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Winter 2005 and 2007: Visiting various Chicago locations

Beluga Baby
This beluga calf was born on Aug 16, 2006 at 125 pounds. In this photo from November 2007, he's already grown to over 500 pounds. The calf spends his days swimming around with his companions, eating... getting larger.
Paradise Under Glass
These tropical fish are right at home in a well-designed tank at the Shedd Aquarium.
Chicago Canyons
Chicago is famous for its varied and unique architecture. The towering buildings make the streets into urban canyons.
The Bean
It might be called Cloud Gate, but many residents call this reflective sculpture "The Bean", in reference to its overall shape. Here the skyline is reflected below the moon.
The T-Rex Sue greets visitors to the Field Museum.
Am I the only one who believes that T-Rex was way too top-heavy and awkward to be an effective predator, and was probably a scavanger - using its enormous teeth to rip apart decaying behemoth dinosaurs? Just a hunch...
This rich fossil specimen is one of many on display at the Field Museum.
Under the Skin
The Field Museum houses an extensive collection of natural and human historical objects.
Da Bulls
Sports is religon in Chicago. The mood of the city rises and falls with the fate of the teams. The Bulls - once a dominante basketball powerhouse - are currently in a "rebuilding phase".
Face to Face
The Crown Fountain is another public art piece in Millenium Park consisting of two illuminated towers. These usually show close-ups of faces - short films with only subtle movement. Sometimes, a natural scene - such as a waterfall - is shown for a time. In the summer, a fountain sprays water from the mouths of the faces.
These delicate jellyfish float directionless, sightless, and beautiful at the Shedd Aquarium.
Shedd Sharks
The Shedd Aquarium is a famous Chicago landmark, and home for thousands of fish in spectactular exhibits like this one.
The Lake
A serene view over Lake Michigan on a cold calm winter day.

December 2004: Exploring downtown Chicago

The underside of the sculpture warps one’s view of reality so much that it’s difficult to gain a firm measure of depth or perspective.
Bridge Tiles
Millenium Park is a new attraction in Chicago. The park features some dramatic architectural designs by Frank Gehry. These metal “shingles” cover an organically curving bridge that connects the park with a nearby parking area.
The park also features a large amphitheater, an outdoor ice-skating rink, smaller arts venues, a garden, and this curious rounded reflective sculpture called "Cloud Gate" by Anish Kapoor. Part of the Chicago skyline is reflected as the curious pass by. The rivets connecting the panels were later smoothed-out.
On Display
The elaborate window displays of Marshall Field’s are a holiday tradition. This year, the theme was the story of snow white. This window was the first in the series… It had to do with the birth of Snow White & a fairy godmother or some such thing… I guess I should have read the sign more closely.
The skies remained strangely hazy for most of the day. Tips of some of the taller buildings were obscured by clouds, giving some indication of their true height. Here, the sun shines across Monroe Street, in front of the Chicago Board of Trade.
Chicago River
The ice in the Chicago River is evidence of a cold late December.

December 2003: A visit to the Chicago area

Lake Arlington
Lake Arlington is a man-made lake in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. A 2-mile jogging/bike path winds around the shoreline of the lake, and connects to other paths in the area.
Winter Path
Much of the land along the Des Plaines River, northwest of Chicago, is protected by forest preserves (which are like large city parks). A trail follows the course of the river through the woods.
Open Land
Scenes like this are increasingly rare in the Chicago area. Open areas like this one have mostly been lost to make way for something man can use - shopping malls, a parking lots, a golf courses, or at least grassy parks. At least there are still a couple wild grassy fields left.
Winter Tree
Winter in the Chicago area can be rather drab and lifeless without a covering of snow. Still, the bare trees have a beauty all their own.
The Chicago skyline is famous for its impressive sharp lines rising above the waters of Lake Michigan. The powerful monolithic structure of the John Hancock building dominates the northern part of the skyline.
The Picasso
This huge sculpture by Picasso keeps watch over the Daley Plaza, just east of City Hall. The sculpture was unveiled in 1967, is 50ft tall, was originally a reddish-brown color, and isn't named
This is a view of the State flag, US flag, and city flag against a backdrop of buildings along the Chicago River.
Wave Walls
The Lake Point Towers are a pair of distinctive high-rise residences along the lake shore. The absence of flat walls & corners gives the buildings an open and inviting look.
The rigging from some ships docked along the lake provides an interesting contrast against the soft winter sky. At this elevation (near the top) the snow is so much brighter than the sky that it's difficult to get "blue sky" to show up on a photo like this from certain angles.
Old and New
The old water tower was one of the few structures to survive the great Chicago fire, back in the late 1800's. In the background is the John Hancock building, risen from the ashes. This would be a much better photo with different lighting, but I still like the composition (I couldn't do anything about the weather).

Where is it?

Chicago, Illinois is located on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan in the heart of the United States. It's the third largest metropolitan area in the US, behind New York and Los Angeles.

Before you go...
It can get very cold in the winter, with temperatures sometimes dipping below 0F. On the flip side, it can get quite hot & humid in the summer, with temps sometimes over 100F. There's a lot to see & do in the city at all times of the year, but don't expect to find many large open wild areas.

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