Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Touch of Sweden

Colors and textures from my favorite neighborhood--Andersonville, a Northside Chicago neighborhood with a rich Swedish background. Though it's a bit of a journey from my current apartment (about 40 minutes on the El and the bus), there's cheap & tasty Swedish food to be had at Svea, buttery smooth cookies at the Swedish Bakery and fun little antique stores. Definitely a great place to stroll around on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Down on The Farm

Who knew you could see a grain silo in the city of Chicago?

Monday, August 27, 2007

stroll on the beach

Whitehaven beach - voted as one of the top ten beaches in the world. It is famous for its almost blindingly white fine sand. In person, it is an amazing sight to behold.

"The sand is minute powder-size grains of quartz and has been assayed at 99.89% pure, well above the minimum requirement for glass-making and suitable for the finest glass for optical lenses for binoculars etc. Its origin is not known definitely but geologists say it does not have a local origin as rocks of the Whitsunday area are quartz-poor. They think the most likely explanation is that it is the result of a longshore drift system which brings sand from the south along the Queensland coast, very evident in the Gold Coast/Fraser Island area. The Whitehaven sand is so pure it indicates that during the drift all heavy mineral sands and other impurities have been winnowed out leaving the quartz sand. Probably there is an eddy effect in Whitehaven Bay which causes the sand to drop out and accumuulate there."

Another one with the underwater camera.

Seeing Red

On my jaunts around town I keep seeing splashes of red brightening otherwise drab environments; the most common sight being red doors on town houses and older buildings. Anyone know the story behind these red doors?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

water level

Fiji. Taken with disposable underwater camera.


I happened upon this turn-of-the-century brick town house undergoing renovation near Lakeshore Drive. It's another thing that I like about Chicago, that instead of tearing down the old homes like they do in LA (or letting them rot), people here 'rehab' the inside of the buildings so new generations can live in them. What a concept, eh? ;)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bird's Eye View

So miraculously it didn't rain today (though it probably will later tonight) so I had the chance to shoot the view from the El stop nearest my apartment. This is what I see every day from the platform of the Cermak/Chinatown stop looking toward the intersection of Wentworth and Cermak.



Moving in tomorrow. Beginning my last year as a student.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Of course it always rains on my days off though I was fooled today when I saw a bright blue sky outside my bedroom window. By the time I made it to the my destination, however, the skies had clouded over and a thunderstorm took hold for the rest of the afternoon.

Instead of retreating to the bookstore as I usually do during inclimate weather, I decided to attempt to take pictures in the rain. These flower photos were taken in Lincoln Park and in the Gold Coast area near Loyola's campus. I made quite a sight bending over the sidewalk, one hand clutching my umbrella and the other trying to focus my dSLR.

I was such an unusual sight that a Canadian art student actually stopped and took my picture on his medium format box camera (perhaps it was a Yashicamat?). Unfortunately I did not get his contact information nor his name so I will not see his results. Now, if my life was a sitcom he would somehow come across this blog and contact me...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Lost Roll

The above image comes from a roll of film that I had presumed lost for almost a year. Shot mainly in the area off S. Hoover Street in Los Angeles, these images were the result of my first experimentation with the Holga camera. Not surprisingly most of the images came out a bit wonky (especially since I knew nothing about the 6 x 6 square filter or vignetting at the time) but this particular photo reminds me of two books I've been reading lately, Janet Fitch's Paint it Black and Lisa Tucker's Once Upon a Day.

(For the next few days expect Holga shots of LA until the weather here in Chicago clears up...)


is ending soon. Today was move-in day at school. Another summer has gone; time flies.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Going along the lines of food porn... Roscoe's Chicken n' Waffles!


A giraffe at the Brookfield zoo... it was rather pathetic how it kept reaching up its long neck to reach the leaves just out of reach of its black tongue.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Food Porn

Chicago seems to be a foodie paradise though it's perhaps best known for greasy favorites like deep dish pizza, Maxwell Street polish dogs and German and Polish food like pierogies.

As a former food columnist for, I haven't been able to shake the habit of taking pictures of what I eat. I've gotten quite a few strange looks over the years but like to have this visual record of my gastronomic adventures.

Pictured (from top to bottom): Eggs Benedict and Breakfast Potatoes at Orange in the South Loop, Thin crust mushroom, Canadian bacon and spinach pizza at Eduardo's, Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes at Svea in Andersonville and cupcakes (red velvet with creamcheese frosting and chai cupcake with pomegranite frosting) at Lincoln Park's Swirlz Cupcakes.


Hours spent by the pool...floating.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Life's a Beach

Despite not having experienced a grueling Chicago winter yet I've already decided that I hate the weather here. In the summer it's hot and HUMID. Having grown up in the south I'm used to humidity but there we also rarely dealt with it-- as all stores, cars, restaurants, homes and offices are blissfully air conditioned (unlike Chicago!).

Four years in LA's dry & mainly rainfree weather also spoiled me. The overwhelming humidity here alternates with pelting rain and thunder storms that crop up despite the 'sunny with light cloud coverage' forecast.

The past four days have been gloomy, gray and wet. Since outdoor photo expeditions are out of the question right now I've posted some detail shots from the 12th Street Beach-- where I long to go on my days off rather than sitting inside yet another coffee shop or bookstore.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sunflowers as big as your head

A little taste of the farm life at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Stairs to Nowhere

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Night Vision

A bit of an experiment today; some Polaroid shots taken just before evening fell

Right-Wentworth Avenue, Chinatown.
Left-Sunset from the El track (Chinatown station).


White horse grazing beneath a tree. Turned out moodier than expected and I'm quite happy with that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

From the 95th Floor

Today I learned that my Polaroid camera+indoor lighting=horrible pictures. Thus I bring you a photo from a few months ago... this aerial shot was taken from the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building.

It's amazing how small the people looked from that high up; they looked like ants or the little plastic people that come with model train sets.

A taste of nature...

Here's a taste of the Australian bushes. This was taken on my friend's family farm after a long summer drought. Up in the front is one of adorable ranch dogs, perhaps looking at a herd of cattle in the distance. Looking at the smog in L.A. makes me miss the clear Australian sky.

My new rolls will be in the lab soon and hopefully there'll be some new photos in a week!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mystery Sign

I'm not sure if the drink Orange Crush is more of a regional thing but I'd never seen street signs for the soda before moving to Chicago. When I came across the above sign I was particularly fascinated by the fact that the 'grocery store' lacked a name--it was identified only by Orange Crush.

After doing a bit of digging, I've concluded that the sign is probably from the 1970s. Flicker user Afiler stumbled across a similar sign in Vancouver though the grocery store actually has a name (Quebec Grocery). In St. Paul, Afiler also found another Orange Crush sign like the one above, this time at a laundromat.

Route 66

Leilani's photos from her stint on the 66 bus reminded me of my own photos from my trip on route 66. Different moments inspired by the same number.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Colour on Chicago Street

Due to the rerouting of the 66 bus today I found myself wandering along an unfamiliar stretch of Chicago St. in the West Town area. It was rather desolate over there--I was the only one walking along the rows of shuttered stores and warehouses--but the colours of several of the buildings served to brighten the rather gritty area.

The pairing of these two images was partially influenced by a File Magazine Project I discovered a few weeks ago: Two Thirds Primary by Chicago residents Rod Hunting & Tiffany Paige. As the name suggests, they take polaroid photos of blue & red imagery around the South Side. The project is quite inspiring, it's one of the reasons I've started using my (slightly crappy) Polaroid camera again.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My 'hood: Chinatown

Though I'd always had an affinity for LA's Chinatown (dim sum, cheap Mary Janes and parades throughout the year, what's not to love?) I never expected to live in a Chinatown.

This summer in Chicago, however, I'm subletting an apartment right on the main drag of Chinatown. Every day I must fight flocks of tourists and knots of elderly Chinese gentlemen smoking & chewing on bbq pork buns just to reach the Red Line El Stop. Living in a such a tourist destination can have its drawbacks but being in such a colourful area provides me with ample photo opportunities.

Tonight I used my Polaroid camera to capture details of buildings I pass regularly on my walk home. Unfortunately I don't have a scanner at the moment so this is a digital photograph of two of the pictures I took today.

On the Left- Side of a Christian church. On the right-Jars of Chinese candy lined up in the window of a market.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hello. World?

Yes, due to the two hour time zone difference between Gennia & I the responsibility of designing the blog fell to her. Besides, she's THE graphic design major!

I struggled between wanting to post beach shots from Chicago to comment on the previous post or to do something totally different. In the end I present you with two bits of street art I found while wandering around the Chicago neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Lincoln Park.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

First post

I'm going to start off this little blog of ours (Leilani is pre-occupied with washing her hair at the moment). I promise to post as often as possible...or at least as often as I can remember to.

The streets of Australia