Windy City Nights is the result of a two year journey through Chicago at night. I started this timelapse project back in April of 2011 after getting inspired by a video I saw posted on Vimeo titled “We are Chicago” by Ross Gerbasi. The video contained several night timelapse sequences that were captured in Chicago. Just prior to this, I had been shooting timelapses and started practicing the art on a regular basis. I had been shooting a lot of sports photography since 2005 and just really started to enjoy the art of timelapse. I have always enjoyed the challenge of night time photography and long exposures. There is something about the lights at night and the passage of time that is really captivating and what better place to capture this than the City of Chicago. Chicago is a really unique city, it has great architecture, the Chicago River and is surrounded by Lake Michigan. There is so much happening all the time and the lights at night here are truly amazing.
During this project, I have shot over 200,000 exposures, of raw digital files. With the raw files, exports and renders this accumulated to about 8 Terabytes of storage data. So the process of managing the files and backing up the data was a project in itself. I also had to choose which rendered sequences were going to be in the final movie. I had so many shots which did not make it in due to trying to keep the time of the movie around 6 minutes.
There were a lot of challenges with this project. The first is that I had a full time job and family. So finding the time to get down to the city and shoot was hard. About two years ago, I had scouted all the locations for my shots and wrote them down on a list. I set goals and went off my list. Navigating around Chicago can be a process when working primarily by myself and transporting a lot of gear around. When not transporting the motion control gear, it was pretty easy to get around on foot or my mountain bike I custom fit with heavy duty bags attached. When I transported my slider, I used pelican cases and a hand truck to move everything around.
The gear I used in making this movie were three Canon Cameras. One 5D Mark III, one 5D Mark II and one 1DX. I used a variety of Canon lens’ including the 24mm f/1.4, 24-105mm f/4, 14mm, f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8. I used motion controlled equipment from DitoGear including the OmniSlider, both of 1 and 2 meter versions as well as the OmniHead. I also used the eMotimo TB3 which can be purchased here: emotimo.com/ .
I would like to thank Cite Restaurant, Lake Point Tower, Wyndham Grand (Hotel 71), Willis Tower Skydeck, John Hancock Observatory, Melvin Dumanlang, Ross Gerbasi and Raj Tank for their location support and assistance as well as my family for putting up with me during my time away from home.
A special thanks for Vic Garcia for providing the title work for this project. A very talented guy! huemanelement.com/
My first impression of Dubai was that of super-tall buildings jutting out of the desert sand. However, after 3 months of exploration, research and filming, my lasting impression is of the eternal wonder of the desert and the importance it holds for the Emirati people.
Dubai may be home to the world’s most outrageous skyline but Dubai’s desert dunes and historical creek are where you’ll find its soul.
A special thank you to Dubai Film for making this project possible and for providing the extraordinary access which enabled me to realise this story.