jillianfrancois PRO

Lakeside Train Station

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL
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Spring Selection Award
Superb Composition
normandbergeron kellisullivan devonshire Jshilvock Lexa_Richards Albert-Serra-Photography ajitkumarmajhi +1
Top Choice
MEDOM victorialightfoot lizzkazlauskas SheldonCooper Herbetch
Peer Award
Erlingurarnarson Pablo-Klik vinaysunny
Outstanding Creativity
reedsandra Drjay
Absolute Masterpiece
All Star
Magnificent Capture

Top ClassTM

Silhouettes In The City Photo ContestTop 10 class
Tree Silhouettes Photo ContestTop 30 class
Tree Silhouettes Photo ContestTop 30 class week 3
Tree Silhouettes Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Architectural Masterpieces Photo ContestTop 30 class
Architectural Masterpieces Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
Silhouettes Of Trees Photo ContestTop 30 class week 2
Silhouettes Of Trees Photo ContestTop 30 class week 1
World At Night Photo ContestTop 10 class


Behind The Lens

This photo was taken in Chicago, Illinois, right downtown along Lake Michigan. My husband and I had just moved to the city and upon the first snowfall, I couldn't help but jump on a train and ride around town.
I was looking to practice some night shots, so I headed out the door near 10pm. Looking back, it was a bit silly of me to schlep around the city, alone, so late at night, but I ended up getting some of my most favorite shots I've ever captured from the adventure.
The fog from the lake was washing onshore, and the multiple streetlights offered an eerie glow. I really loved way the tree branches twisted with the sturdy, stiff lines of the platform so nearby. I have this same photo without the train pulling up, and the addition of the light from the front of the train really made this version pop.
This image was shot on a Canon Rebel XTi with the stock Canon 18-55 3.5. I did have a tripod with me to balance the speed of the lens.
My husband and I had just moved to Chicago from Florida. It was the first snowfall of the winter and I wanted to see Grant Park and Millennium Park's new additions with a dusting of beautiful snow on them. They had just built the Crown Fountain and had just finished construction on the Grand Park amphitheater. Everything was so sparkling and pristine, and when I came across this location, such a public spot that still looked so pristine and un-touched, yet it was nearer to creepy and I had to capture it.
I did very little post processing for this shot. I actually did the entire evenings shoot in black and white mode on my camera itself and tried to ensure proper levels through the manual settings.
In my camera bag
These days, I have retired the XTi. I will forever and always have a Canon camera in my bag (currently a 7D is doing the trick), and a 50mm 1.4 is almost always attached to my camera. I usually only take three lenses anywhere, as I have found them to be the most versatile for just about anything I'm wanting to shoot. The aforementioned 50mm 1.4, my 18-135mm 3.5, and a 15mm 2.8. It may be an obvious answer, but I ALWAYS carry lens wipes with me. I prefer to shoot in natural light, so any flashes are used only for weddings.
Chicago has so many spots that intertwine nature and human structures, as well as killer weather patterns that allow for snow, fog, rain, hail and everything in-between. Any advice I can give is simply keep your eyes open. Walk to a spot off the path and see what it looks like from there instead of where everyone else is standing and seeing the same thing. Play with your settings, be patient. I think the composition of this shot is what has garnered the most attention and composing with leading lines is so easy to spot, in cities especially, so keep experimenting! Finally, don't delete any shots until you upload. Sometimes the ones you weren't expecting anything from are the ones that surprise you the most!

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