Tag Archives: chicago photography

Chicago Urban Farms

Iron Street FarmDaily tours at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmDaily tours at Iron Street Farm, ChicagoIron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmComposting at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmFish production at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmIron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmComposting area at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmHoney production at Iron Street Farm, Chicago urban farmThe Plant, Chicago urban farm in Back of the Yards areaThe Plant, Chicago urban farmArea under construction at The Plant Hydroponic growing at The PlantTilapia production tanks at The Plant Vegetables at The Plant, Chicago urban farmVegetable production at The Plant, Chicago urban farm

Urban farm, it almost sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me, it isn’t. These farms are sprouting up (no pun intended) all over Chicago and other urban areas, and represent an efficient way to re-purpose under-utilized warehouse space in the city, often in economically distressed areas. Plus, they offer a tremendous opportunity for small-scale organic farmers to ply their trade in a supportive and mega-green environment.

I recently had the occasion to photograph two such urban farms: The Plant and Iron Street Farm. The former calls itself “a net-zero energy vertical farm and food business operation” whose purpose is to “promote closed-loop food production and sustainable economic development through education and research.” Now that’s a mouthful (no pun intended). And the later is a “seven-acre site on Chicago’s south side that produces local, healthy, and sustainable food year-round with a focus on serving, training, and engaging vulnerable populations.” Urban farms produce a wide range of products including cheese, vegetables, mushrooms, honey, beer, compost, and even fish. I suspect when we sang “Old McDonald had a farm” this wasn’t exactly the type of farm we were referring to.

 

Dancers Promote Non-Violence

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Alumni from the Kids Can Dance group in Evanston performed a series of dances yesterday at Evanston Township High School. The theme was non-violence, an appropriate message considering the rash of violence plaguing teens locally and around the country. The program is being done in conjunction with “Ten Thousand Ripples”, an art project featuring ten Buddha sculptures being installed around the city, much like the cow exhibit of several years ago.

Chicago Auto Show

Earlier this month, more than one million people came to McCormick Place to visit the world’s largest indoor parking lot, often referred to as the Chicago Auto Show.  For the auto aficionado, this was a once-a-year opportunity to touch the cars you only dream about: Ford, Chevy, Honda, Kia, and even Hyundai.  And those lucky few willing to wait in long lines had the heart-stirring experience of sitting in the front seat and looking out the same windshield that people who actually own these cars will look through.  This is heady stuff.  But the show appealed to the mind and not just the passions of the attendees–vital information could be gleaned from the knowledgeable staff at the show: Does the F-150 come in diesel?  How many cup holders in a Mini-Cooper?  Are floor mats here to stay?  With hundreds of cars buffed to a blinding patina, and the entire convention floor reeking of that “new car smell”, this was the ultimate in Auto Erotica. For me, the highlight was seeing a 1969 black GTO, that sexy muscle car that Gregg and I took across country in the ultimate road trip which became the basis of my book “On the Road”.

Chicago Auto Show 2013Chicago Auto Show 2013World's First Yellow CarView from the back seatChicago Auto Show 2013$400,000 LamborghiniThe Original WoodyLee IococcaChicago Auto Show 2013"I'm thrilled it comes in Nutmeg Mist"Queen Elizabeth's carMega-cute Mini CooperChicago Auto Show 2013VrrrrooooomChicago Auto Show 2013Chicago Auto Show 2013Kia concept car

 

 

University of Chicago

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I am fortunate to live just a few blocks from one of the world’s great universities.  Students lovingly describe this institution of higher learning as the place where “fun comes to die”.  Personally, I think they make this proclamation to mislead their parents so they can justify the $40,000 per year expense. Nestled in the leafy neighborhood of Hyde Park–home of Barack Obama and the first A-Bomb–the university is a mix of Gothic and modern architecture. There are more Nobel Prize winners here than neighborhood bars–how many large universities can make that claim?  In fact U of C has the most Nobel winners of any school in the world.  The university offers a never-ending subject for my photography as new buildings appear on a regular basis, and each season brings new discoveries.

Chicago Neighborhood Murals

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Chicago is known as a city of neighborhoods, each with it’s own ethnic identity.  It’s no surprise  that public art appears on walls throughout the city representing the local culture.  Here is just a sampling of murals (or you may call it graffiti) in some of Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras

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Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras has been offering music education for more than 60 years. The CYSO consists of five orchestras and a chamber music program, plus it offers classes and international touring. Since I’m not between 7 and 18, I can’t enroll, but I did have an opportunity to photograph the orchestra during a rehearsal before a performance at Symphony Hall. It was inspirational to see so much talent and dedication in people so young, though it did cause me to wonder: Don’t kids spend their teen years perfecting their Frisbee skills anymore?

Chicago Christkindlmarket, a Holiday Tradition

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For those who rarely venture into the Loop during the holiday season, these photos are for you.  Since 1997, the city has been sponsoring Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza.  This outdoor market which features German crafts, jewelry, clothing, toys and lots of food attracts over a half million people from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.  Inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Chicago version stays true to its European roots.  In fact, most of the vendors actually travel from Germany to work the booths, or at least are German-speaking.  Appropriate winter food is also available, including wurst, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, lots of pastries, and German beer and traditional “Glühwein”, a hot spiced wine that is served around the holidays.  The market closes on Christmas eve, so there is still time to investigate this Chicago and European tradition.

 

Photo of the Day: Art Institute Modern Wing

The Modern Wing of the venerable Art Institute of Chicago opened three years ago and has been an unqualified hit among art lovers and tourists alike–not that these two groups are mutually exclusive, but…   This museum is home to 20th and 21th-century art plus the world-renowned collections of modern European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, architecture and design, and photography.  In this photo we see the museum’s popular “Yoga and Picasso” class held on Tuesday mornings. Most people are not aware that Pablo was a yoga enthusiast, often cited as the inspiration for his Blue Period. Next month the museum will feature “Cooking with Matisse”–sure to be a big hit.

Picasso at the Modern Wing of Art Institute

DRIBBLE, JUMP, SHOOT

And here are the numbers: three days, nine games, one winner, 1200 photos. Boy is my finger sore, I think I need to ice it now that the games are over. Last weekend I covered the Great West Basketball Tournament and I watched more b-ball than I’ve seen in a several years. I’m proud to say I saw a lot of good “D”, some awesome pick and rolls, some impossible three pointers, and some dunks you don’t even see at the county fair. But being “up close and personal” is a whole new experience, and I gave it a 110% effort. I was hoping to get some good photos, but as they say, it ain’t over till it’s over, and the fat lady just sang, so here are some of my favorite shots. I told my boss that I came to play, I put my game face on, and gave it my all.  At this point, all I can say is, “wait till next year.” If there are any sports clichés I’ve missed, chalk it up to experience, and I’ll be back.

Pushing is allowed only on 'bad hair days' What's with the basketball, I thought this was yoga class?Why don't they put a handle on these balls?       OMG, are cheerleaders allowed to do THAT??Uh oh, should have used my GPS....going the wrong way  Blocking the dribblers leg with your groin is very effective defense What's the call, ref, jump ball? Mama said there'd be days like this New hybrid sport: Full Contact WrestleBall  It's my ball and you can't play CAT FIGHT !!!!Sorry, but I get emotional at basketball games

Chicago’s Union Station

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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.