Posted on Nov.10, 2013, under Architecture

(Nikon D800, 28-300mm at 250mm, Exposure 1/320 seconds @ f/9.0, ISO 200)

Chicago has more than its fair share of interesting architecture. This particular building, currently known as 35 Wacker, was originally built as the “Jeweler’s Building”, since it was home to many businesses in the jewelry trade. In fact, for the first 14 years of the building’s existence, there was a car elevator in the center of the building which would allow deliveries of precious cargo to be driven into the building and taken directly to one of the first 23 floors to ensure security. The top of the building has an interesting history as well. At one time this portion of the building contained the ‘Stratosphere Lounge’ and during prohibition was rumored to have been a speakeasy run by Al Capone. This space is now owned by the architectural firm JAHN who have their offices on a lower floor. This firm’s lineage dates back to the original architecture firm of D.H Burnham & Co., which has had offices in this building since it’s construction in 1926.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below.

The picture itself was taken during the recent Open House Chicago event sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The shot was taken from the roof of the MDA City Apartments building, which has wonderful views of the city. When I was working on this image I was disappointed that I zoomed in just a bit too much on the building and didn’t leave any space along the left edge of the photograph. I really felt that there needed to be some breathing room along that side. I created an initial version in black and white that I really liked, but I didn’t like the way the building touched the edge of the frame. Fortunately I had taken a couple other shots from the same location at the same focal length. Even though they were shot with a different twist of the camera, I was hopeful that I could align the two images and extract just a bit of information from one to create my finished image. The images you see below are the ‘as shot’ images used to create the finished photograph. I used photoshop to auto-align the images and then I masked out all but the left edge.

One of the things I like best about this image is the clarity of the terra-cotta details. If you look closely, you can see the initials of one of the designers, Frederick Dinkelberg inscribed in some of the terra-cotta ornamentation. Another interesting bit of detail is the view into the Stratosphere Lounge. The lounge was open during the Open House Chicago event and if you look in the window you can see some people taking pictures out of the window.

All images available for sale or license. Please visit my Imagekind Galleries, Fine Art America Galleries or contact me for more information.

Copyright © 2013 James W. Howe – All rights reserved

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