Perfect Weekend in Chicago

Pardon my hyperbole but the last three days was a perfect weekend in Chicago. It did not start out that way but thanks to the patience of my wife and family and fantastic weather, the weekend was perfect.

We planned the weekend weeks ago so I could use my new camera equipment to take some pictures our boys would want to put up in their apartment – an anniversary gift. After an early dinner Friday, everyone followed me walking over a mile to Navy Pier in a rush to capture the golden hour of light, lugging my Gigapan, camera bag and tripod. When I set up the Gigapan, all I got was a low battery error. The battery was dead! Oh, the light sucked and even after I composed myself, I could not catch any decent shots.

The rest of the night Friday everyone tried to cheer me up but all I could think of was that I wasted a perfect night. I did something that caused the battery to drain. This had to be my fault.

Too tired for early shots the next day, I set my sights on early evening and nights shots Saturday.

After an early dinner, I “dumbed” my way into a perfect shot. Deb & I were heading south down Lakeshore Drive and saw what might be a good area. We pulled off on Fullerton and found a parking spot at the Lincoln Park Zoo. As we drove over the bridge to parking, I looked south and saw this scene that I absolutely had to shoot (top left below). After parking, we walked back onto Fullerton and took shots of what’s known as the South Lagoon. It turned out there was a Scullery Regatta going on.

Of course, the shot wasn’t without a little danger. The south side of the bridge wasn’t built for pedestrians. But we made it work walking between the guard rail and the concrete border of the bridge. Deb’s phrase: We “about killed ourselves to get that shot. But we made it work.” Must have my lucky spotter with me.

After we had enough of the Regatta/Chicago/Lagoon shots we walked out to the beach to stumble on another beautiful scene of Chicago. I set up the Gigapan so I could catch this scene in large format.  Low battery again! Now I know it’s not me but the equipment. What a waste. The whole trip was planned around this idea. Time to improvise and it’s not like their isn’t enough to do with what’s left. The combination of perfect temperatures and clear skies made for another set of great shots.

By this time, I was wound up and wanted to see if I could get some shots from south of the pier near the Shedd Aquarium. So, we drove down to museum campus to see what kind of shots I could find. As we arrived, there were tons of cars filing everywhere. As we pulled into a parking area, the guard asked me if we were there for the concert or the slumber party. I said “we’re just taking pictures.” To which I was directed to the North Garage at Soldier Field and another $30 parking fee. [See parking fees later.]

We walked from the North Garage all the way around Shedd Aquarium trying to find some shots. Unfortunately, the angles of the city would have been better in the morning.  The only decent shots we got were of the aquarium and the observatory.

By this time, it was almost 8:00 and I have always wanted to get some good shots of Buckingham Fountain, so we walked over to Grant Park and was fortunate to catch an epic set of shots.

After shooting for over an hour, Deb talked me into waiting a little longer and finally, I think I got a perfect shot. WINNER! I have an angel for a wife who waited patiently for almost 6 hours while I was shooting pictures on Saturday.

The Ride Home

By the time we finished our shots, it was almost 9:30 and our digital health monitors told us we had walked nearly 5 miles and 11,000 steps. Both of us were exhausted and we were quite a ways away from North Garage. So, we hired a pedi-cab to ride us back to the garage. I know. That’s very touristy but we deserved the ride back.

Parking – OMG!

Parking, Parking, Parking – OMG Parking is expensive! We parked Friday for 10 minutes and that cost $25. Yeah. I thought we booked a different hotel. Oops! I think our total parking bill added up to $238 in 48 hours. Maybe Uber would have saved us some money?

We could not have asked for better weather. We really got some quality time with Ryan & Noble and it was worth every penny.

Parking $238. Temperature ~78 all weekend. Time with the family – precious. Great shots to remember the weekend – priceless! It was a perfect weekend in Chicago and I think we got a shot or two the boys will be willing to put on their wall.

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