Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Dividing Line

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It’s late on a Sunday morning in Chicago. March 11, 2012. We had disembarked from an Amtrak train, stowed our luggage and headed out for Millennium Park where my mission was to photograph the Cloudgate sculpture. A detour on Adams Street due to construction that had closed the sidewalk and street forced us south to Jackson Boulevard.

“That’s fine,” I thought.  I could grab a shot of Willis tower (nee Sears Tower). I paused, got my shot of Willis Tower at the corner of Jackson and Wacker Drive and begin to move on.

As I neared the entrance to the Willis Tower observation deck, I happened to look up again and saw a jet soaring high overhead. I looked again and saw the plane’s contrail making a neat dividing line between Willis Tower on the left and the 311 South Wacker Drive building on the right.

At the time, I didn’t know the name of the other building. I had no doubt seen it on previous trips, but paid little heed to it.  There are so many tall buildings in Chicago.

I later learned that 311 South Wacker Drive is the seventh tallest building in Chicago, the 16th tallest in the United States. But it stands in the shadow of the largest building on both counts.

I had to act fast to capture the image. Within seconds the high winds aloft began to distort the contrail and, indeed, my subsequent shots showed the “line” to be fuzzy already.

During our trip to New Orleans and back, with two long layovers in Chicago, I would fill four memory cards. I recorded many good images, but this may be my favorite due to its fleeting nature and unexpected occurence. So many images in life are like that.



Written by csanders429

March 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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