On the vernal and autumnal equinox, look westward down any or Chicago’s east-west streets at sunset. The sun’s fiery ball will be blindingly visible—so don’t look directly into the sun. Like the ancient pagans and witches did at Stonehenge, photographers worship this event. For ninety minutes before this man-made phenomenon, I walked south from Wacker Drive toward the Art Institute, and then past it. Photographers were out with tripods and filters. The streets were packed with regular folks holding their iPhones in the ready position. And then it happened—6:41 PM. It lasted for about three minutes.
As for me, I didn’t need an equinox to mark the end of summer, followed by the rapid descent into winter darkness. I’ve been out on 60 or 70 photographic walks this past summer. During the last three or four weeks, the “shortening” of the days has become painfully apparent. By 6:30 PM, the light is all but gone. And the sunsets expire quicker than they did in June and July. The sun no longer lingers in the sky. On the bright side: There is nothing like photographing the city in a snowstorm, particularly if the Hawk is blowing chills to my fingers and toes.
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