Tuesday, September 10, 2013


On our recent excursion to Chicago, Geri and I paid a visit to Millennium Park.  A major attraction in the Park is a piece formally titled Cloud Gate but affectionately known as the Bean.  The Bean was installed in 2006, but it seems like it's been there much longer than that.  It is comprised of over 100 pieces of stainless steel that have been welded together in such a way that no seams are visible.  The surface of the bean-shaped structure, which stand over 30 feet high, has been polished to a mirror finish.   We were there mid-morning on a Saturday and there was already a crowd.  The only time when there are no crowds are very early in the morning or late at night.

Here is a shot of the Bean as a whole.

In the following shot my goal was to contrast the rectilinear surrounding skyline with the distortions created by the curved surface of the Bean.

Not great.  Might have worked better on a sunnier day or if I had taken more time in composing my shot.

Here are a couple of shots of Geri that illustrate the reflections created by the curved surfaces.

Perhaps even more amazing is the Bean's underside, which combines both convex and concave surfaces, making for even more complex reflections, including multiple reflections, as shown in the following shots.

I took the above shot while standing directly under the center of the Bean's underside.  I'm the tiny white object in the very center of the image.

The following shot somehow reminds me of Dante's Inferno, with beings of various sizes and shapes seemingly swirling around--and maybe getting sucked into--the center.

I particularly like the shot below.  I know that the optical physics of this scene could be sorted out, but I prefer just to enjoy the multiple distorted images.

I did take a few other shots in Millennium Park, including this line of trees.

The photo is flawed technically, but I did like the composition.

The same could be said for this shot of a curved balustrade.

In this case the problem was not my technique so much as the lighting.  It was simply too flat to create enough contrast between the balusters.

I thought the following shot of the seats in the park's outdoor amphitheater worked better, at least technically.  However, it might have been nice to have had one or two individuals in the seats just to provide a focal point.


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