The theme for Becky’s Square Photo Challenge this month is Tops. Much of the architecture in downtown Chicago is stunning and nowhere more so than on the very top of some of it’s most illustrious buildings.
This week, guest host Viveka has given us the topic Capital for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. We have visited a few State Capitals on our travels around the US so here is my take on the subject. Living in Illinois as we do, Springfield would be the obvious place to start.
Madison, is about the halfway point between our house and where our daughter and her family live in Wisconsin, so we sometimes meet there to visit places like Olbrich Botanic Gardens and the Capital Building.
We have family living in Indiana so a trip to Indianapolis is usually one of our destinations. Just my luck, one of the sharpest pictures I ever took was one of the steam plant, which is the only reason I include it here. Also pictured, The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, White River Gardens and a fountain at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
A recent visit to St. Paul, Minnesota resulted in some pictures of the Capital Building, the Cathedral of St. Paul, and the Conservatory at Como Park Zoo.
Our youngest daughter and her husband lived in Salt Lake City, Utah for a brief period so we spent a week there taking in the sights which included the Capital Building, Temple Square and the College of Pharmacy.
Our visit to Cheyenne, Wyoming was only a short one as we were on our way to Utah, but we stopped long enough to visit the Capital Building.
I’ve missed one or two of these Lens-Artists Challenges recently so I’m making up for lost time with this one. Amy has chosen A Window With A View as the topic this week and here is my take on the subject. The first picture is a view of Millennium Park from The Chicago Art Institute. The second was taken at the Cuneo Mansion in Vernon Hills where there was a lovely view of the surrounding gardens from one of my favorite rooms there.
The next view, of the waterfront on Mackinac Island, was taken from a window high up on a hill at Fort Mackinac.
The next two pictures were taken at the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oakbrook, Illinois. Two totally different views from the same room, one of the gardens and the other of the house. I believe this room was built as a sun or fresh air room which was supposed to be beneficial to the occupant’s health. If I remember rightly, there were windows like this on three sides of the room.
The next image was captured at the Capitol Building in St Paul, Minnesota. A window within a window overlooking the Capitol Grounds.
One of the biggest reasons for our travels has been to visit our children. For a while our youngest daughter and her family lived in a condo that had a very nice view of McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas. Before that, they lived in Salt Lake City, Utah where we visited the Natural History Museum that had a window where the view was almost the same looking in as it was looking out.
Climbing up the steps of one of the towers at Holy Hill Basilica provided a great view of an adjacent spire. Also in Wisconsin, this time at the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, there was a colorful view from one of the windows of the John Purves tugboat.
Or should that read ‘on and by the river?’ I’m not quite sure what constitutes being ‘on the river.’ Anyway, be that as it may and not withstanding, we spent the day in St. Charles, mostly on and by the river, the river being the Fox River as you can probably tell by the statue of the foxes overlooking the river from Main Street bridge.
There are some noteworthy and historic buildings on the banks of the river near Main Street. The St. Charles Municipal Building was designed in 1940 by architect R. Harold Zook, who is also known for designing the art deco-style Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge. On the opposite side of the river is Hotel Baker which was built in 1928 on the site of the old Haines Mill and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Along the river walk we came across some interesting sculptures, the first being ‘Reflections’ by Guy J. Bellaver. Bellaver also created ‘Ekwabet’ which means ‘watching over.’ The statue was dedicated by the city and named by members of four bands of Potawatomi at a ceremony in 1988. The statue replaced an earlier tribute to the Potawatomi, erected in 1915, that was destroyed by vandalism in the 1960’s. There was also a fascinating piece made, appropriately in the shape of a fox, entirely from recycled (no pun intended) bicycle parts by Francis J. Gagnepain IV.
Walking under the bridge, just south of Pottawatomie Park, we came in sight of the James and Joann Collins Pavilion and Tower. Always up for a challenge, my daughter and I climbed to the top where we got a slightly limited view of the river.
We left the river for a few hours to visit a giant Flea Market held at the Kane County Fair Grounds but returned later for a ride on one of the paddle boats. We took a leisurely cruise past the golf course and a couple of nature preserves towards Elgin. Any boat ride on the Fox River in this area is somewhat restricted as there is a dam both in St. Charles and Elgin.
You don’t see one of these on the river every day! I must admit we were all rather alarmed when we first noticed this car driving down the ramp and straight into the water but quickly realized it was one of those fancy amphibious vehicles. It went past us several times, drawing a rousing cheer from everyone on the boat, sometimes at a sedate Sunday-drive pace and sometimes with all the power and panache of a speedboat.
As we pulled back in at the boat dock, we got another view of the gingerbread tower and pavilion at Pottawatomie Park. And as we walked back to our car, I got a nice parting shot of a cormorant perching on a light pole high above Main Street Bridge. All in all, a lovely day on and by the river.
Despite discouraging weather predictions, I decided to head downtown on Saturday to see the Chicago Air & Water Show. As usual, I took the Metra train to Ogilvie Transportation Center and strolled down Wacker to the Riverwalk. Looking back at the River Point building I should have been warned by the cloud reflections that things were going to get rather wet but, ever the optimist, I continued on. I’d brought a light raincoat with me and now I was there I was determined to make the most of the day.
I walked east, past the floating gardens that are designed to attract butterflies and was pleased to see that, despite the gloomy skies, they seemed to be serving their purpose.
There was a good deal of traffic on the river including a flotilla of kayakers, water taxis, and sightseeing boats as well as all the private craft that were bobbing up and down and skimming along the waterway.
By the time I got to the Nicholas J. Melas Centennial Fountain and Water Arc, it had started raining so I took shelter under the fountain which gave me an interesting perspective of the waterfall and, as luck would have it, I was there in time to see the water shoot across the river, causing a tour boat to wait prudently until it had subsided.
I retraced my steps back to Michigan Avenue and walked down towards Oak Street Beach but by the time I got to Water Tower Place the rain had increased and I was feeling rather peckish so I decided to duck in there and get something to eat. I was met by the sight of hundreds of screaming teenagers (and some considerably older) flocking in to see someone called Jeffree Star. I had no idea who he was so I whipped out the phone and Googled the name. Apparently he is a You Tube personality and has made a fortune out of promoting his life-style on the internet. He was visiting Chicago to open one of his cosmetic stores and the fans were going crazy! Seven floors of yelling devotees chanting “Jeffree! Jeffree!” I’m always looking for a good photo opportunity so I abandoned the idea of getting lunch and went up to the third floor where most of the action was taking place. Unfortunately, by the time I figured out what was going on, the crowd was already about 5 deep all around the balconies, there was no way I could squeeze in and security was extremely tight regarding where you could stand. When Jeffree finally put in an appearance and the screaming reached a crescendo, I could only glimpse the top of his head. He stepped out and waved to the crowd, cut the ribbon and disappeared inside the store. It was all over in a matter of minutes. That’s one of the reasons I love coming to the city! You never know what you’re going to see!
It was still raining when I left Water Tower Place so I went a few doors down to The Cheesecake Factory for some pizza. By the time I emerged into the daylight again, the rain had eased off so I continued on until I reached Oak Street Beach just in time to see a trail of colored smoke left behind by a team of jet planes. It was already late afternoon and there was nowhere dry to sit so I took up a position on the path and waited to see what, if anything, would fly by. Eventually three stunt planes came into sight, diving and soaring and doing loops. But somehow the clouds seemed to dampen everyone’s enthusiasm and when the rain started up again I joined a stream of people heading back to Michigan Avenue.
My last shot was of the Old Water Tower with the John Hancock Center beside it. Despite the miserable weather it was an interesting, if watery, day.
This week, Ann-Christine has chosen Angles as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge so I decided to use some shots that I had taken in downtown Chicago recently. More specifically they are images of the new Vista Tower that is being built on East Wacker. This 101-storey building will be the third tallest building in Chicago and will house 406 condominium residences and a 210-room hotel.
The chief architect on this project is Jeanne Gang, making it one of the two tallest structures designed by a woman in Chicago. We went down in June to check out its progress and I took a few pictures from different angles, mostly of the south side of the building.
It is expected to be ready for occupation in 2020 and I can only imagine how much it will cost to buy one of these luxury condos which will have a spectacular view of the lakefront. You can just see the top of the skyscraper with a crane extending upwards in this shot that I took from the roof of a building on Michigan Avenue.
I went downtown yesterday to see the Air and Water show which turned out to be a bit of a damp squib (more of that in an upcoming post) and also to check out how things were going at The Vista. This time I got a different angle of the building from the north side of the river. I’m looking forward to taking a few more pictures when the building is completed.
This time, for July Blue Squares, here are some well-known sights in downtown Chicago; The Roosevelt University building, Cubby Blue at Wrigley Field, Lake Michigan on a sunny day and the House of Blues.