Check out more Pictures of the Week at the Gallery!

What a whirlwind of a week! I was in Chicago for work just as a winter storm hit and ended up back in Dallas where today it’s 80 degrees!  Anyway, while I was in Chicago I wasn’t sure how much time I would have to get pictures but brought along my a7rIV and 12-24mm lens anyway.

I was staying in The Loop, as most of my clients were close by, and I realized I was only a 10-15 minute walk from a spot I had always wanted to capture.  Chicago’s legendary “L” train (called such because most of the tracks are eLevated) cuts through downtown, connecting the megalopolis with the surrounding suburbs and being all-in-all pretty convenient, even out to ORD.  As a photographer, I also love the single-point perspectives you can get from the steel girders hoisting the tracks into the air.

a street with people walking on it

The spot I wanted to get to, though, was just north of The Loop area, in a place called River North.  The closest landmark is called Merchandise Mart, across from which there’s a parking garage.  If you head up to that parking garage you’ll end up with a great view of an S curve that the L takes as it makes its way north, snaking between buildings.

(note: if you’re going to do this please be cautious around the cars in the parking garage)

I perched on the top floor of the parking garage and sat my camera on an opening/window in the garage where there was a little wedge.  I dialed in my settings and waited patiently for the sun to set.  As the L trains would come by I snapped a few shots, then eventually the sunset cast a beautiful orange glow on the buildings next to the curve.  Knocking out a bucket list picture was pretty worthy of the picture of the week, don’t you think?  So, here it is, Chicago L Train S Curve.

a train going through a city

For the photographers: this is a composite of five images actually.  Three for the train (each were a 1-second exposure), one for the surrounding buildings, and one for the orange glow of the sunset.  The key for something like this is to get your composition really dialed in, as the camera can’t move if you’re going to do a time-blend like this.

I needed every one of the Sony a7rIV’s 61 megapixels for this one, as I had to crop in significantly to emphasize the train or else it would get lost in the busy background.  As always, let me know if you have any questions about the post processing in the comments below!


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