Sweet Home Chicago
Exploring Parts of Chicago with a Smartphone Camera
- Well, it’s been
- Well, it’s been a long two years, hasn’t it?
- Testing, Testing, Swab 1-2-3…
- Off to Heathrow (Take the coach they say. It’s fun they say)
- Cathay Pacific T3 lounge, Heathrow Airport
- AA87 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare International (Main Cabin Extra)
- Into the USA, Crown Plaza O’Hare
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Fooding around Chicago… Badly
- Starbucks Reserve Rosterary, North Michigan Avenue
- Exploring Chicago with a smartphone
- Back to O’Hare, British Airways Lounge
- BA296 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow (World Traveller Plus – Premium Economy)
- Welcome back to the UK, or how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory
- To the Journey
There are many types of photography I like – but the smartphone opens up so many possibilities compared to having a big black scary camera that can scare people.
With the rise of computational photography (where multiple shots are taken and combined by an algorithm to create a high-dynamic-range image), there are real reasons some days to leave the camera at home or in the hotel room.
In my terms, on my first night in Chicago, I tend to leave the DSLR behind (normally as the SD Card is occupied copying files to a laptop), but more importantly – it is one less heavy thing to carry after lifting weights across airport plazas and hotel corridors). The rest of the time, the smartphone is in my pocket or in my hand ready to pull out and shoot (although I’ll be honest, the DSLR is normally not far behind, slung on my shoulder.
Both suit my style of city photography – burst style. After all, like it or not, we’re all on stopwatches. Whereas some may spend hours and minutes considering shots, I’m much more opportunistic in my style – grabbing bits of life
Throughout this section, everything has been shot on an Apple iPhone 12 Pro. Whilst the 13 Pro is the latest and greatest, the 12 Pro is still a very capable device.
And also – it’s great to get off the upgrade merry-go-round and make electronics last these days. And I can say that – 35 mm as I have a Canon EOS 6D that is still in live-fire use even though it’s knocking on for 9 years old now. Whilst it’s not as pretty or as light as my EOS R, having a spare tank like this is never a bad thing.
It’s the same thing with smartphones – advancements are slowing on the premium devices to the point where buying a new device every year isn’t needed anymore, rather you get the device with the feature set you need.
Similarly, developments in smartphone photography are reducing the reliance on the imaging sensor and lens (even though they’re important parts of the mix) and getting your System-On-A-Chip to work hard instead. With the software changes being more important, sometimes the hardware matters a little less.
The only thing it’s missing is a more capable telephoto lens – 2X is hardly what I’d call “long” in telephoto terms (equivalent to 52 mm on a 35 mm frame – I’d call that a portrait lens, more than a telephoto lens).
I tend to stick to the default camera app – there are plenty of alternatives out there (ProCam is one I use now and again), but sometimes I need simplicity when I shoot – and whilst the Camera app maybe basic as anything, it works in my use case.
Onto The Photos
I’m not going to dive into camera lenses, specifications, settings or much here – I’m just going to add a little commentary as I type along.
No visit to Chicago would be complete without seeing Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. Whilst some can argue about it – it’s still an interesting piece of public art.
Even if you can go under its belly button.
Millennium Park also is one of my favourite places for a Chicago City shot. I just love the lines in this photo – with the life around it and the train going past.
Heading down North Michigan Avenue a little, there’s a little bit of soul destruction.
There are some famous buildings on North Michigan as well, such as The Tribune Tower
As well as the views across the Chicago River (Not that I’ve used that for many a trip report header… in the past few years).
There’s a Saturday Night Live sketch in this somewhere…
Each day is different when shooting. Sometimes you get grey and snow. Other days…
Even the locals need a walk, every now and again.
When I was there, it was coming up to St Patrick’s Day, it seems it was time to dye the Chicago River green. Because… reasons as far as I can work out.
In the past, I cheated heavily and used the Brown line to cross back and forth across the Chicago River. This is still a good idea – but check the timetable. That line has become more unreliable than some deep dish pizzas.
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