Not Fade Away
It was not a hot summer day, but it certainly was a beautiful one. Hanging with a friend high above Lincoln Park did make one thing clear: Winter is coming despite people in shorts and sandals.
I saw another sign of summer’s demise earlier in the day when I stopped in the small shop along the lakefront path just south of Navy Pier and north of the Columbia Yacht Club (founded in 1892). I was looking for a drink and a protein bar. I found one, but the pickings were small. A sign on the door stated that the shop was closing for the season at 7AM Monday. But I digress.
The sky may be pink and turquoise at sunset, but sunset is much earlier. By 7:00 PM, the color is already disappearing from the sky. And the time it takes to totally disappear is counted in a few short minutes rather than in an hour or two. By 7:30 PM, there is nothing left to photograph because the sodium lights burn the image orange, which turns the image’s tint to an ugly muddy brown as the exposure time lengthens.
There is good news for photographers and cinematographers: Chicago’s orange tint will change over the next four years as the City spends $160 million dollars to replace the existing lighting with LED lights. The streets will not turn completely blue as the color temperature goes from 2200 Kelvin to 3,000 Kelvin. Had the City opted for more traditional LED lights, the color temperature would have increased an additional 1,000 degrees, which would have meant the light at street level would approximate daylight in terms of color temperature. Colors would have looked great, but trading night for day has its problems. According to the American Medical Association, simulating daylight at night would have an adverse impact on our circadian rhythms and our bodies would secrete less melatonin. In other words, the average Chicagoan’s sleep would be disrupted as the body responded to the bluer light.
Fortunately, I found myself with camera in hand earlier enough in the evening that I was able to capture this gem.
Boats Will Disappear as Fall Slides Into Into Winter: Chicago Harbor