Category Archives: Travel Photography

Photo of the Day: Skyline from the lake

Last weekend was incredibly clear, puffy white clouds filled the sky–basically a perfect day for photos.  The city never looked better.  It took me almost an hour to swim out to this spot, plus it was incredibly difficult to keep the water off my lens.  The things I do for my art.

Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan

 

Photo of the Day: The Rookery Staircase

Today is the first day of what I hope will become a regular daily feature.  I want to post a photo on my blog every day; I realize this is a big step, a big responsibility, a venture into the unknown.  But as the Zen Master says, “a journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step”…I think he really meant one photo.  So here goes….

This is the staircase at the Rookery Building, designed by Burnham and Root. This is one of my favorite buildings in Chicago, unfortunately access is restricted, so I haven’t been able to shoot there in decades.  Luckily I had an assignment in the building last week and updated my collection of Rookery photos.

Rookery_Staircase022aWM.jpg

Chicago Presidential Suites

Hilton & Towers Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographerHilton & Towers Presidential Suite -- Chicago hotel photographerHilton & Towers Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographerHotel Inter-Continental Presidential Suite -- Chicago hotel photographerHotel Inter-Continental Presidential Suite -- Chicago hotel photographerHyatt Regency Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographerHyatt Regency Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographerPark Hyatt Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographyPark Hyatt Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographyPark Hyatt Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographyPeninsula Hotel Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographerPeninsula Hotel Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographerRitz Carlton Hotel Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographerRitz Carlton Hotel Presidential Suite -- Chicago architecture photographer

Last week when the NATO summit was in town, our city played host to thousands of international visitors, and a couple dozen world leaders.  Where do these presidents, prime ministers and brutal dictators stay when they are here in Chicago? Surely not at the Days Inn or the Holiday Inn Express.  More than likely, they occupied the many uber-elegant Presidential Suites that are downtown.  I had the wonderful privilege to photograph several of them for Elite Traveler magazine. After shooting this assignment, I know that I will never be satisfied with any hotel room again…but then I rarely pay $4000 to 5000 per night for a room.  No, that isn’t a misprint.  Politicians, rock stars, Wall Street bankers, and world leaders are about the only people who can afford this luxury.  Here is a glimpse into that rarefied world that most of us will never be privy to.

CHICAGO AFTER DARK

Pritzker Pavilion - Chicago night photographyChicago night photographyChicago night photographyMichigan Avenue and Water Tower - Chicago night photographySix corners in Wicker Park - Chicago night photographyChicago night photographyChicago night photographyChinatown - Chicago night photographyCloud Gate - Chicago night photographyChicago night photographyWacker Drive in rain - Chicago night photographyChicago night photographyChicago night photographyChicago night photographyChicago night photographyWrigley Building and Wacker Drive - Chicago night photography
When the sun goes down, the colors come alive. Anyone who has done nighttime photography will attest to the amazing colors and wowie zowie effects that can mysteriously appear; invariably, the colors are better and more intense than what you see with the naked eye. Of course a tripod is essential unless you are going for some wacky motion effects or doing flash photography. Here is an assortment of photos I took in Chicago at night–if I wasn’t such a “morning person” I would be doing this more often.

TUPPERWARE ANNUAL REPORT 2002

Tupperware annual report- CoverTupperware annual report: Indiana and NYCTupperware annual report: Chicago and OhioTupperware annual report: Mexico City and FrankfurtTupperware annual report: Versailles, FranceTupperware annual report: Tokyo and Mexico CityTupperware annual report: Delhi, IndiaTupperware annual report: Indiana and Shenzhen, ChinaTupperware annual report: ShenzhenTupperware annual report: Manila, Philippines
Exactly ten years ago I had the privilege of being hired to photograph the Tupperware Annual Report; this assignment took me around the world, visiting nine countries in 19 days.  Yeah, that sounds ridiculously hectic now, but at the time, it really didn’t seem that bad–it was almost like time slowed down as I tried to absorb the incredible mix of cultures.  The Dundee-based design firm SamataMason (now Smbolic) sent me to Mexico City, NYC, Paris, Frankfurt, Delhi, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Manila, and Tokyo to gather images illustrating the marketing efforts of Tupperware.  Traveling in those months immediately after 9/11 was a little tense, but everything went without a hitch. The only regrets: I wish the trip lasted longer, and I wish I had been shooting digital back then.

 

Chicago’s Union Station

Great Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationGreat Hall in Chicago's Union StationColumns outside Chicago's Union StationUnion Station in ChicagoUnion Station and Willis Tower

One of the most incredible interior spaces in Chicago is rarely seen, unless you are a commuter or Amtrak loyalist.  And even then, most people rushing to or from their train have little time to stop and admire the breathtaking architecture surrounding them.  Union Station was completed in 1925 by the architectural firm of  Graham, Anderson and Probst, though Daniel Burnham drew up the original plans; he died before his plan could be realized.  The 110’ high, block-long Great Hall is a vast space defined by it’s barrel-vaulted ceiling and rows of Corinthian columns (not related to the Corinthian leather in your dad’s Chrysler).  As many as 100,000 passed through Union Station back in its heydey in the 1940s, though today it’s a small fraction of that number.  Next time you are in the west Loop, grab a sandwich and have lunch sitting on the benches in the Great Hall and just admire how grand architecture can inspire the soul–or at least make for an enjoyable lunch.

Charlie Trotter, in rememberence

The following post was was from 2012 when Charlie Trotter closed his world famous and legendary restaurant on Armitage, and chose to move on to greener and more fulfilling pastures.  Earlier this week, we received the shocking news of his untimely passing.  During his career, Charlie reinvented what it means to create cutting edge meals, and his food ideas have become standard fare for chefs around the world.  Sure he ruffled some feathers along the way, and was known for his abrasive leadership style, but most of all, Charlie will be remembered for the amazing food he prepared, the chefs he trained, and the pleasure he shared with thousands of diners throughout the years.  We will miss you Chef.

 

It’s been a beautiful run, but after 25 years, Charlie Trotter is calling it quits. Just like that leftover lasagna–even if it’s still good for a late-night snack–at some point you just have to say goodbye.  Trotter is leaving when he’s at the top of his game.  Since 1987, his Lincoln Park restaurant has been a Mecca to foodies and culinary aficionados from around the world.  Not only did he introduce a new philosophy to gourmet cooking, he trained hundreds of fine chefs who have gone on to great acclaim (Grant Achatz for one).   A PBS TV star and author of 14 cookbooks, Trotter was a virtual food empire, and has received a pantry full of awards and accolades.  When Chicago magazine name him the “second-meanest person” in the city, he was upset because he never likes to be Number Two.  I had the privilege of photographing him several times in the past 20 years, and he has always been a gentleman, generous with his time, and respectful of my craft.  Here are some photos from my visits to Charlie Trotter’s restaurant.

World famous chef Charlie Trotter in 1998 for Wine Spectator20 years ago, Charlie Trotter in 1992 for Town & Country magazineThe famous table in the kitchen at Charlie TrottersThe staff at Charlie Trotters in 1998--any famous chefs in this photo?The dining room in 1992The dining room in 1992 at Charlie Trotters restaurant in Lincoln  ParkArtistic food creations at Charlie Trotters in 1992A fruit soup at Charlie Trotters in 1992 for Town & Country magazineThe famous table in the kitchen at Charlie Trotters 1992Artistic food creation at Charlie Trotters in 1992Artistic food creation at Charlie Trotters in 1992Young chef Charlie Trotter in 1992Charlie Trotter in the kitchen in 1995World famous Charlie Trotters restaurant on Armitage in Lincoln Park in 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elkhart, Indiana: A Tale of Two Cities

Bucolic Elkhart RiverSlow pace of life in ElkhartThe popular River WalkLunch time at the Daily GrindHistoric buildings on Main StreetOwner of Dicor, an RV industry supplierTina and Tina, two unemployed womenMonica, an unemployed mother of fourElkhart mayor Dick Moore  Boarded up houses, a familiar sightA casualty on Main StreetVacancy on Main StreetA local food pantryStocking shelves at the food pantryKaren, a victim of foreclosureOwner of Pop Culture, a soda pop store on Main Street

During this seemingly endless recession, few cities have been hit as hard as Elkhart, Indiana. With a local economy dependent on the whims of the RV industry, the recent downturn saw unemployment hit a whopping 20 percent. Thankfully, things have improved over the past year, but people are still suffering.  In September, I was sent to Elkhart with a writer from the Paris-based newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur to document how people are coping with the devastating effects of the recession.  What we found were two very different Elkharts.  The first was the upbeat, optimistic, rose-colored version of life portrayed by the business leaders, politicians and Chamber of Commerce spokespersons.  The second Elkhart was a sad and painful depiction expressed by local residents in a food pantry, unemployment office, and on the quiet streets of this once-prosperous town.  The “real” Elkhart apparently resides in the eye of the beholder.

Traditional Flavors of Amish Country

Fresh-baked pies, Country Lane Bakery in MiddleburyHomemade Amish apple butter Fresh-baked pie and bread, Country Lane Bakery in MiddleburyTraditional Amish horse and buggyWashing clothes the old-fashioned wayPaying for food on the honor systemSucculent ripe tomatoes at the Dutch Country MarketBees making Amish honeyShopping for peaches at Shipshewana Farmers Market
Just two hours–and 200 years–from Chicago in NE Indiana is Amish Country. Anchored by the towns of Shipshewana, Goshen and Nappanee, this area is home to a religious sect that disavows modern conveniences and other trappings of life in the 21st century.  Lines of buggies dot the country roads, women in long dresses and colorful bonnets shop at local markets, and men sporting beards and black coats are commonplace.  Last month I was sent to this region to document some of the culinary traditions of the Amish for ADA Times, the publication of the American Dietetic Association.  Traveling to farmers markets, retail stores, farm stands, and small farms down isolated back roads, I discovered a vast assortment of tasty baked goods, succulent fruits and vegetables, cheese factories, and jars of homemade pickles, apple butter and cherry salsa.  The Amish may not have their MTV, but they are prepared when the munchies come-a-calling.

 

Urbs in Horto: City in a Garden

The Official Chicago SealColumbus Park designed by Jens JensenLurie Garden at Millennium ParkMidway Plaisance at University of ChicagoBird Sanctuary at Montrose BeachLincoln Park LagoonBobolink Meadow in Jackson ParkOsaka Japanese Garden in Jackson ParkLincoln Park Lagoon Lincoln ParkOhio Beach Park Rogers Park in Autumn South Michigan Avenue and Millennium ParkNorth Pond in Lincoln Park

When people think of Chicago they think big city, historic architecture, traffic jams, and hot dogs.  But there is another side of the city that the locals know well, but outsiders may not be aware of.  I am speaking of the parks, gardens, forest preserves and other remnants of nature that still survive in the city.  When Chicago was incorporated in 1837, the founding fathers (mothers?) chose the motto “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden) and there must have been a reason.  Granted, there were probably a lot more gardens and nature back then, but the natural aspects of the city can still be found.  A few statistics:  552 parks comprising 7300 acres, 33 sand beaches, 16 lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and 20 million visitors to Lincoln Park alone.  In these photos I show a small portion of the natural wonders that can be found by any urban explorer (and check out that City Seal with motto).