View from the John Hancock Center (Chicago, Illinois)

One of the primary reasons I bought a full-frame camera was because of the low light capabilities and the ability to shoot at a high ISO level without the quality of the picture being compromised. I can say the Nikon D750 kicks some serious ass when it comes to this compared with my Canon Rebel T3i where the images wouldn’t have been nearly as clean. We are heading to Africa at the end of this year and I wanted to be able to shoot wildlife on the edges (when the light is poor) and keep the images sharp and not overly noisy. I didn’t think it would be useful for shooting Chicago architecture but it paid off when up on the top level (94th floor) of the Hancock Center and the images were all coming out blurry at ISO levels of 100, 200 and 400. For this picture the shutter only had to remain open for 1.3 seconds versus 15 seconds or more at lower ISO levels. I’m not sure if the building was swaying or if people were tapping the makeshift tripod I assembled (since ‘normal’ tripods are not allowed) but having the ability to capture the same quality image 13 seconds faster was a huge advantage.

View from the John Hancock Center (Chicago, Illinois)

View from the Hancock Center (Chicago, IL)

Sprawling City of LA (Los Angeles, CA)

I’m always amazed when I go to LA and everything is so spread out – in comparison to the downtown districts that I’m more familiar with (Detroit, Denver, Dallas, etc…) it seems that everything in LA that a person would need financial institutions, commercial districts and places of cultural/historical/sightseeing significance are miles apart from each other. It reminds me a lot of sightseeing in Rome or London where you need to go across the entire city to see two different items of interest. Although both of those European cities have reliable mass transit systems – unlike in LA where it is just a constant traffic jam! No matter what time of day or day of the week the speed on the freeways seems to be at a crawl.

Sprawling City of LA (Los Angeles, CA)

Sprawling City of LA (Los Angeles, CA)

The Mulholland Drive overlook several miles (and a world away) from the downtown Los Angeles area provides the best overlook of what can probably be considered the ‘business district’ although I’ve had plenty of other meetings in areas nowhere near those buildings which are still in ‘Los Angeles’.

Sunrise over San Francisco

I had a brief (overnight) stay in San Francisco on my way to Seattle and I decided to take the opportunity to take in the sunrise over the city from across the bay. I was blessed to get a fantastic shot of the sunrise over the Golden Gate bridge with the colors lighting up the sky behind it (that linked picture remains one of my favorites). In this picture below I thought I’d zoom in on the actual city but keep the wires suspending the Golden Gate Bridge visible in the picture for reference of ‘place’. Sure you can’t tell it is the Golden Gate Bridge as the viewer but ultimately the wires show that I’m on the other side of the Bay.

Sunrise over San Francisco

Have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!!

The End of the World

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

The other night I dreamt a nice continental drift divide
Mountains sit in a line, Leonard Bernstein
Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce, and Lester Bangs
Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom
You symbiotic, patriotic, slam but neck, right? Right

It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it (It’s time I had some time alone)
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine (It’s time I had some time alone)

Reaching the End of the World – Sears Tower – Chicago, IL

Sears Tower Willis Tower Chicago Illinois
From a warmer period in Chicago – we headed up to the top of the Sears Tower and shot the perfectly clear sunrise setting behind the western suburbs of the city. They don’t allow tripods up in the tower although I was able to sneak a GorrillaPod up there and take a couple shots that were less blurry than they would be if I had to hand hold everything. Great views from up top of the building – although I tend to prefer the Hancock Tower a little more because you get the perspective of seeing more of the downtown buildings in the skyline.

Seattle Skyline

I was in Seattle for a layover during my trip back from Glacier National Park. The layover was around six hours long – rather than hang out at the airport I decided to take the train downtown. There were a couple of reasons this made sense to me – the weather looked nice (80 degrees or so I think) and the food in/around Pike Place is delicious. My favorite place serves, primarily, clam chowder (I think it is called the Chowder House) and I had a cup of the best clam chowder I’ve ever had. They really do a phenomenal job. After the chowder “appetizer” I walked over to a nearby vendor and picked up a deliciously filling mushroom and steak pastry (called a Proshky) from a (relativel) hole in the wall – Piroshky, Piroshky, Piroshky – that is right outside of Pike market.

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One more day in Philly then back to Chicago. Looking forward to being away for a few days.

Chi City

We went up to the Sears Tower last night to watch the sunset. In ten years since I’ve been in Chicago this is probably only my second time being up there – yet again it reminds me of why I need to get to more Chicago locations more frequently. My next stop – maybe in a couple weeks when I get back from next week in Philadelphia is the Hancock building where the view of the Chicago skyline is slightly more prominent. Still the view last night was very impressive.

Photo of the Day – View from the Top

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Opening Night

Not much to post tonight because it is NFL opening night which for me is one of the best days of the year.

Photo of the Day – Hurricane Sandy Sunset

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I haven’t been staying true to my word with taking Chicago pictures this summer. Too many trips out of the city and not enough energy when I’ve been back home. This was last year – about this time I think – when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast and something with the weather pattern caused the waves to get funky in Lake Michigan. It was also one of the better sunsets of the year too as the sky turned orange and pink.