This month, Becky is asking us to Square Up for the January Squares Photo Challenge. So, here I am, Stepping Up with a few images to kick off the year.
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.
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 week, Amy has chosen Architecture as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I like to visit historic houses when we go traveling so there are lots of building images in the photo files but for this challenge I decided to go with just a few examples of architecture close to home that, for me, stand out in the crowd. The first building is the Ward W. Willits House in Highland Park, Illinois, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1901.
Next up is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, Illinois. This place always takes my breath away, it’s so beautiful! And the facts and figures involved in the building of this architectural marvel are mind-boggling. The limestone and marble stones were quarried in Turkey and Italy and shipped to India where 70,000 cubic feet of stone was carved by 2,000 craftsmen. 40,000 pieces were then shipped to Bartlett where they were fitted together over a period of 16 months.
I love the architecture in Evanston and especially on the Campus of Northwestern University. Perhaps it’s because it reminds me a little bit of the college towns back home.
Another impressive piece of architecture that incorporates all kinds of symbolism is the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois.
One of the wonderful things about downtown Chicago is the diversity of its architecture, an interesting blend of the ornate past with the bold lines of present-day designs.
I’m a city girl at heart and although I’ve lived in the suburbs for many years now, there’s nothing I love better than a trip downtown, which is why I was so pleased to see the subject for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Cityscapes. Many thanks to Patti for providing us with this challenge. Although I was born in London, I now live near another great city, Chicago, which is where these images were captured.
For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to Cityscapes.
I usually do a bit of research before we visit somewhere new to us, but for some reason, probably because I thought we wouldn’t actually go there, San Antonio slipped under the radar. It was so unlike anything that I had pictured in my mind that I have to admit I was absolutely amazed when we arrived downtown. The River Walk, we had been told, was the place to go, so we began our adventure at Nueva Street and soon entered a whole other world of winding, watery wonder, one story beneath the streets of San Antonio.
The 2.5 mile-long route is accessed by a succession of steps and bridges many of which are quite decorative.
The River Walk is an astounding mixture of art and architecture with something to catch your eye at every turn such as this sculpture, outside The Briscoe Western Art Museum, entitled Camino de Galvez created by artist T. D. Kelsey .
We began our walk fairly early in the morning but by the time we reached Crockett Street and a brief detour to visit The Alamo, things were getting pretty busy and it wasn’t only people that were sharing the pathways but also quite a large population of birds, mostly pigeons but one or two other interesting characters as well, which is why I would think twice about visiting again. I braved them once but I don’t think I could willingly do it a second time which is a pity because I really loved the whole River Walk experience. I wish I wasn’t such a chicken when it comes to birds!
This post is in response to a new challenge, the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge which can be found at Wonder. Thanks to Patti for this opportunity to share these images and see other posts that reflect the theme Wonder.
This week’s entry for Becky’s June Squares features some interesting roofs that we discovered while visiting Texas last week. The first is at The Bishop’s Palace in Galveston; the second is in McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston; and the third is at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park, Houston.
More about our Texas trip in upcoming posts. For more on Becky’s June Squares go to Algarvian Roofs
This week, the topic for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is Barns or any Dilapidated Buildings. I don’t know why, but we very rarely seem to visit places that are not kept in at least reasonably good condition. In future, I will make a point of looking out for the less well-cared-for places. I did manage to find a couple of images that fit the bill, however, so here they are. The first was taken on our trip to Marion last year and features the old Marion Daily Republican building.
One of the things that I used to enjoy about visiting the Farm at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg was seeing and photographing the old barn. That was many years ago and the barn was already falling apart which, I suspect, added to its mellow charm. They eventually tore it down and replaced it with a garishly-painted new one which, although showing up well in subsequent pictures, couldn’t hold a candle to the old building. Looking at some of these later images, I’m wondering if they perhaps saved one of the old doors, possibly on its historical merits, painted it and incorporated it into the new building. How else could you explain its obvious state of dilapidation.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Barns or Any Dilapidated Buildings
Cee’s topic of choice for the Black & White Photo Challenge this week is Store Fronts & Building Signs. Opting to focus on the store front aspect of the challenge, and going through the photo files, I realized that more often than not, when I’ve stopped to take a picture of the exterior of a commercial building it’s usually been either a pub or a restaurant, neither of which technically meets the ‘store‘ criteria. However, I did come across one or two stores that I thought might be of interest the first of which is Tiffany’s in Oak Brook shopping mall.
From the opulent to the soon-to-be defunct; the end of an era. I had to stop at our local Toys R Us store to capture an image before it closes and is eventually torn down. For more than forty years we’ve been buying things for our kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and, alright, maybe even for ourselves at this once great toy store. I’m sad to see it go after all this time.
It might have been the flowers that first caught my eye at this store in Bartlett but even in black and white the building has a pleasing, small town, country look about it.
The store sign below has a little bit of history attached to it although the store itself is in a comparatively new shopping mall in Glenview. The ‘Hangar One’ part of it is a nod to the Glenview Naval Air Station that once occupied this spot from 1923 to 1995.
Going back a little further in history, many of the commercial buildings in Marion have names and dates incorporated in their architecture. I thought this store in the town square translated well into monochrome.
For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Store Front and Building Signs