It’s winter in Chicago, and while that might send some running for the warmth of a roaring fire in the fireplace, or the desire to depart to more tropical locales, some of us are looking for things to do and photograph over the next couple of months while we await the arrival of spring. The lack of snow has put a damper on those beautiful winter photographs we so love to take, so what is the avid photographer to do when they begin to go a bit stir crazy? Here are a few things to put on your photography bucket list In February and March, on into April.
The Chicago Auto Show, the nation’s largest auto show, returns to McCormick Place with the First Look for Charity on February 8 and runs through February 18. On Friday evening, February 8, The Auto Show opens its doors to the formally attired guests who are there to get a first preview of the 2013 and 2014 cars on exhibit, while helping to raise money for several Chicago area charities. ‘First Look for Charity stands as one of Chicago’s greatest one-day fundraisers, regularly generating about 2 million for 18 non profits’ according to the Chicago Auto Show press release. The doors open to the general public on Saturday, February 9. This year’s show features the 2014 Corvette Stingray and the 2013 SRT Viper, and with other new models being introduced, concept cars on display, and rides and drives indoors and outdoor test drives, the Chicago Auto Show is always well attended and a great place to get some people shots and photographs of that new car you want to purchase. You can get your Chicago Auto Show tickets online.
One of the most colorful and exciting parades in Chicago will kick off on February 17 at 1 p.m. at the corner of 24th and Wentworth with the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade. This is the Year of the Snake in the Chinese lunar calendar and according to ancient Chinese wisdom, ‘people born the year of the snake may become theologians, politicians, cunning financiers.” The parade promises fireworks, bands, floats and lots more for your photographic delight.
Reuben Garret Lucius Goldberg was an American writer, sculptor, inventor and engineer, basically a real renaissance man, who best became known for his cartoons about delightfully comic and complicated machines and gadgets designed to perform very simple tasks. On February 22 at the Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, The Rube Goldberg Contest will feature 12 teams of Chicagoland students who have entered the contest to design and feature their best Rube Goldberg inventions. In over 20 steps, contestants are required to build a complex machine to perform a simple task. Sponsored by Argonne National Laboratory, ‘The ultimate goal of the contest is to give high school students hands-on engineering experience and to encourage then to make science and engineering part of their future academic and professional careers.’ This year the task is to hammer a nail and the contest will kick off on Friday, February 22 at 10:30 a.m at the Children’s Museum.
With everyone donning the green and hoping to experience the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and with the photographer in you hoping some of that Irish luck shows up in photo ops for you, head down to the dyeing of the Chicago River right before the parade on Saturday, March 16 at 10 a.m. The best place for viewing is upper or lower Wacker between Lake Shore and Columbus Drive or the east side of the bridge at Columbus. This tradition has been taking place for over four decades here in Chicago, and while other cities have tried to accomplish the same thing, none has had the success we’ve had here. That might have something to do with the secret recipe cooked up by Chicago Journeymen Plumbers 40 years ago, and Mike Butler and his crew, who handle the dyeing of the river, claim to always have ‘a little help from a leprechaun who seems to just appear at this time each year.‘
Then head over to Balboa and Congress for the start of the parade before 12 noon. The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a wonderful family event, but for the photographer it is also one of the best days to capture some great parade photos and some unique and interesting street photography. For more information about the history of the parade and the dyeing of the river, check out the St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee’s website.
And in keeping with the Irish theme, marathon season begins in April with the running of the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday, April 7 at 8:30 a.m. Registration is now open for the 8K run. The race starts and finishes in Grant Park and is a spectacle of serious runners and folks out for a good time. The Post Race Party will be held following the race with food and live music. This is another opportunity for the sports and street photographer to catch some great shots of race day activities.
So photographers, get out there and beat the winter doldrums by strapping that DSLR around your neck and get your shoot on with some of the winter activities Chicago has to offer the photo enthusiast.