Winding Down

A look down the spiral staircase inside the Santa Barbara Courthouse in California. The entire city is styled after the Spanish missions that dotted the California coast in the late 18th century. That includes the still functioning courthouse, opened in 1926. Ok, you’re done learning for the day, back to work.    

Union Station

I think every city and/or town should have a Union Station. I know that most cities have train stations but they don’t all have Union Stations. There’s just something iconic and beautiful about every Union Station that I’ve been to. They’re grand and mysterious. They have an air of classiness about them and walking into one…

The Spark

Last week my wife and I got to spend time in southern California. Not only was it a chance to visit family and friends in our home state but it was also an opportunity to visually explore another city with my camera for the first time in awhile. While I absolutely love Chicago it was quite…

Inception

Here’s another bonus you get when you live in Chicago, occasionally the city will raise the bridges that span the river and when this happens it’s incredibly surreal. Most people actually have to do a double take to make sure what they’re seeing is real. When was the last time you were walking down a street,…

Chicagonitas

After months and months of delays, last week one of America’s most popular and fastest growing craft breweries opened the doors to its second home right here in Chicago . . . finally. In the spring of 2012, California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company announced plans to open a production facility and taproom in Chicago. As a proud…

Bridge to the Sky

For me, the Kinzie Street railroad bridge is one of the most stunning pieces of Chicago’s industrial history that’s still around. To stand before it in person is as surreal as it is iconic. Staring up from beneath the bridge you realize just how gargantuan it is. The word and feeling that hits you and…

The Underbelly

The underbelly of Chicago is both literal and figural. The figural version can be found in TV shows, movies and books and it usually consists of mobsters, crooked politicians and thieves. They sometimes have mustaches and that real nasally accent that everyone loves to imitate. It’s kind of what you might imagine Al Capone to…

Culture

Tourist season is upon us. You can love it or hate it but either way it’s here for the next few months. When you grind out a harsh winter like we just had you tend to harbor a little resentment towards tourists as if they cheated or something. Why should they get to enjoy Chicago…

Painted Sunrise

Getting up at 4:30am to try and get colorful sunrise photographs can be a little risky in that you’re not guaranteed anything. You’ve just got to get up and hope for the best. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. You won’t know how the sunrise will look until it actually happens. After making the…

Play Time

After the Blackhawks terrible performance during the latter half of the game on Wednesday I really needed some cheering up. I finally got it yesterday when I was out and about with the camera at dusk. While driving down Lake St. I came across an abandoned concrete soccer field near Damen on the north side…

Road Show

Karl was in town from Germany and rumor had it he was bringing one of his many harps. Jim would be meeting us in Kenosha, he and his brother were skipping the train and riding their bikes from Chicago instead. I was told tonight was going to be a special night because the group had a…

Dark Lord Day

  Explaining Dark Lord Day to someone who isn’t “into” beer proves to be a rather difficult task. Midway through the explanation to my wife I realized how silly the whole thing sounds, “You see, it’s this annual event where this brewery releases this special beer called Dark Lord that can only be purchased at…

Temporary Peace

Any time spent on Northerly Island is guaranteed to be peaceful and reflective . . . at least for now. It offers some of the best views of the skyline, it’s right on the lake and it’s never ever crowded. Not many Chicago parks are able to make that claim and in a few years…

Game On

A picturesque and peaceful sunrise spent court side in Rogers Park. Chicago has dozens of sporting facilities all along the lakefront spanning the North Shore down to the South Shore. From volleyball courts and soccer fields to softball diamonds and skate parks, the lakeshore has just about anything you need to stay active. So I…

While You Were Sleeping

North Side vs. South Side? That’s perhaps one of the most oversimplified and pointless conversations you can have in this great city. Nonetheless it’s something you hear being argued about fairly often in Chicago. I am not a native of Chicago and therefore I don’t have an ingrained predisposition in the conversation as I find…

Long & Tall

To the casual observer in Chicago spring usually represents the long awaited transition from winter to summer. The jump from bitterly cold days to sweltering humid days is usually a very quick one. You know that one weekend in late May when you can comfortably walk around without layers of clothes and without sweating profusely?…

#tbt

I had to reach into the Chicageaux vault to post today’s photograph. As is customary with today’s social media I labelled it correctly #tbt. When it comes to photography I fully subscribe to the philosophy that “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.” Even bad days can turn out to be good but you…

The Beginning

Here’s to hitting the ground running this week. Make the most of your Monday . . . because it only helps the weekend become that much more enjoyable. Coffee, check. To-do list, check. Goals, check. More coffee, check. Let’s go! This is an early morning glimpse of the Chicago skyline seen from the West Loop….

Warmth of Wrigley

Last week saw some pretty amazing photographs from the spring equinox around the city, aka Chicagohenge. Local photographer Kyle Buckland has captured a pretty amazing time-lapse of the near perfect sunset during the equinox last week, you can view it here. If you haven’t come across any of his work yet I highly recommend taking…

Chicagohenge

We finally made it . . . for real. Spring is actually here (at least technically spring is here). The spring equinox usually brings with it a celebration of newness and rebirth but it’s also the transitional placeholder between cold, dark winter and sweltering, hot summer. I’m not sure that Chicago has anticipated a warm…

O’Brien’s Tower

Ominous & beautiful, perilous & inspiring. For the most part that accurately describes the entirety of Ireland. As promised earlier in the week here is a more picturesque scene to help get you ready for St. Patrick’s Day. For those of you who have been, you’ll recognize O’Brien’s Tower immediately. Sitting hundreds of feet atop…

Timing

The beauty of photography is in its simplicity. It’s really quite basic if you think about it. You’ve got three things to think about: subject, light and time. Learning how to combine all three in a way that produces an interesting final photograph is the constant challenge. It’s the same challenge for studio photographers as…

Booth Lighting

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’ll be posting photographs from Ireland all week. These were taken on a trip I took  just over a year ago. It will be a nice break from all of the snow photos that I’ve been taking/posting. This photograph isn’t the picturesque Irish landscape that you’re used to seeing…

Rooftops

This photo is from a snow storm (one of the many) in the Loop. One of the more unique aspects of the photo is that you are looking down upon the “el” tracks running throughout the city. Usually the tracks are something that you look up at but in this instance it clanked about 8…

Thawed

The city of Chicago gets a little bit of sun to hold it over for the next two months. The good news is that the sun got rid of some of the ice on the lake just in time for the Polar Plunge that takes place March 2 at North Avenue Beach. It’s a great…

Hope

Lake Michigan rarely disappoints. Several weeks ago I posted about how amazing it is to be able to watch the lake go through so many personality changes throughout the course of a year. This photograph is just another portrait of Lake Michigan and one of her many different personalities. Just a week ago this was…

Golden Boxcars

Generally speaking there are only two reasons to wake up at 5am: Coffee & Sunrises. This morning I treated myself to both. The sun made a surprise appearance this morning before it quickly snuck away behind the heavy cloud cover. This is a glimpse of the fleeting rays of sun bouncing off of the long line…

#Chiberia

Chiberia (Chicago + Siberia) is what this winter has commonly become referred to in Chicago. Add it to the list of phrases and names that have emerged over the last few years such as Thundersnow & Polar Vortex. Somehow these phrases give a light hearted tone to a season that most people would call grueling…

Buckingham

Snow, snow and more snow. FYI, it is winter and this is Chicago. It’s part of the package. We get a world class city, amazing food & beer, sports teams that drive you crazy and we get winter. Deep down I think that, despite what they say, most Chicagoans secretly like winter. Complaints about the…

L Trails

This photograph is from a series I’m currently working on that uses long exposure photography to study the light trails of the L. Most of Chicago’s CTA trains run on elevated tracks (thus the term “el” or L) and they provide for a truly unique opportunity to photograph light trails inside the city. The hundreds…

Time

If you asked 100 average people to list their favorite pieces of public art/sculpture in Chicago and why, the results might look something like this: 1. Cloud Gate aka “The Bean”-because it’s big and shiny and cool and I can take pictures of myself in it. 2. The Lions at the Art Institute – But…

Finally.

After a year and a half hiatus Chicageaux has returned. I never left photography, in fact, I’ve been busier with photography over the last year and half than ever before. I’ve been fortunate enough to have several photographs published in a book, participate in my first juried exhibit and even got the opportunity to shoot…

Cloud City

When temperatures finally bottomed out at -12 yesterday an incredibly surreal vapor began rising from the lake. One text from a friend actually read, “Did you see the lake this morning? It looks like it’s on fire!”All along the lakeshore the vapor created the illusion of the city floating amongst the clouds. It was quite…

Balance

It’s a beautiful thing when you find an architectural space that’s just as harmonious on the inside as it is on the outside. You would think that this would be a requirement of any building. Sadly it is not. It’s certainly the case with the work of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava is an architectural…

Grazing

The simple rustic nature of the Irish countryside is everything you hope it’s going to be. After all, most people don’t travel to Ireland for its cosmopolitan lifestyle (no offense Dubliners). A mid-winter trip to the Emerald Isle proved to be every bit as beautiful as the spring or summer. Yes, the clouds were grey…

The Glow

The overall popularity of baseball may be waning in this country but it still shines brightly in some cities. Boston is most certainly one of those cities. The rich heritage of the club combined with the last decade of success makes for a very exciting experience even if you’re not a fan. Most games tend…