Chicago on the river

Chicago on the river

Many cites live and depend on rivers and none more so than Chicago which went as far as to reverse the flow of the Chicago River! Wikipedia has more of course.

The observant visitor will notice the twin towers of Marina City in the photo above, and possibly recognise the distinctive bridge from the latest Batman movies.

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/200s

Marina City

Marina City

Marina City in Chicago is made up of two 65 storey towers with a distinctive circular shape. I just love the look of them actually. They’re right on the river but this shot is taken from the L, probably on the Brown line after leaving Kimball which will be tomorrow’s photo!

As usual the Wikipedia page has a lot more info about Marina City including this bit about Steve McQueen:

In the movie The Hunter, “Papa” Thorson (Steve McQueen) pursues a suspect in a car chase through the Marina City parking garage. His quarry eventually loses control of his car and drives it off of a high floor of the garage into the Chicago River. This scene was later recreated for an Allstate commercial in 2006/2007.

PS. If I find the time, I’ll be taking part in Pink for October. Will has more info!

Aperture ƒ/9
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/200s

Chicago’s La Salle Street

La Salle Street in Chicago ends abruptly in the Chicago Board of Trade at the far end of the street. It’s an unusual street because all the streets in Chicago just go on and on, mostly in parallel, through the city. This one just stops!

La Salle Bank which is barely visible at the left of this image is also in the background of The Dark Knight Batman movie.

Aperture ƒ/11
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 800
Shutter speed 1/400s

Under the L

Under the L

The L is the elevated train system in Chicago and many films have been filmed underneath it’s tracks, including some scenes in Batman, The Dark Knight. Here’s the L under Kimball on the brown line. I worked close by a few years ago!

Aperture ƒ/4.5
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 800
Shutter speed 1/50s

Chicago Board of Trade

The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is the world’s oldest futures and options exchange. It was established in 1848 and since 1930 has operated out of this building on 141 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago according to this Wikipedia page.

Possible Batman “The Dark Knight” spoilers ahead. Don’t read on if you’re going to watch the movie!
(more…)

Aperture ƒ/13
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 41mm
ISO 800
Shutter speed 1/250s

The Thieving Duck Photoshoot

Many moons ago I posted the infamous Thieving Duck that went viral when someone robbed it, added a funny story and emailed it around. Apparently it’s been seen all over the world which is kinda cool. It even made it to snopes.com too!

Thieving Duck

Anyway, I can finally reveal a few more shots from that photoshoot in Chicago. All the talk about the new Batman movie got me digging into my old Chicago photos and I found these shots I took on State Street way back in 2005.


Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/80s

Biosphere 2 Lung

Biosphere 2 Lung

As Biosphere 2 is a self contained and airtight structure the air inside would expand and contract on warm and cold days which could cause the building to explode or implode!

Two lungs were built to cope with this effect. One of them is pictured above. As the air in the building warmed up the black lung would expand and the roof of this room lowered. When we were there they opened an outside door to ventilate the room and the roof slowly fell. It was quite a sight to see and the draught out the door was enough to make it hard to be heard over the whine.

More on the Biosphere 2 lungs here and here.

Biosphere 2 needed something like a bellows, a lung!
Biosphere 2 would heat up like a greenhouse and cool during the night and during cold, cloudy days. The expansion and contraction would subject the rigid steel and glass structure to enormous pressures as the air inside expanded and contracted. On a hot day, pressure would push out. On a really cold day, Biosphere 2 might implode.

Bill Dempster, Director of Engineering Systems, had an inspired solution, and in time Biosphere 2 got a pair of lungs, or “variable expansion chambers”. The two lungs took the form of graceful hemispheric white domes which protected the liner from wear and tear of the Sun. Both domes, 150 feet away from Biosphere 2 had underground air tunnels connecting them to the main structure. Inside each tank and connected to each tunnel, a gargantuan synthetic rubber membrane with a circular metal top moved freely up and down on a cushion of air.
As air inside Biosphere 2 expanded from the Sun’s heat, it flowed through the tunnels and into the lung, raising its top. As air cooled, the lungs deflated.

Aperture ƒ/3.5
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 1600
Shutter speed 1/25s

Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 lies in the dusty hot desert in Arizona. It was originally designed as a self contained “world” where scientists stayed for an extended period of time. After going through the tour, there’s no way I’d volunteer to spend my time inside. It must have been very difficult being cooped up in one building. The Wikipedia page on the project has a lot more detail about what went on there.

Anyway, the building is very striking to look at, especially as the day was fine and interesting clouds added to the scene.

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/200s

Rushing through countryside

rushing through countryside

I shot this through the window of our car while driving back to the ranch after Automattic’s trip to Biosphere 2 in Arizona a few months ago. I love how the foreground blurs but the background and the sky remain motionless and static. Love the movement.

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 22mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/100s