Behind the Photo #1 – Sun Down Chicago HDR

I would like to start this series with one of my favorite photos I’ve taken to date. It was a warm pre-fall summer in Chicago Illinois. The freeway drive from South Western Michigan was about a 2 hour drive. The road was clear and from what my watch said, it was a Tuesday afternoon. I arrived in town around 1 P.M. with the mind set of recording a vlog entry for my Youtube channel. As I was walking around Millennium Park near “the bean”, I remember that I saw a place I wanted to shoot at during the trip before. It was a “further than expected”, kind of walk. It took me about 40 minutes to make it to the bridge. Once there, I stood around for about 30 minutes trying to find the perfect spot, but it wasn’t going so well. The sun was starting to go down and I felt I wasn’t getting the shot I wanted. I put my camera bag back on, packed up most my equipment and started walking back toward my parked car. As I walked back, I realized that there was another bridge that had two levels to it down the river. This was an underground bridge where cars went one way on the top, and then cars would go the opposite direction on the bottom.

Notice the person in the kayak on the bottom left of the photo? Well that was what most people noticed while this was displayed at the Photographers Guild Photography Exhibition. Even though this photo does not use the standard rule of thirds, I believe the HDR composition drew people to that area. If this were one single image with long exposure, both the kayaker and the boat would appear to be in motion and we would never know there was a person there. But, because this was three images layered, it gave the appearance the kayaker was in still motion but the boat was in motion. That mixed with the soft, warm color tone, make this photo feel peaceful.

This was the first photo I have won an award for and I was so honored to be given that award by the main Photographer at the University of Notre Dame. Barbara Johnston.

Notes: This photo was taken with a Canon 5d Mark III and a Canon 50mm 1.8. ISO 100 F/16 30 Sec Exposure.