Tag: black and white

Twists and Turns

Posted under Architecture, California, Travel

(Olympus OM-D E-M1, 12-40mm f/2.8 at 40mm (2x crop factor), Exposure 1/1250 seconds @ f/7.1, ISO 400) On a recent trip to California I had the opportunity to spend a little time (too little) at the Disney Concert Hall located in downtown Los Angeles. The building was designed by Frank Gehry and completed in 2003. […]


The top floor of the Jeweler’s Building was, at one point, a location known as the ‘Stratosphere Lounge’. This location has a commanding view of the city of Chicago and during prohibition was rumored to be a speakeasy run by Al Capone. The shape of the building made it easy to station observers who could keep an eye out for cops. Turning to today, the top floor is used by the architecture firm JAHN for special events. One of the changes made to the space was to raise the floor. The ceiling is quite tall and with the original floor height, the windows were quite high and harder to look out of. With the new floor height, there is still plenty of headroom and it makes looking out the windows a much more enjoyable experience.


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’ve been following my blog for the past week or so you’ve seen me post some close-up shots of Aqua Tower in Chicago, Illinois. Today’s post was taken a few weeks earlier when I took a day trip to Chicago just to do some city photography. Compared with the other images, this one shows more of the building but still highlights its unique texture. To my eye, the combination of the black and white processing with the way the light hits the building, makes this look more like a plastic model than an actual building.


Continuing my exploration of Aqua Tower in Chicago, Illinois, I present this image taken almost directly below the building and shooting up towards a top corner. Once again my focus was on the interesting shape created by the varying floor designs, as well as the varying highlights and shadows created by the surface of the building. Like the previous images in this series, conversion to black and white was accomplished in Adobe Lightroom 5. I added a bit of contrast as well as darkening the blue sky to accentuate the lines of the building.


Aqua Tower in Chicago, Illinois is a unique structure in many ways. It is the tallest building in the world (as of this writing) which had a woman as the lead architect (Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects). It also has one of the more unique shapes you will find in a building. The outdoor terraces differ in shape from floor to floor, creating an undulating look to the building’s exterior. The undulations create ‘pools’ of glass, which look like water when reflecting the blue sky. The different shapes were chosen based on such criteria as views, solar shading and size of the dwelling. The building currently houses a hotel, the Radisson Blu, on the first 18 floors, then several floors of rental appartments and finally more floors dedicated to condominiums. The building is located in the Lakeshore East area of Chicago, which is a quiet area with it’s own park, but a short walking distance from either the river, Lake Michigan or Millenium Park.


This image shows some of the wonderful architectural work done by Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago’s Rookery Building. The building was built by Daniel Burnham and John Root and completed was completed in 1888. At the time it was one of the most expensive and largest commercial buildings in Chicago. The building’s name comes from a nickname given to the area prior to the construction of the building. The area had been home to Chicago’s temporary city hall and a water tank and had been called ‘the rookery’ because of the birds that nested there as well as the probability of being ‘rooked’ by the local politicians.


It’s been a few weeks since I really did any shooting, the weather here has been obnoxious and I’ve been working on some other projects as well. However, with a bit of good weather, I decided to go out one evening for a short photowalk around the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I rented a tilt/shift lens to play with so one of my goals was to play with that, the other thing I wanted to experiment with was shooting some long exposures. There weren’t a lot of clouds in the sky when I went out, but as the evening came in there were a handful of clouds in the sky. As I was packing up to head home, I decided to take one more long exposure shot. I set my tripod up low and used my 16-35mm to get a wide angle shot of the Alumni Memorial Hall building. The building is currently used as part of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, but when it was originally conceived in the late 1800’s, it was going to be a memorial to University men who had died in the Civil War. The building didn’t start construction until the early 1900’s and by that time the exact role of the building was in a bit of flux.


Guggenheim Museum – Fisheye

Posted under New York

One of my favorite places to visit and subjects to shoot in New York City is the Guggenheim Museum. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and opened in 1959, it is a unique structure and makes for some interesting photography. This shot was taken across the street using the Sigma 15mm fisheye lens. What I find interesting about shooting with a fisheye in a ‘street’ situation is the way it can incorporate elements that you weren’t expecting. I composed the shot for the museum. I thought the cars moving through the shot added another level of interest. I didn’t expect the cyclist, but I’m glad he popped into the frame as I took the shot.


Woman’s Board Grand Staircase

Posted under Architecture

Women's Board Grand Staircase

The Art Institute of Chicago is a great place to visit, not only for the exhibits themselves, but for the architecture of the building itself. This is the “Woman’s Board Grand Staircase” and is located just off the main entrance to the museum. My main goal in processing was to bring out as much detail as I could in the stairs and the stone work.