Tag Archives: wrigley field

This week in thankfulness

To start with I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

I’m visiting NY for the weekend to see my family and reflecting a bit right now I’m thankful for a lot. I’ve switched to part time at my retail job and I really have started to find a good work / life balance. I turned 29 on Saturday and had an awesome party with awesome friends. I can’t express enough how important and awesome my friends are. Thank you everyone. This has been a great year. What I am thankful for going forward though are exciting projects. If you know me, dear reader, I’m not happy unless I’m doing a million things at once, here is what is going on right now:

  1. I’ll be working with dynamic improv duo Batterymouth to promote their upcoming run Fridays at DeMaat Theatre at Second City from Jan 21st – Feb 25th. So far we have one publicity photo ready but there are more on the way. In my eyes Batterymouth is one of the best kept secrets of Chicago theatre and I’m very excited to be working with them.
  2. Speaking of comedy… Long Pork is still going strong. The Gentlemen are hard at work on their next show which is set to debut at the Chicago Sketchfest on January 13th 9:30 pm. Also they’ve been invited to preform in the Charleston Comedy Festival for which they are super excited and honored.
  3. Still doing the ChicagoNow thing. Yesterday I published a photo set of Wrigleyville during last Saturday’s Northwestern vs. Illinois Football game. You can check that out here. Tomorrow I’ll be publishing a holiday gift guide for photographers so check back then.

That’s all for today friends. I hope you all enjoy your turkey dinners!

Football at Wrigley Field?

wrigleynwern-2As any good Chicagoan would be aware, on Saturday Wrigley Field was host to it’s first college Football game since 1938. The “Friendly Confines” were converted to host a special Northwestern vs Illinois game with the Illini eventually winning the day.

I took some time on Saturday to bike over to the Stadium and check out what was going on around it. When I got there I found that Wrigleyville was hustling and bustling like it is on a good summer day. There was a feeling of excitement in the air as I walked by person after person wearing either Northwestern Purple or Illinois Orange. Sure enough, Clark and Addison was alive. If it weren’t for the big winter coats and hats (and the fact you could see your breathe) you’d think the Baseball season were still in full swing.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Wrigleyville: The Training Wheels of Chicago

So, if you caught me on ChicagoNow Radio on Saturday you may have heard me mention I live in Wrigleyville. You may have even heard me refer to it as “the training wheels of Chicago.”

As much as I love to trash on my Lakeview-community-by-the-field I have to confess: I do love it here.

I moved to Chicago in May of 2007 after an epic hunt for apartments that had me flying out from New York three out of four weekends in March. When I finally settled down in a place, I had found one I loved.

The truth of the matter is the neighborhood isn’t that bad. The truth is I am a baseball fan so there is a certain magic and energy to me in living so close to the field, but at the same time I’m just far enough away that I don’t have to put up with the majority of the craziness.

If you can get past the craziness on Clark Street, Wrigleyville has a lot of hidden charm and I plan to showcase more of this as time goes on. What follows are some of my favorite shots I’ve taken of Wrigleyville, most of them have never been published before.

Waveland and Kenmore in HDR


HDR or High Dynamic Range is a photography post production technique that seems to be very trendy these days. It’s known for yielding striking images full of color and detail not attainable through a single shot. I’ve been fascinated by the idea since I first heard about it a few years ago.

Basically, for those of you who are not photographers the idea is pretty simple. A digital image can only contain a certain amount of light / color information so tones above and below the acceptable range get clipped out, either appearing as pure black or pure white. What HDR seeks to do is to bring back that information by working with multiple exposures.

In short: you take three shots, one too dark, one too light and one even. Each one of those images will have information the others won’t. For example, one image might highlight the color in the sky and another might bring out the details in the shadows. By combining these three shots we can create one composite image with more color and detail than any of the originals.

For my first attempt I worked with a combination of tools from shot to upload. The first of which is my Canon Digital Rebel XTi and my trusty Canon 28mm f2.8 lens. I’m a big fan of this lens for it’s wide angle and relatively high aperture (the f2.8). The allows my camera to take in a lot of light very quickly with a lot of sharpness and crisp color. This is absolutely one of my favorite lenses.  Every Canon shooter should have something similar.

From there I loaded my images into Apple’s Aperture 2.1 software where I picked my three shots and did some conservative adjustments to bring out more detail in the images. From there I went into Adobe Photoshop CS3.

Now anyone who knows my photography most likely knows that I do everything I can to avoid working in Photoshop. These days I try to accomplish everything I possibly can inside Aperture. However I have not been impressed by what I’ve seen from the Hydra HDR plugin that is available for Aperture, so I decided to give Photoshop’s built in one a chance.

Much to my delight the feature worked as advertised. By loading in the three images it was able to create one 32-bit image with a startling range of color. Unfortunately not many programs can handle a 32-bit file so I had to convert it back down to the 16-bit range of the previous files. However, the ultimate goal was still accomplished. My one 16-bit file now contained a lot more color and detail than any of the three. Still the image started to look a little flat so, from there I did some basic curves adjustments to restore some contrast and moved the image back to Aperture.

Inside Aperture I did a little more tweaking of saturation and sharpness to make the image punch some more and there we have it, my first real HDR image is a success. (At least I think so.)

The biggest challenge in this process to me was shooting the photographs themselves. I had to make sure that, without a tripod, I kept my shots steady and without interruption from cars or passers by.

As a whole I’m pleased by the process and the results. I will definitely play with HDR imaging a lot more in the future.