Sometimes it is hard to find, but it is always there.
These past few weeks have been filled with ups and downs. While there are many messages of hope and optimism, some days it gets harder to see the glass half full when it slowly seems to be draining from within.
You can sit in your home while being forced to engage in social distancing and wrestle over these thoughts in your head. You can be angry, scared or frustrated. But remain hopeful.
Many people are feeling the effects that are currently occurring in our society. From businesses closing their front doors to millions of people not knowing how they’ll make ends meet next month to fellow humans risking their lives to continue to work in order for the rest of the world does not shut down entirely. Be hopeful.
This is a moment in time that no one will forget. Each day it feels like we are still waking up to a dream. That we will somehow flip on the news and hear that none of this happened and while we eat our breakfast, drink our coffee and continue with our normal daily routine. That has not happened yet. The clouds still remain dark as we slowly, day by day fight through the fog. But the sun will shine again.
‘Hellos’ will once again be able to be said and accepted face to face.
But these are the days that keep you strong. These are the times where you search in your back pocket and pull out that memory of kindness, humbleness and gratitude that once made you smile. These are the days that you remember the softness of a hug, the warmth of being surrounded in a crowd, and the inviting eyes of a stranger as you pass each other on the street.
And while many aspects of life has changed, some may be gone, hope will always be there.
Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory
Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory is an oasis tucked in the urban sheets of the city. After a pretty grueling winter, walking through the front doors you will quickly understand why this conservatory is described as “landscape art under glass”. The air seemed a little bit fresher, the light beamed a tad brighter and my mind was happier. It was my first trip here this year, and it seemed like time stood still since my last. I curiously move through each of the 8 landscape gardens, eyes moving from one exotic species of plants to another. From beautiful flowers, to towering palm trees to tropical ponds and waterfalls, the Garfield Park Conservatory is 12 acres of nature that is filled with life in Chicago.[/tatsu_text]
Macro photography, or photos in general, has never been my first intention in coming here but I have always found sort or therapeutic. I see, react and just allow myself to lose myself in it. But more importantly, it forces me to enjoy each moment; The way a petal is slowly curved up, the way the rays of the sun passes through the leaves, or the way the light accentuates the colors in flowers, photography forces me to focus on the simpleness of life.
- 2.1 k plant species in growing in 8 indoor show houses and 10 outdoor acres
- 245, 242 visitors enjoyed the conservatory in 2018
- 28 exhibits and displays open to the public
- It’s free
Chicago Live Concert Photography
The only better feeling than being at a live concert in Chicago is being able to capture each note in a photograph. Although I have been photographing music and musicians for quite a few years, each concert still feels like the first. I see it in my photographs; my mindset seems to change. Pictures become more about energy, light becomes a backdrop, and the noise is as prevalent in each image as it was in person. There is a sense of freedom with each click because it is not about shooting a gig or taking pictures for a client, this is about the love of music and being able to share that with others. Here are a few shots from my latest live concert.[/tatsu_text]
If you like this, you will love Scott Stapp Concert Photography
If you’re interested in a concert or music photographer contact me here
‘Twas the morning before Christmas and all through Chicago, the lakefront was silent apart from the waves below. (I know, I know, I’m quite the gifted wordsmith.)
My eyes slowly opened to the alarm I instantly regretted setting just a few hours ago. It was Christmas Eve morning but the view outside of my window begged to differ. I hazily grabbed my camera bag and stumbled out of my apartment which was still enclosed in the shade of night. Like the every previous time I chased the sunrise, the first 10 minutes being awake I contemplated turning around to the dream of falling back into the comfort of my own bed but how many moments worth remembering started off like that? (rhetorical question…I’m sure many.) Shaking out the cobwebs, I pressed on to my favorite place to watch the sunrise on the lakefront.
It’s always that moment just before the sun rises above the horizon, where the warming hues spill its way through the sky that keeps me forever in awe. Seeing how beautiful the start of a day can be seemed like a fitting way to end off the year. It’s like they say what feels like an end is often a new beginning.
Where to can you watch the sunrise? Click Here to see my favorite Chicago Spots
If you like this, you will love 360 Chicago Sunrise
Scott Stapp Concert Photography
I watched the drops of rain dance off the puddles on the ground, as I walked into the historic Arcadia Theatre in St. Charles west of Chicago. It’s my favorite kind of night, a night packed with live music. These days I find solace at concerts, a sort of palladium to the outside world and the feelings tonight were no different.
It seems a little surreal that I opened up an email asking me to shoot concert photography for Scott Stapp of Creed. I feel like it was yesterday I was watching his band’s music videos, and hearing his voice all over the radio. I was excited, anxious and a little nervous but all of those feelings quickly dissipated, as the lights faded, the theatre went black and the first chord of the guitar ranged through the crowd like a ripple in water. I lifted up my camera and snapped my first picture.
If you like this, you will love A Night of Live Music
Fall Chicago Photography
For a brief period in time, nature and Chicago becomes in accordance with each other. Bright reds, yellows and orange strewn with life throughout the city; a blanket trying to warm the life of the city as the temperatures begin to lower.
Chicago goes through a momentary identity change as the trees begin breathing life into the architecture. Fall is my favorite time of year. It reminds me of how captivating change can be but also how delicate and short it can be as well.
This year I feel like I took it for granted. At the first change of color, I told myself that I would be out enjoying it behind my camera. But one busy weekend after the next, time quickly passed and I felt like I missed one of the most magical times in Chicago. I knew I had to make my way to see the remnants of the passing season. On a Saturday morning in November, I walked and walked throughout the city seeing familiar scenes in a new way.
Here are a few snapshots from a brief period of time I thought I missed.
If you like this, you might like 360 Chicago Sunrise
A Day at the Blackstone Hotel
Walking down Michigan Ave, you’re bound to notice a few of Chicago’s most architecturally significant buildings. From the Wrigley Building to the Tribune Tower to the John Hancock Center, but if you head a little bit south there is an unmistakable mansard roof peaking above the skyline.
I was fortunate to have been able to spend a night at the historic Blackstone Hotel last month. The home of the original “smoke filled room”, today it’s a mix of historical, modernism that you can not help but wonder about the stories that were written inside of these walls. Opening the door to my room I was immediately welcomed with sunlight reflecting off the marble floor as well as their signature KOVAL bourbon waiting to be poured. It was a luxurious room that I never wanted to leave. I found myself sketching behind a desk during the day, watching the city lights at night and waking up to the sunrise over Lake Michigan in the morning. Although my time here was only for a night, it was a wonderful experience that I would not trade for the world.
Outside of the Blackstone
Located in the heart of Chicago, on one of the most vibrant streets, you immediately feel like you have the whole city in the palm of your hands. Just looking out the window to the mind blowing view of Grant Park made me want to grab my camera and just go. And so I did.
The streets were alive, Grant Park was preparing itself for summer and the tulips scattered throughout Chicago sprang to life. I don’t live in Chicago, but I’m here quite often. I usually drive up here, park and either walk or take the CTA to get around the city. But this time, I found myself walking for the entire day, never once worrying about what time it was or when I should leave. I was free to just enjoy the city… just me and my camera. This was a convenience I never once thought I’d appreciate until my stay at the Blackstone.
This was simply an amazing opportunity that I’m for ever humble to have experienced. Below are a few of my favorite pictures I have ever taken and it is all due to everyone at Blackstone Hotel. A big thanks for letting me be apart of the heart that beats the city. This was one of the most relaxing days that I’ve ever had and now I have a new favorite hotel. Until next time, and trust me, there will be a next time.
Interesting Facts of the Day:
- The Blackstone Hotel opened its doors on my birthday April 6th, 1910 (I wasn’t born in 1910)
- It attracted everyone from Teddy Roosevelt, the Rockefellers, to Nat King Cole and Al Capone.
- The Blackstone Hotel was declared a historic landmark in 1998.
If you like this, you might like 360 Chicago Sunrise
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