It’s been a while since I’ve been to what I call my second home, Chicago. In terms of where I travel the most, Chicago definitely takes the cake, although, this year, it’s been pretty spread out in the southern states! Ashley and Derek’s session started up near Wrigley. I absolutely love this area. Although busy and not far from downtown, it feels like a world away, because even though it’s busy, there’s a certain calm to this area (at least when it’s not game day) that makes it very pleasant to photograph in. Plus, this area has so much to offer for photography! From the subdivisions to Wrigley Field to the alleys, this area has it all. However, even though it’s all here, we didn’t stick with just this area. No way, we were going to explore the city some. To tell this story correctly, I need to start before I arrived. Without any delays, Chicago is about 3.5 hours away. I typically leave around my house about 4-4.5 hours beforehand so I’m prepared for any delays. Most of these delays come once I hit the city limits of Chicago… not when I’m going past somewhere like Champaign. As I approached the Champaign area, I saw signs for construction, cars stopped, and my GPS notified me of my arrival time change of 1.5 hours later! WHAT?! To make things better, all this happened immediately after I passed the off ramp that would have allowed me to bypass all of this. The next exit was in two miles though, I know the area well enough I figured I’d hop off there and go around the construction. That’s what I eventually did, but it took 35 minutes to go those two miles. Then, as I arrived at the Chicago area, there was literally no avoiding construction. Traffic was backed up as usual, and so I found myself another 30 minutes behind. All of these delays had me arriving at Ashley and Derek about 30 minutes late. This delay would actually work out in our favor later.
Anyway, after Wrigley, we parked downtown Chicago, starting with the bridges over the river. I’ve not been to this area very much, so it was pretty cool to see a new part of Chicago and photograph it. Another cool thing about this area during the time we were working here was that there was nobody around. On occasion, we would have to wait for a passerby or two, but for the most part, we had the entire bridge to ourselves! After the bridges, we went to Millennium Park for some pictures in the gardens. This is where my delayed arrival worked out perfectly. By the time we arrived here, the sun was already setting behind the buildings. Every session before Ashley and Derek’s, we have full sun in this area, and it gets pretty tough to work with that light in such a tight space with so many tourists. I don’t usually bring my flash setups for this area for a couple reasons, one being there are so many people and I don’t want to take away from other people’s experience there. Another reason is that large equipment like that attracts attention, and this attention can sometimes get you kicked out of certain areas. Since we didn’t have the sun to work around, nor a massive amount of tourists, we were able to take full advantage of having this area to ourselves. After the gardens, we wanted to end with some skyline images. I warned Ashley and Derek that our last three attempts to get skyline images, the parking area was closed. Hoping that this time would be different, we arrived only to find out that U2 was performing that weekend and everything in the area was shut down unless we wanted to pay a ridiculous amount to park for about 5 minutes of taking pictures. Fortunately, we had a number of great images, and I’m super happy with how they turned out and the time we had to work together that day! Ashley and Derek were a great couple to work with and I feel so fortunate to be able to capture the memories of their big day later this year.