If you are searching through the TV listings for something to watch, take a look at Strip the City on the Science Channel. There are a number of episodes from different cities but take a look at the episode about Chicago. One part of the show features the bridges across the river and they include the Michigan Avenue bridge getting jammed open when the weather was too hot.
If you are a regular reader of this blog or a subscriber to my YouTube channel, the footage might seem familiar. Have a look here and you will see what I mean. This is one of a couple of projects where my video footage has been used. I guess video is a useful addition to the portfolio!
Photography can be a frustrating thing. So often when you don’t have a camera to hand, you see something that would have made an interesting picture. Then again, I have had many experiences when I was shooting something else that something came along which caught my eye and I could grab some shots. Perhaps the lesson here is that there is almost always something interesting going on as long as you are looking!
I was actually shooting out of our window recently. There was some helicopter activity over the area and this was my main target when I looked down at Michigan Avenue, a couple of blocks from us. There were a bunch of women in bridal gowns walking along the street. Looking more closely at the images, the women have red paint on their faces. I have no idea what this meant since I didn’t get one of the flyers they were handing out. They continued down to the bridge and across the river after which I lost track of them. The people around certainly seemed surprised to have a pack of brides (what is the right collective noun for brides – a nightmare?) bearing down on them. That is one of the cool things about this city. Something always is happening!
Living in the city you can get a lot of things happening out of the window. They can spring up and catch your attention but can equally end before you know it. This can be a problem when you are trying to decide whether to go out and see what is happening. One such example happened recently. I was on the phone when I looked out of the window and saw that the Michigan Avenue bridge over the Chicago River was up and didn’t seem to be showing any sign of coming down. Finally it did lower but not completely. This is when the fun started!
One of the Chicago Fire Department’s boats came up to the bridge and then started spraying water on the bridge. It wasn’t clear at all what was going on. Some fire trucks also showed up spraying onto the bridge from each end. I grabbed some shots of this from our windows. This is the time when you have to make a decision. Do I grab my stuff and go down to get more shots and risk that it is all over before I get there or do I stay upstairs to see what happens and find out that it goes on for ages and I could easily have been out and shooting for a while? I have got this decision wrong both ways in the past. This time I decided to go out and see what I could see.
I didn’t find out what was happening since Chicago’s finest were happy to shout at you for stepping in the wrong place but certainly weren’t going to tell you anything. I later found out the bridges had expanded in the heat and needed to be cooled down. I managed to get to a few locations and get some shots before they opened the bridge up again and then lowered it. This time it went where it was supposed to go and a few cheers came from the crews.
Along with shooting some stills, I also grabbed a bit of video. While this won’t win any documentary awards, you can get a feel for what was going on.