301 Taylor Street
Nothing like standing in urine when making a photograph. It apparently had dried, but the smell was quite pungent. Before I set up my tripod, I looked for feces, which has been here in the past. I am standing on a bridge, behind the tender's station house.
As should be apparent, this is not the first time I have photographed from this vantage point, but I've generally been here in mid-morning or afternoon. I had been thinking about a twilight photograph for sometime. The idea came from a photograph by Catherine Opie that was part of a series of large format photographs of Chicago locations late at night. The Opie photograph in question, Untitled 9 (Chicago) from American Cities series, 2004-05, takes form as a panorama. It includes not only the Union Station Power Station at 301 West Taylor, but the Sears (now Willis) Tower. If you have not seen the series, it is worth a look. I have a somewhat perverse book that includes many of Opie's photographs from the series. It is about 7 inches by 4 inches, meaning that these gigantic photographs are just a little bit bigger than thumbnails.
The Union Station Power Station serves not only Union Station, but what is now soon-to-redeveloped "Old" Post Office Building that spans the entrance to the Eisenhower Expressway. The building was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White, with construction beginning in 1931. It functioned as a power station until sometime in the 1990s. Even in those days, people had environmental awareness. The station used new technology to reduce coal ash commissions.
The buildings was built in the art deco style. As the website A Chicago Sojourn points out, it may look familiar because the same style was incorporated into London's Battersea Power Station, which served as inspiration for the cover that Pink Floyd used for the album jacket for Animals, and it made an appearance in the Beatles 1965 film, Help. It also made appearances in Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage (1936), and in the movie High Treason (1951). Of course, Chicago's version is a much smaller one. Battersea is one of the largest brick buildings in the world, but like 301 West Taylor, it has been decommissioned.
The Christmas tree-like ornamentation atop the building seems to be a new addition. It was not there the last time I photographed the building.
It has taken me some time to master focusing my technical camera, but in the last four or five months, I've gotten pretty good at it. I suspect the reason for the change is that I am far more relaxed about it. For urban landscapes with distance, 4.5 on the white portion of the focusing wheel works pretty well. At 100% view (300 ppi at 20.6 inches by 27.6 inches), each brick in the building is in focus. Of course, I love the colors in this photograph. In color theory, orange and blue are complementary colors, which is why the colors are so striking, at least to me. Opie's photograph is a monochrome.
I found the twilight today.