Chicago – The Clean and Windy City

December 29th, 2011

A collage of Chicago showing  views of this beautiful clean city. (Ian C Whitworth)

The beautiful clean city of Chicago is definitely a great destination to add to your travel bucket list.  The “Windy City” offers much to see and do while enjoying its tourist friendly streets.  Chicago’s many impressive parks and waterfront areas located on the west shore of Lake Michigan also add to its charm.  One of the things that really struck me while spending time on the city’s streets, was just how clean things were in this world class city of skyscrapers.

View of the Chicago skyline with the Sears Tower (Ian C Whitworth)      Colourful and clean Chicago street view (Ian C Whitworth)

View of the clock tower on the Wrigley Building in Chicago (Ian C Whitworth)

Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Riverwalk, which follows the Chicago River allowing for great views and photo opportunities along the way.  Looking up at the various buildings and bridges from the river’s edge makes for excellent perspectives for your images.  Chicago boasts having the most movable bridges of any city in the world.  Another great river fact you will hear about while riding the hop-on-hop-off bus (an excellent and informative way to see this city) is that the flow of the Chicago River was reversed in 1900 to eliminate the contamination of the city’s drinking water.

A view of the Trump International Tower on the Chicago River (Ian C Whitworth)

Whether you want to shop the stores on the Magnificent Mile, visit the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium or take one of the fastest elevators in the world up the Sears / Willis Tower, there is definitely no lack of things to do in Chicago. Take in the entertainment on Navy Pier and be sure to walk to the pier end and look at the scenic view of the Chicago Harbour Lighthouse.  Another impressive skyscraper is the John Hancock Center with its steel structure supporting the building on the outside, giving it a unique appearance.  From here you will be able to see great views of the city, both during the day and at night as well as the beach area just to the north.

Looking down on the Chicago beach from the John Hancock Center (Ian C Whitworth)

Looking north along Michigan Avenue from the bridge towards the John Hancock Center (Ian C Whitworth)      Looking up from the Chicago River at the Marina City complex (Ian C Whitworth)

For us photographers, Chicago offers up many great image opportunities.  Some of these include the famous Chicago Theatre sign, Trump Tower, Sears Tower, John Hancock Center, Wrigley Building and the Chicago Lighthouse just to name a few.  Views along the Chicago River and its many bridges make for beautiful settings and I also can’t forget to mention some of the amazing parks such as Lincoln, Millennium and Grant.  Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest in the world, is also a must see within Grant Park.

A view of the Chicago skyline from gardens within Millennium Park (Ian C Whitworth)     Looking up the impressive structure of the John Hancock Center (Ian C Whitworth)

Come well equipped to take advantage of these photographic opportunities.  For the more serious photographers, don’t forget your tripod to take full advantage of the night-time images available.  Using a polarizer filter for those bright daytime shots will help remove glare and help bring out the best in the sky and surrounding colours.  Telephoto opportunities exist from the observation areas on top of skyscrapers like the John Hancock Center, capturing architectural elements on the many interesting buildings and also getting that lighthouse shot from the end of Navy Pier.  Wide-angle lens will enable you to capture the full effect of the many sky scrappers and scenic cityscapes.

Looking up from the river walk below the Michigan Ave Bridge at the Chicago Tribune sign (Ian C Whitworth)


Chicago Fun Facts: Photography Tips:
  • Metro population of greater than 9.4 million people
  • Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park is one of the largest in the world
  • The “L” or “EL” rapid transit system is 2nd in the USA for total track length & 3rd busiest in the United States
  • 38 moveable bridges span the Chicago River and was once 52 at the peak
  • Willis Tower (Sears Tower) is the tallest building in the United States
  • Lincoln Park’s 7 million visitors per year is only second to Central Park in NYC in the United States

  •  For your best night shots around Chicago, try to incorporate the following
    • Sturdy tripod
    • ISO 100 to reduce noise if feasible
    • Use a remote release or the timer to reduce camera shake
    • Use mirror lock-up to further reduce camera shake
    • Small apertures of f/16 and smaller will produce the star effect on lights
  • Shooting up from the river at the city incorporating one or more of the many bridges makes for a nice effect

Night view of both the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower (Ian C Whitworth)

If you have not yet experienced the beautiful clean city of Chicago, add it to you list of places to visit and enjoy this great destination in person.


References:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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One comment on “Chicago – The Clean and Windy City

  1. Nancy says:

    i appreciate your efforts to make people well rounded! great post! thanks

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