A Wet Fall Day
The workshop assignment today: Long exposure photography. Only four members of the group showed up. The clouds, rain--we have not had much of that this fall--and cold apparently kept folks away. Yet, you don't always need clear skies for interesting light when it comes to night photography. The city lights reflect off the low cloud ceiling, creating blues, pinks and oranges. In this case, it was blue, with the traffic jam at rush hour on Columbus Drive adding yellows, oranges, and reds.
I am standing dead center on the BP Bridge, which connects Chicago's Millennium Park with the newer Maggie Daley Park. The bridge is one of the most frustrating photographic subjects in Chicago. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, its stainless steel parapets and hardwood planked floor slithers across Columbus Drive, bringing children and their parents to the two gigantic climbing walls, an ice skating ribbon, and the playground areas that make up much of Daley Park. Unfortunately, from the ground, the bridge just doesn't yield noteworthy photographs. In part, this is due to the light poles scattered throughout the park. It is difficult to compose a photograph of the bridge and a snippet of the Michigan Avenue skyline without including those ugly poles, with their multiple heads, which results in large, blown out splotches of light. Yuk. For that reasons, most photographs of the bridge are from above.
The bridge's opening coincided with the debut of Millennium Park on July 16, 2004. The park features the Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion. Although those using the bridge see the stainless still panels laced together, underneath a concrete base supports the 935-foot structure, which also is designed to muffle traffic sounds from below. Unlike the pavilion, the bridge is aesthetically appealing given its simplicity. I have never been a fan of the swooping cake decorations that adjourn many of Gehry's structure. They go against the "form follows function" aesthetic that I find so pleasing.
On the photograph's right-hand margin is the Blue Cross/Blue Shield building; in the distance on the other side of the Chicago River is the arch-deco inspired NBC Tower; occupying the mid ground off center left is the Fairmont Hotel; and on the photograph's left-edge is the AMOCO Tower, now renamed the Aon Center. One block to the rear of the Blue Cross building is Studio Gang's Aqua Tower, with the Radisson Hotel occupying the lower floors.
Photographer's Notes: This photograph was made using my Fuji GFX 50s. It was shot off a tripod using WiFi to trigger the camera's shutter. Camera settings: ISO 100, shutter speed-bulb at 4 seconds, aperture F16. The effort required patience. For the first ten minutes, the traffic heading north was gridlocked, with a couple of ugly buses crawling along. I just couldn't achieve the sense of motion that I wanted, but finally, the traffic jam broke.