Chicago Skyline Sunrise Reflection Photography Location from the Adler Planetarium

5 Best Places to See the Chicago Sunrise

5 Best Places to See the Chicago Sunrise

360 Chicago Sunrise

Seeing the Chicago sunrise over Lake Michigan is truly a magical experience but I do not think that it gets the appreciation that it deserves. I know, there is so much to do and not enough time. I get it, with over 77 communities, on over 234 square miles of land, Chicago is the third largest city in the America. It’s big and there is a lot to see but there are a few reasons that you should try and fit the sunrise into your next visit.

Firstly, nothing is open so you really the only thing you have to choose between is either catching a few some more z’s or catching that morning light. That may actually be a hardest decision here but trust me after seeing a few  of my sunrise photography, you won’t regret it. Next is that you can enjoy most of the places if not all without the daytime crowd. It sounds a bit cheesy but there is a sense of serenity when you are all by your self, watching the darkness turn to light, as the city slowly wakes up. And lastly, it’s free! (for the most part)

Are you ready to set your morning alarm and get out there yet? From seeing the morning rays 1000 feet high to sitting on the natural rocks off of the shore, it is truly a beautiful experience. Here are my top 5 best places to watch the sunrise in Chicago.

Chicago Sunrise Photography

Sunrise at Fullerton Beach

The sunrise at Fullerton Beach off of Lake Michigan in Chicago will always have a special place in my heart. This location was the spot in which I photographed my very first morning in the city. I have seen this lookout evolve from a rugged natural piece of the lake shore to a well manicured park, where families and friends stay to hang out.

What makes Fullerton Beach such an amazing spot to catch the sunrise is that it not only gives you a some of the most beautiful views of Lake Michigan but a unique photography shot of the Chicago skyline. The beach is located right off the Fullerton Exit on Lake Shore Dive, which is on the east side of Lincoln Park Zoo and just north of North Avenue Beach. It is quite an accessible location in which you can find free parking all along Cannon Drive. 

See the full collection here at sunrise at the lakefront

Chicago Skyline Reflection Sunrise Photography

North Avenue Beach Sunrise

North Avenue Beach lies just south of Fullerton Beach but it contains a completely different scale to Chicago’s sunrise. This is the most popular beach in the city. During the summer months it is alive with sunbathers, volleyball games and basically any activity that involves fun. In the morning, this beach is quiet and a beautiful place to watch the sunrise. Since it is located closer to the skyline, it gives you a completely different scale compared to Fullerton Beach. I also love the different opportunities for photography here. You can capture interesting photos of the famous wooden nautical boat, play with images from the adjoining bridge, or use lifeguard tower and other beach subjects to create a beautiful early morning scene.

The Chicago Sunrise at Northwestern University's Painted Rocks Lakeshore Path

Northwestern University Lakefront Path

Northwestern University is not as close to Chicago as the other spots on this list but the sunrise view is hard to beat. Located north of the city in Evanston, Northwestern University lies right off of Lake Michigan. There’s a beautiful lakefront path scattered with colorful rocks painted by the students of the university making this such a colorful spot. This is one of my favorite hidden gems for photographing the sunrise, mainly because of the unique landscape as well as the quietness of this place. You can find free parking in the surrounding neighborhoods if you don’t mind the short walk to the lake. If you are planning on visiting, bring a hammock and relax with one of the most beautiful views of Chicago.

Chicago Skyline Sunrise Photography Location at the Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium Sunrise

The Adler Planetarium is by far the best place to see the famous Chicago skyline.  Located right off of Lake Michigan, this spot gives you panorama views of the city from the Shed Aquarium to the Sears tower to Navy Pier. The best part about this spot is seeing the reflection of the city’s architecture mirrored in the lake. Add in the warm glow of the beautiful architecture of the city skyline and you have the recipe of the of the perfect Chicago sunrise. You can park all along Solidarity Dr. It is paid parking but you can get some good shots before the meter starts to charge you.

360 Chicago Sunrise Photography

Sunrise at 360 Chicago

Watching the sunrise from 360 Chicago, is that sort of experience that is truly unforgettable. This is the least accessible of the previous locations on the list, mainly because it is 1000 feet above Michigan Ave in the world renowned John Hancock building off on State street. I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to a few sunrise photography meets at this observatory deck and wow. With 360 degree views of the Chicago skyline , the sunrise photo possibilities are endless.

See the Full collection at 360 Chicago Sunrise

360 Chicago Sunrise Photography

Where to Watch the Chicago Sunrise?

Every place on this list offers their own unique Chicago sunrise experience. Pick out one or honestly none of these but all that I ask is that you go and see one for yourself. I promise you that you will not regret it. It’s the little joys like this that makes life so incredibly beautiful. Seeing the morning light rising above Lake Michigan, the sky filled with colors of bright orange, yellow, and red hues reflecting on the crashing waves will always be one of my favorite moments in life. If you have any suggestions or would like to share your sunrise experience, comment below. I’d love to hear about it!

Chicago Sunrise Reflection Photography Location from the Adler Planetarium

What Time is the Sunrise in Chicago?

Check below for sunrise and sunset times


Surreal Photography of a Cloud Hot Air Balloon Flying in the Sky

Imagination Photography: Realization of Ideas

Imagination Photography

Imagination photography has played an import role in my life as a person as well as an artist. We are all born with the ability to be creative and imaginative. Some wilder than others. Some keep exercising this trait while others store it in the recess of their mind forgotten but not gone. I have been the victim of the latter. It seems as I grow older, the world takes on a more concrete impression. A chair is a chair and a tree is a tree. Photography has threw me a rope and pulled me out of that quick sand that was constantly pulling me down. I began to see the world a little bit different each day. My mind started to turn the gears of creativity and it has positively effected my mood & thinking. Imagination photography is not a specific genre, but a way of thinking.

Realization of Ideas

Last night I stood up late into the night drinking wine, woking on a photo idea. The idea I was trying to realize was of a man in a hot air balloon riding through the sky. But here’s the twist. Instead of a balloon, he ’s floating with the aid of a cloud. 

An idea of shedding the weight that we constantly walk around with, and just letting go. An idea of taking your hands off the steering wheel, sitting back and enjoying the ride. An idea of exploring what actually excites your curiosity instead of what you feel like you should be doing. A play off of Robert Frost “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” intertwined with Emerson’s “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I don’t know if it was the cheap bottle of wine but I really enjoyed creating this but mostly just thinking about this.

Listen to Your Mind

This past month, or so I had more free time to listen to my mind. I feel like it’s quite loud for the quietness of my appearance. I am an introvert. I enjoy my alone time and living in my own little bubble. But I realize that I have to sift through the stream of everyday thoughts that are constantly flowing through my head. While sifting, I recently uncovered an exercise that I really acting on. It is the realization of ideas. Taking a thought and seeing it with my eyes through photography and digital editing.

Surreal photography manipulation has always been a passion of mine. Creating something out of nothing is a powerful feeling. It’s a freeing, satisfying experience to personally be able to bring to life what you pictured in your mind. I’m thankful for that. I want to try and incorporate this in more aspects of my life other than photography. Imagination is often a road less traveled, which is a wonderful situation for an introvert like myself.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

― Albert Einstein

Surreal Photography of a Cloud Hot Air Balloon Flying in the Sky

Hope Poster Graphic Design Text in a black and white photograph of the Chicago skyline

Hope

Hope

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.

Sometimes it is hard to find, but it is always there. These past few weeks have been filled with ups and downs. While there is many 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 occurring in 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. This is a moment in time that no one will forget. 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. 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 things will be changed, some things may be gone, hope will always be there.

Cloudy lighthouse during the sunset in a light bulb surreal conceptual fine art local photography

I Will Leave the Light On

I will leave the light on.

Happiness and hope has always outshined the darkest of hours. Right now fear is slowly running through the veins of many people who search for some sort of life line in this precarious time. Lives have been upheaved and we frantically attempt to put the pieces back in order.

As an attempt to offer a glimmer of hope we are taking a breather from each other physically and socially. For the first time in many people’s lives, we are somewhat forced to focus on ourselves. We are rediscovering our passions. We are understanding ourselves better. We finding out how truly weird we really are.

I have always subconsciously put off things I have wanted to do, due to the lack of hours in a day. And now I’m required to take a deep breathe. What now?

This void of empty time has somehow inflected more stress than relieving. I feel like I have to fill every minute of the day with a task to feel productive otherwise I just wasted a day. To add to it, if I don’t start or do any of the things that Ive previously put off because of the lack of hours of the day, then what? Am I failing? Do I lack the ability to be a better version of myself. Do I just simply not have what it takes to be the person who I have alwaysed envisioned in my mind?

Breathe.

There was a post from Clementine Morrigan that resonated this exact sort of self isolation anxiety. She wrote

“There are a lot of posts being like: use this time to cross things off your to do list, deep clean your house, work on yourself, start a mediation practive, etc etc etc… And these posts are obviously well meaning and may be helpful for a lot of people…

We may also feel a weird pressure to ‘use this time well’ (capitalism is alive in our bodies) and we may be spiraling into a shame that we can’t seem to turn this situation into a healthy writing retreat or a get all that cleaning done or whatever.

So I just want to say: whatever you are doing is fine.

If all you’re managing is watch tv or stare at your phone

it’s ok.

If you are having trouble functioning

it is ok

We need to take a harm reduction approach and not expect ourselves to be suddenly not traumatized.

It’s okay if you’re not getting anything done.

It’s okay if you’re not at your healthier or productive right now.

The focus should be on lessening the harm of our nervous system distress and then working from there.

You are not a failure.

Whatever you are experiencing right now is okay.”

Cloudy lighthouse during the sunset in a light bulb surreal conceptual fine art local photography

It is ok.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I did. I have stacks of books that I feel like I should be reading, countless of interesting Udemy classes that I know I should be starting, exercises that I should be doing, finances to figure out but instead I’m writing and listening to music. Yesterday I wrote and spent hours working on and animating this image while listening to music. And it’s ok.

Creativity, imagination, art, expression, they are all the light that is guiding me through this dark tunnel of solitude and anxiety. This is what makes me feel happy and hopeful.

What is your light?

Be well. Stay safe friends.

Surviving Social Distancing During Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic in the united states a black and white silhouette of a man and his shadow on his phone

Social Distancing

Social Distancing

With everything that is currently occurring with the health pandemic and social distancing, the world is looking quite different.

Personally it was a situation that seemed very much distant while ever so quickly becoming a stark reality. A month or so ago I recalled hearing through passing about a virus called COVID-19 aka the coronavirus sweeping through Wuhan, China. I would see snippets of how the city was being barricaded, I would see images of doctors working nonstop in hazmat suits, I would read number of how many people were being effected and just how quickly it was able to spread and still it did not hit home.

I am the first to shamefully admit that I live in my own little bubble sort of naturally social distancing from the world to an extent. I confine myself to what I know, learn and see but am always eager to escape that safekeeping.

That was one of the underlying reasons that Ive always wanted to travel. Mostly I did not believe that these far away places truly existed and knew the only way to believe in the beauty of this world was to experience it first hand. And like those travel adventures, this is how many saw the coronavirus. It quickly spread from China in December of 2019 to more than 145 countries as I’m writing this on March 18th 2020. This still unimaginable reality instantaneously struck like a bat out of hell.

Dramatic visual changes are happening in communities, lockdown in cities, in social appearances or lack thereof, and in thought. I see reactions ranging from the still nonchalant, unconcerned to distress slowly unraveling people’s once tough as nails mindsets.

Personally, my grandfather passed away earlier this week (not due to coronavirus) but as a result my family had to make the painful decision to adhere to the CDC and social distancing and restrict the services to my father and his siblings. I truly believe that it was the right decision but it’s still hard to accept that being physically there for someone when they genuinely need it is almost beyond the bounds of possibilities right now.

I remember reading something like “In the end, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it will be QUITE apparent if we under reacted or did too little.” COVID-19 affected every aspect of most if not all of everyone’s life.

Surviving Social Distancing During Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic in the united states a black and white silhouette of a man and his shadow on his phone

Take a Deep Breathe

For me, the daunting realness of these past few days and weeks is not the pandemic in itself but the uncertainty it carries. This sort of vulnerability makes us feel powerless. We do not know what the future will look like let alone what tomorrow will bring.

And it’s scary.

But amidst this rough patch, I think we are all just striving for the best for each other. I see how powerful we are as not just people but as humans. It’s not just a town, a city, or a state but in countries and most importantly the world. People all around the globe joined together to put a pause on their life no matter how much it’s personally and financially is going to effect them, in order to reduce the rick of harming others.

I am optimistic.

The small to large changes in our lifestyle are all in trying to keep each other and ourselves safe and healthy. It’s comforting to know that we have each other’s backs. It’s encouraging to know that we are here for each other, especially as we desperately search for a little certainty in life.

I am hopeful.

Take some time away from the news, listen to some music, read a book, text a friend and take a deep breath.

Be well. Stay safe. You are not alone in this. We are in this together.

Food for Thought

Below is a piece of writing from Laura Kelly Fanucci that is so humbly, beautiful I just had to share and type the words down myself to feel the realness in them.

When this is over,

may we never again

take for granted

A handshake with a stranger

Full shelves at the store

Conversations with neighbors

A crowded theatre

Friday night out

The tased of communion

A routine checkup

The school rush each morning

Coffee with a friend

The stadium roaring

Each deep breath

A boring Tuesday

Life itself.

When this ends,

may we find

that we have become

more like the people

we wanted to be

we were called to be

we hoped to be

and may we stay

that way—better

for each other

because of the worst.

– Laura Kelly Fannucci

For more information and up to date  news about Covid-19/ Coronavirus pandemic please follow the CDC and WHO

Dream Often Graphic Writing at the Lincoln Park Conservatory Chicago Photography

A Walk in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory

Photographing the ancient ferns at the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago Illinois

A Walk in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory

Sometimes you just need to go for a walk and think. I did. I surrounded myself with the wildness of the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago, a small nature filled arena encapsulated in a city of architecture and density. Walking through the doors, I was quickly hit with a wave of humidity. Quite the contrast to the winter weather outside, my lens instinctively began to fog up. I began wiping the sweat off of my lens but to hardly any prevail. Nonetheless, the mixture of light and a thin layer of cloudiness gave a magical effect that I didn’t find out until I got home. Stay wild.

These photographs and words below coincide with each other. Although they may be diverse visually and linguistically, they are all tied together by the same string.


Not everyday is created equal.

There are days you cannot be stopped
And days which require more strength to get through.

There are days that are filled with brightness which cast a light
those that are engulfed in darkness.

Not everyday is created equal.

I enjoy the days where I’m all alone in the middle of I don’t know where
as much as I relish the ones where I’m surrounded by a school strangers in
Millennium Park on a Sunday afternoon.

I find peace in those deep breathes in.
And cannot live without those days that leave you breathless.

Not everyday is created equal.

There’s apprehension that builds up with a lost of control
And a beauty rises in being lost.

Soak in the highs
And understand the lows

Appreciate not knowing.

because

Not everyday is created equal.

Manarola Italy Travel Photography

A Road Trip Through the Cities of Italy

A Road Trip Through Italy: Italian Cities

Lake Karersee Italy Travel Photography

Back from the Italian Alps

Still in a daze from the scenes the first half of my road trip through Italy in Northern Italy, we continue traveling on the open road. Living out the words to Chuck Berry’s No Particular Place to Go, we find ourselves in a flux of mountains and age-old cities of Italy. Arco, a small town north of Lake Garda with its ancient hilltop castle and mountainous backdrop was the stunning welcoming that we needed. Without thinking, we pulled over. From the second I pulled the door handle, my eyes were jumping from one scene to the next. This was the start of a new adventure.

Exploring the Italian Coast

Although, the objective is to head down the Italian Coast and make a loop back to Venice, this trip was not ruled by an agenda. We took each road, each turn, each place as it is. This is the only way I can imagine traveling for myself. It’s cliché to even type “Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.” But that is what traveling, adventure and memories are. I can share pictures of beautiful Italian destinations but what I can’t share are the laughs, the long rides, the happiness that simple conversations with strangers bear. I try to convey as much as I can through photography while at the same time, I enjoy keeping some of the most important moments to myself. Moments that I will look back on in my own time and just smile. I did that, I was there, and I will never forget this.

Lost in Italian Cities

The cities of Italy is alive through their stories, through their past. From Venice to Milan to Florence, you could close your eyes and imagine with ease walking in a time that’s not yours. A hurried Filippo Brunelleschi drifting through the streets of Florence or a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci as he adds the final brush stroke to The Last Supper in Milan. It’s hard not to get lost in your surroundings, to get soaked up in the architecture, art, nature and landscape of this beautiful land. I have never stepped on a street that felt so catalytic in the importance of history than the streets of Italy. It’s hard not to fall in love in a country like this.

Serendipity: The City of Siena

The chants of a faceless crowd finds its way through the winding, cobblestone streets of Siena, Italy. Moments later the crowd with their Contrade’s emblem banners raised in hand, marched their way around the corner. This was the celebration of the The Palio horse race. A passionate event with its origin tracing back to the 6th century. This was how Italian cities felt. Frozen in time while the rest of the world marched on.

What was important about this, was that this was never planned. We didn’t know about this city nor of this celebration that only happens twice a year. Sunset was quickly approaching and our original destination was out of reach. By chance we entered the city of Siena for the night. This was probably one of the most memorable moments of any trip that I have ever had. It wasn’t scripted, it was living in the present. It was discovering a love for a place that was waiting to be found.

If you like this, you will love A Road Trip Through Italy

Chicago Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory

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.

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Macro Photography

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.

Fun Facts

  • 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
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Chicago Live Concert Photography

Chicago Live Concert Photography

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.

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If you like this, you will love Scott Stapp Concert Photography

If you’re interested in a concert or music photographer contact me here

Chicago Sunrise Photography

First Light A Chicago Sunrise

‘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