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
Chicago Lakefront | Sunrise
Photography has led me down on an array of unpredictable paths thus far. It has sent my curiosity on adventures across the world, has kept my mind awake as I drove through the night across the country and has me constantly exploring every aspect of Chicago. This seed of curiosity has always existed, but photography has this uncanny ability to push and drive a person. In this case, the person is me.
My First Time…
The first time I have ever felt this push was on an early Sunday morning. It felt like yesterday (This is definitely the first sign of me sounding old right? Next I’ll be saying “Back in my day we had to listen to music on compact discs…) that I woke up to my 5 am alarm. A difficult feat for a person that usually falls asleep at 2 am, but nonetheless I was determined to see my first ever Chicago sunrise. Still in a daze, I grabbed my camera, tripod and made my way to Dunkin Donuts because well yeah. Once I was able to think again, I made my way to Chicago.
Being my first sunrise, I did not have a clue on where I should go nor did I think of simply googling “where to see the sunrise”. As I was brainstorming possible locations, I found myself on autopilot to a little stretch of the lake shore in Lincoln Park. The Fullerton Beach has always a favorite spot of mine during the day. It had it all; a skyline view, a beach, an endless view of Lake Michigan and my personal favorite, a rocky coast. At around 6:30 am, a warm glow began to spill over the horizon. I was completely alone on this little oasis outside of the city and had a front row seat to the greatest show on earth. It was surreal. Ever since that day, photography pushes me to not only wake up, but to continually chase, see and soak in more of these beautiful displays. Although, these pictures are not from this story, I come back to this spot often and think about this day every time I watch a sunrise here. (they updated this location from when I first came here but you can still see the remnants of the rocky coast that I so much enjoyed)
A sunrise is the most honest moment I have ever seen.
I think we all have that place where you can sit without any of the worry and noise of your life, and just… be. This little strip of the lakefront is mine.
Want to see a photo from this story? See my first Chicago Sunrise Here >
If you like this, you might like Natural Moments in Chicago >
Garfield Park Conservatory
The Garfield Park Conservatory has always been one of those places that I have seen countless pictures of but had yet to make my way through it’s entrance. I walked in, not knowing what to expect, and was immediately hit with a breath of fresh air. At that moment I understood what a “landscape art under glass” was. An indoor oasis, a grand terrarium… actually, it’s a world of nature encased in a small glass capsule occupying a piece of Chicago. Yeah, that sounds a lot better. Each door carried along it’s own backdrop and door number one was flowers. I didn’t stand a chance.
Still reeling from the effects of winter, seeing so much color and just… life is a bit overwhelming. I often find myself focusing on the entire picture that I miss the simple details. At the Garfield Park Conservatory, I focused on those.
A hidden gem of Chicago, teeming with life and the perfect transition to spring. I still can’t believe it took me this long to discover this place. It’s safe to say that I’ll be back soon.
A little about the photos.
I did not have a macro lens but I did have an extension tube. An extension tube is basically a hollow tube that separates your lens form your camera and allows you to get closer to your subject. Along with my 50mm I was able to create my own macro photography.
If you like this, you might like Natural Moments in Chicago >
A little about the Garfield Park Conservatory
- Garfield Park Conservatory is the third largest public plant conservatory in the world
- Has more than 2,000 different plant species
- It has FREE admission (suggested $5 donation) and is open 365 days a year
- The conservatory occupies approximately 4.5 acres inside and out
- First opened to the public in 1908 and designed by Jensen along with Prairie School architects Schmidt, Garden and Martin
Learn more about the Garfield Park Conservatory Here >
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