The bridges that run across the Chicago river are amazing engineering feats and a sight to be seen. There are multiple bridges and each has a unique characteristic. This particular image is of the Wabash Bridge during the Fourth of July weekend.
How to get the Shot
For this shot I rented a 60mm tilt shift lens. Many people simulate this effect using photoshop or even Instagram but this effect was captured in camera. I captured this image from the State Street bridge on the 4th of July. I shifted both the vertical and horizontal lens plane in order to achieve the blurred effect. This shifts the plane of focus and places the emphasis directly on the subject of the photo. I don’t shoot with a tilt shift lens often so when I do I tend to experiment with the amount of shift to obtain the desired result. I this particular day I was looking to shoot “miniature” Chicago but I ended up stumbling upon this scene during my shoot.
Editing the Shot
The image above was edited only slightly from what came out of the camera. I did increase the contrast through the use of a tone curve and I added a few points of vibrance to increase the color saturation to match the colors I saw that morning. Raw images tend to come out flatter than their Jpeg counterparts so I find that I almost always add vibrance and contrast to my images to reproduce the image the way my eye saw it.
Consider renting a tilt shift lens from a local photo store. This will give you a very unique view of Chicago and you can try to shoot with it at each location. You never know what amazing photos you might end up with. Here in Chicago I love to use Helix Camera or borrowlenses.com. Both have great rental departments and both are very affordable. If you think you will use a lens often I normally suggest you buy it outright but in this case a tilt shift lens is so specialized that unless you are an architectural photographer you probably won’t use it often enough to justify a purchase.
Wander throughout the other bridges and see what interesting shots you can get of buildings or the bridges themselves. There are a number of bridges that cross the river and each has a unique perspective. If you are going to do this start further west near Wells Street and make your way East.
How to Get There
This location is right on the Chicago river and is very easy to access. If you take the Brown, Orange, Green, or Purple lines then you can get off at the State and Lake stop. From there head North two blocks and you will be at the river. If you take the Red line you can get off at the Randolph and Wabash stop. This stop is only a half block south of the Brown, Orange, Green, and Purple line stop.
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I love my photography and giving back to the community. If you like this site and want to support it I would greatly appreciate using the links to purchase any of the products in my posts. I also sell as well as a book "The Photographer's Guide to Capturing Chicago".If you want an easier way to replicate the shots in this post please consider purchasing my Lightroom presets using the link below. Thanks for stopping by and supporting my work!