Chicagoans view themselves as big city sophisticates, but even in the Big City, there is some Midwestern cow dung still clinging to our Mephisto sandals. It is a bit muggy, and the skies are a thin mixture of pinks, yellows, and cyan blues. Someone has painted the sky with Isabelle's pastels.
Despite the Monet atmospherics, the cornpone is right in front of my eyes. The cows spent the day grazing in Grant Park.
Out of nowhere, John Philip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever comes blaring out of speakers surrounding Buckingham Fountain. There is a sudden whoosh of water upward from the fountain's center bowl. Then spigots send water arching crosswise from Neptune-like sculptures positioned at the four-corners surrounding the fountain. To finish the spectacle off, lights in the fountain turn dark blue, then red, then yellow, and then green. The apparition is pure ungapachka. Too bright, too loud, too in your face.
As I have said before, urban designers would do the world a favor by eliminating the clutter--blue garbage cans strategically positioned in front of architectural landmarks, light poles bisecting views of formal building entrances, food trucks parked in public plazas, and idle police barricades lining boulevards, ready for the next demonstration against Trump.
Buckingham Fountain is another case in point. Get rid of the colored lights. Get rid of the music. Get rid of the of neon lit pedicabs circling the fountain. Get rid of the garbage cans. Just bathe the fountain in white (not yellow) light.
The fountain knows how to gush, so it can speak for itself.
A Pastel Colored Sky
In the Pink
Approaching the Fountain, Looking Southward
Marina City Meets the CTA
Photographer's Notes: Buckingham Fountain calls for one-point perspective, but that means a blown out flood light at the base of the photograph unless two photographs are composited. Not good.
A tech camera is the only way to do the fountain and the skyline justice. The scene requires a wide-angle lens. The problem: The fountain is surrounded by a setback of grass and fencing. A flat foreground simply does not work compositionally. Shifting is the key..