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Chicago Food and Travel Photographer

John Hancock Observatory - Lightning Photography Attempt #1

John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-3
John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-3

Lately I've been searching for fun places to experience these prairie storms that roll through Chicago and try to get some more lightning pictures.  There are plenty of amazing rooftops and I have a few friends that are on some pretty high floors but I figured I would start with one of the biggest buildings in Chicago.  Saturday was starting to look like one of those stormy days.  It was a very hot day and the weather forecast was calling for a large storm most of the afternoon.  As I headed out to catch the bus I could see a storm brewing just south of Chicago.  Of course the Taste of Chicago was going on and this mixed with the normal Saturday traffic kept my bus crawling at a slow pace on Michigan avenue.  I had my trusty iPhone out with my Weather Channel app launched and refreshing constantly.  The red blob (a highly technical meteorological term) was moving way faster than my bus! And then the rain started.  Slowly at first and then a full downpour.  I was hoping to get some shots of the storm rolling in but that was out the window at this point.  I was just hoping to get a lightning storm like we saw the day before.

When I finally got off the bus the rain was still coming down but I had yet to see one flash of lightning.  At this point I wasn't as upset at missing the rainstorm since there was not a single strike of lightning.  I finally got up to the John Hancock Observatory and I think the rain had deterred most of the tourists from staying because they were all heading downstairs by the dozens.  What I saw in the observatory was a pretty hazy view of the city.  But since I was playing weatherman for the day, I knew that the storm was getting ready to clear and I might get some interesting clouds.  This was not what I was originally planning but whenever you are out shooting you just have to roll with the punches.

John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-4
John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-4

Luckily my wife was kind enough to hang out with me for a little while to see what I could capture.  We sat through another passing storm and then the clouds began to part.  To be honest, I lucked out that it didn't storm that day because I wouldn't have focused on some of the other shots that I ended up with.  Instead of focusing on lightning, I was able to work with my Nikon 80-200 f2.8 and see what patterns and interesting details I could pick up from the city.  I was able to get a pretty fun shot of the Allerton Hotel as well as the boats over in the playpen near Ohio Street beach.  I also took one of my favorite shots of the city with the Willis Tower, Trump Tower, and Aon Center all in the frame (taken with my Tokina 11-16).  I'm strongly considering blowing the shot up to a 30x45 inch print and hanging it in my living room.

John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-5
John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-5
John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-2
John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-2
John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-1
John-Hancock-Building-Chicago-1