Their missing buddy was there this time, but that just means I’ve got to give them another picture the next time I see them! (And hopefully I won’t forget their names next time.) I went with a square crop on this photo because I do what I want. (Also, keeps the photo tight and cuts out some of the distracting elements. Makes it seem more personal.)

Oh, the irony…

So when you live in a big city, and take public transportation everyday, whether it’s the train or the bus, you’ll find yourself swimming¬†in¬†a sea of people. (Fun fact: I can’t swim.) And when you have a pretty regular schedule, heading to your 9-5 job everyday during rush hour, you might even find yourself recognizing some of the same people as you cross paths with them as¬†they are make their exact¬†same journey everyday. To me, as a closet introvert, I tend to just pop in my earbuds and leave other people alone. I find myself to be a bit more of a reactive conversationalist; I’m great¬†at keeping a conversation going once we make a connection, but I’m always terrible at sparking up the conversation. And probably because of this, I picture this fence¬†of societal norms which tells me that talking to random strangers is weird.¬†But what previously kept me walking past these guys I would see every so often on my routine commute, was broken by having a photo of them to give. That photo was my ladder over the fence. So, I enjoy the irony of these guys going by “The Real Connection”, since on that day, I shared my photo with them and made a “real connection.” (See what I mean?)

Anyway, that was a little rambling there, but I’m curious… What do you think of random conversations with strangers?¬†And what’s a topic that is a great icebreaker if you’re bored on the train (i.e. you left your earbuds at home)?

#52weekproject: Week 19: State Street Bridge


State St Bridge Square

 

Week 19: State Street Bridge

Taken Sunday, August 10th, 2014 in downtown Chicago.

After catching up with my friend Joanna the night before, she mentioned that she there happened to be some construction work on the waterfront walkway and that the State Street bridge was raised up during that time. Even though I have been in the city for over 2 years now, I can’t recall ever seeing one of these main bridges up, so I knew I had to go check it out.

Fortunately, it was not raining by the time I went for a wander downtown, but it was misty and the fog had rolled in. I was half-worried the clouds would just open up and start pouring, but I’m glad it didn’t. I ended up with a few shots I liked, but since I was looking for a square image, this one seemed to fit the bill the best. Taken from the Dearborn Street Bridge, shooting east. I’ll¬†post a few more photos below.

Fun Fact:

The State Street bridge is also known as the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge, in honor of the World War II defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (Which is a peninsula and island in the Philippines which played an important role in World War II).

 

 

52WP - Week 19 State Street Straight Up

52WP - Week 19 State St 4

52WP - Week 19 southwest