Chicago is filled with hidden gems noticed by only a select few that walk and pay attention to the city. This location is one of those hidden gems. There are only a number of El stations that have a crossing over the tracks and this happens to be one with a great view. The building at the end of the tracks is Trump Tower and the symmetry of the tracks and the platforms lead your eye directly to the building.
How to get the Shot
This shot was taken on the Madison and Wabash “El” platform in the Chicago loop. This particular station has a bridge that crosses over the tracks to connect the two platforms. It is from this perspective that you can see directly north down the tracks toward the Trump Tower. I shot this photo with the Tokina 11-16mm lens. This particular image was shot a 16mm. The wide-angle lens helps to exaggerate the leading lines of the platform and the tracks. This image is a high dynamic range (HDR) shot that I then used Silver Efex Pro 2 to turn into a black and white image.
Editing the Shot
After you have shot your bracketed photos open Photomatix and import the images. I used the settings to the right to create an image with a ton of contrast and “grit”. Grit is what I call the micro detail that is brought out when using the HDR technique. When you pair this detail with the Silver Efex Pro High Structure (harsh) settings you get an incredible amount of detail and you create images that people can’t seem to look away from.
Don’t go during peak hours. The Chicago Transit Authority has a no tripod policy so if you avoid crowds you will be better off. If you want to shoot this shot with a tripod go on a Saturday or Sunday morning when the crowds are sparse. Once you get to your spot shoot quickly. You may or may not get bothered by the CTA about your tripod but plan on setting up and shooting quickly. There is nothing illegal about shooting with a tripod but once you are asked to put it away it may be best to stop shooting with it.
How to Get There
Getting to the train station is pretty easy considering it is right on the El tracks. This station sits on the Brown, Pink, Green, Purple and Orange lines. You can take any of these train lines toward the loop and you should arrive at the Madison station within 20-25 minutes from most areas within the city.
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