Christmas in Chicago Taking a walk with a Canon 70d and an open mind.

As is customary every time I come to Chicago, I take the blue line from Montrose down to Clark and Lake. When I lived here a few years back this was my daily train route. Back then from Clark and Lake I would walk to River North; today however I took a different path.

A downtown median.

This is probably the calmest possible time to see Chicago. Noon on Christmas Day with nearly everything closed. I love to put in headphones and just wander the city, and today was interesting for me because it was my first time doing that with a camera in my hand.

Free Boots?

I thought it was interesting to see what appeared to be a set of nice looking boots next a recycle bin. A lot of people put things like this around for the homeless people to take advantage of.

The Theatre District

Walking the city requires a soundtrack for whatever mood you want to get into. Today I listened to the first six Ryan Adams albums. (I walked a long time.) I began to write little lyrics of my own here and there as I stopped to check out a scene.

"Thinking of adventure and footsteps from the past, where we walked to diversity and fell asleep on the grass. With Lake Michigan in front me and Adler behind. I bet that you are doing just fine." -DH-
Randolph St
The Divvy Bike System

Divvy bikes are a newer addition to Chicago and I really love them. There are bike stations like this all over the city , you can go up and rent them and check them in at another station. Especially useful if you want to make a quick trip down Lake Shore Drive.

"I tell them girls what I know to be true, those Southern boys can take away your blues. Lord, Lord put me back on the blue line." -DH-
Look out kid, it's something you did. God knows when, but you're doing it again. You better duck down the alley way. Looking for a new friend, a man in a coon-skin cap in a pig pen wants eleven dollars bills, you only got ten. -Bob Dylan-
Chicago's pigeons are under the assumption they have right of way. Much like the city's cab drivers.
Theatre in Chicago is amazing. From the theatre district on Randolph to the Second City in Old Town, there is no shortage of cool shows to catch.
"There's no right and there's no wrong. There's no weak and there's no strong. Keep your values high and your boundaries tall. I pray for you every dusk and dawn." -DH-

As with any city it's not all glamour. I didn't want to photo pretty things and leave out what you would actually see in a walk around Chicago. It was bizarre to me how much the homeless are ignored in this city. When I lived here I began to get used to it. If you allow it to be, it is a humbling experience. I've always wanted to film some sort of documentary or web series titled "Tell me your Story," where I would just chat with these individuals over coffee.

You can't tell in this picture, but there are several bodies in that pile of blankets and clothes trying to stay warm on Christmas Day. I made sure to photo discreetly because I didn't want to offend anyone. Maybe I shouldn't have photoed this at all, but this is the decision I made.
"I wished I'd loved you better. I wished I'd loved you less. I'm still not sure at times whether I was lied to or I was blessed." -DH-
Signs of Christmas back up on the surface level streets. Magnificent Mile. 
Billy Goat Tavern is the famous location of a classic SNL skit. I stopped in one time 3 or 4 years ago and had way too much wine, but that is a story for another time.
Sinista Da Gift

Sinista Da Gift is a local rapper. He approached me by asking if I liked good music. We gave each other that kind of grin where you know the other person is going to be cool. Sinista walks around Chicago selling his rap album for donations. His goal was to get out west to be closer to his daughter and hopefully pursue a career as an entertainer. I bought an album for $5, we grabbed coffees at Starbucks and went on our way. He allowed me to snap a few portraits of him so I gave him a shout out on my Instagram. As I walked away I jotted down something that crossed my mind.

Peddle records, Peddle rhymes, Peddle my flow, Peddle hard times. -DH-

I decided to break away from the main path. I turned towards Navy Pier, but before I got to the touristy part I took a few shortcuts to get over to the parks.

"Woke up from a dream I was standing in Old Town. Spanish men were tending the ground. I stopped and smelled the flowers and I did my best, to say greetings in Spanish, but I didn't have your breath." -DH-

I found a quiet hide out. I was surprised there were no homeless sleeping under here. I hung out a bit, safe from the wind and snapped this photo. I really like how the light came down through the streets.

You don't see this everyday. I have no clue what was going on here. Because it was Christmas there were no water taxis running. The river was unusually quiet, but then there was this guy. He was coming down the Chicago river, through downtown, standing in the middle of this boat with a Santa hat on. I ran to a good vantage point and snapped a few photos just as he passed by. What do you think he was up too?

To get an idea of what Santa the fishing boat captain was driving through see the photo below. In the previous picture the Trump tower would have been at his back.

"I’d rather be in Chicago with you Walking through the park and feeling amused. Stopped by the ice and laced up my skates. I made a fool of myself for you." -DH-

I pretty much just watched people eat ice here for a while. I've never ice skated yet, but I know I would certainly have my share of falls if I was to attempt it. I decided to start walking South away from downtown and I found the murals below.

CPS= Chicago Public Schools

After what felt like an enternity of walking South I took a few turns and ended up in what would be the busiest part of the city yet.

China Town

This might be the only place in Chicago that truly smells amazing! Visions of General Tso's Chicken danced in my head. This was the last image I snapped as my ride pulled up and I concluded my walk in Chicago.

I end this blog with my favorite spot in the city. Every single time I come to Chicago I go to this spot. I've even taken random summer naps on the grass here before.
Created By
Derek Huber


Derek Huber "The Nonprofit Photographer"

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