Chicago (was Re: OT: Miscellaneous Camera Clicks)
- Hi Sharani
Re Chicago, the 'Bean' was being restored when I was there, but I
still had an amazing time...it was mid-summer. Hot, but nice breezes
off the lake. I hired bikes and did lots of serious exploring, around
the city as well as the lake shore. Less frantic than New York but
still with that big city buzz I felt right at home in Chicago. As you
say the Victory's Banner food is superb, and the hospitality and
welcome they offer is truly exceptional.
Of course I had to do a lot research re NY vs Chicago pizza but at the
end of the day Chicago got my vote after finding a pizza place that
was pure organic.
I wish I had more time to have explored the many places you mention,
maybe another year. Your observations about painting are very
perceptive. A painter at heart, I still have this sneaking suspicion
that photography may be the 'fast food' of the art world. And as
Re Swami Vivekananda: after his great reception in Chicago he came to
London, I found the house in London where he stayed and gave lectures,
it is still there. Check out the photo page on my Gallery for more
details of this:
Re the Olympus, I have read a few hands on reviews, they all look good.
One thing many experienced photographers will be interested in is that
the camera offers the facility to take pictures in the RAW format.
Virtually all compact and 'bridge' (half way between compact and SLR
interchangeable lens)only take photos in varying resolutions of JPEG
mode. With all JPEG photos, however high the resolution, there is some
loss of quality as the camera uses inbuilt programming to compress the
image and also in most cases tweak the color and sharpness. In the RAW
format there is no data loss, no tinkering with the image, it simply
records in the highest quality what is coming through the lens.
The downside is that the more common simpler image editing programs
don't allow image editing in RAW mode, and the image needs to be
What is impressive, if it is to be believed, is the claimed 530 shot
battery life. Speaking to my camera shop honchos, my view of AA's is
outdated. New circuitry and improved camera and battery technology
have moved things on. Also a significant factor is that the camera
uses the smaller xD memory cards. These use considerably less battery
power than the bigger compact flash cards. This is not a problem for
SLRs, which generally use compact flash cards, as they have big
batteries, but is a problem for small cameras that use the compact
Sample shots in wide and medium telephoto look fine, but I can't say I
am impressed by the quality of the far end of the zoom photos. Still,
as the camera also offers a good macro facility it will I am sure be a
camera many people will be happy with.
--- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
> Hi Pavitrata,
> Thanks so much for replying for the umpteenth time on the subject of
> cameras. But now I want to talk about Chicago. I have to agree with
> you about Chicago being a great city. I'm guessing the Millennium Park
> wasn't there when you went so you were spared the bottomless vortex of
> fascination of taking pictures of the city seen through the "Bean" a
> large oval shaped sculpture which is completely mirrored. The
> Millennium Park website explains the following about the sculpture:
> "Cloud Gate is British artist Anish Kapoor's first public outdoor work
> installed in the United States. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is
> forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates,
> which reflect the city's famous skyline and the clouds above. A
> 12-foot-high arch provides a "gate" to the concave chamber beneath the
> sculpture, inviting visitors to touch its mirror-like surface and see
> their image reflected back from a variety of perspectives.
> Inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture is among the largest of its
> kind in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33-feet high. Cloud Gate
> sits upon the At&T Plaza, which was made possible by a gift from AT&T.
> 'What I wanted to do in Millennium Park is make something that would
> engage the Chicago skyline...so that one will see the clouds kind of
> floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work. And
> then, since it is in the form of a gate, the participant, the viewer,
> will be able to enter into this very deep chamber that does, in a way,
> the same thing to one's reflection as the exterior of the piece is
> doing to the reflection of the city around.'
> -Anish Kapoor"
> This statue, however, is not the only jewel in Chicago to say the
> least. First and foremost there is the Chicago Sri Chinmoy Centre.
> When the airlines cooperate with cheap tickets, I have happened upon
> the tradition of going to Chicago for a long weekend in the merry
> month of January. I use the word "merry" facetiously because some
> think I'm crazy to go to Chicago in the dead of winter. It is
> typically bitterly cold and snowy there in winter. The greater part of
> the appeal is because it is a time of year when meditation activities
> are quiet in New York and ordinarily I would be going to New York on
> my free weekends otherwise.
> A self-confessed lover of great food, there's that other pull of the
> excellent repasts to be had at Victory's Banner Restaurant as well.
> This restaurant run by Sri Chinmoy's students is a first-class
> establishment. If you visit their website at
> http://www.victorysbanner.com you can read all the accolades heaped
> upon them by different city guides to dining. They were even featured
> on a public television show that reviews area restaurants and got a
> big thumbs up. This restaurant is worth a plane ride to experience!
> All the other divine enterprises please forgive me but I would be
> ready to wager hard coin to bet that they would win if the enterprise
> restaurants had a cook-off competition.
> After you eat your fill at Victory's Banner, you can walk off the food
> by heading downtown. Get off the elevated train at the Library stop
> and if you pop inside, be prepared for a gargantuan building that
> involves escalator rides up and down to numerous levels. This is a big
> library! Then you can walk over to Michigan Avenue, home to the
> Magnificent Mile. Shortly you will arrive at the Art Institute of
> Chicago, one of the foremost art museums in the U.S. I spent an
> afternoon there and sincerely hope that Pavitrata had the opportunity
> to go there as well. This museum has some fabulous collections. Since
> my only study of art history was in the context of my courses in
> French, I just had to start in the Impressionist galleries of the
> I'm no expert but I loved viewing well-known works of art by artists
> such as Renoir, Cezanne, Pissaro, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet,
> Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat, etc. It felt meaningful to observe the
> three-dimensionality of the paint texture on the canvas and I noticed
> a repetition of techniques that I have encountered in the art of
> photography as well. Often part of a subject of the painting would be
> partially missing from the edge of the picture, creating a touch of
> mystery for what might be around the corner of your perception. Brush
> strokes might all radiate toward one direction to create a feeling of
> focal point. And the play of colour and light in paintings such as the
> six Monet haystack paintings side by side somehow brings tears to my
> Having just visited Turkey, I also took great interest in their
> special exhibits centered on the Silk Road. They have an excellent
> collection of Asian art that includes several statues of the goddess
> Kannon. In the American gallery, you can view Edward Hopper's
> "Nighthawks" painting, Grant Wood's "American Gothic" and some
> gorgeous paintings by Georgia O'Keefe.
> I could go on and on about the Art Institute of Chicago but who knows
> maybe my meditative side is also resonating with the fact that Swami
> Vivekananda gave a speech here in 1893 during the Parliament of World
> If you have worked up an appetite yet for another meal, then it's time
> to head to Giordano's Pizza. This pizza has been called the best pizza
> in America by the NBC television Today Show and is considered the
> penultimate Chicago pizza experience. Please note the founder is from
> Italy. Apparently there is quite a debate within the Sri Chinmoy
> Centre about who has the best pizza - New York or Chicago. I'll leave
> that tale for another day.
> Last but not least, you can top it all off with a night-time visit to
> the 95th floor of the John Hancock building for a panoramic view of
> the city from on high. For the mere cost of an over-priced soft drink,
> you can sit and gaze at the city lights.
> Chicago is a wonderful city. Some Americans who have hugged either the
> East or West coast have the mistaken notion that America's Midwestern
> heartland lacks any charm or sophistication. If they miss out on what
> Chicago has to offer for that reason, it is their loss. The poet Carl
> Sandburg called Chicago the city of the big shoulders and I feel they
> rub shoulders with the best that any has to offer.
> --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
> <no_reply@> wrote:
> > Hi Sharani,
> > Lost rainbow pix in your dreams! I got that T-shirt!
> > The Olympus SP550 looks interesting! For another good review check
> > http://tinyurl.com/3xkowp
> > The SP550 is also out here in March, so I will check it out at my
> > local camera shop and also ask them what they think. My only hand-
> > wringer, why oh why, on what will be a very power hungry camera/lens
> > (18x zoom) have they put in a AA battery system? The far more elegant
> > Lithium-Ion system is SO efficient. I also really don't like
> > electronic viewfinders, so for those reason alone its not a camera I
> > would ever buy, at least not as a main camera.
> > Personally, if I were you I would go for the Nikon D80 or the more
> > petite and lighter Canon 400D (not the Nikon D40, its nowhere near as
> > good as the D80 or Canon 400D at low light levels). Then if you need
> > a compact go for something smaller and more portable....like the Fuji
> > Finepix F30 (or the latest version the F31)
> > Thanks for the Gallery bespeak (there's a good old English word!)
> > For various reasons I haven't been out exploring as much as I would
> > like to have been, so it has been quiet in my photo loka. I am
> > working on a new photo album 'the small world' as I recently got a
> > great little mint condition used macro lens for my camera. The
> > inherent problem with macro pix are that they tend to be rather
> > static, so its not easy getting good macro photos.
> > In Photoshop make sure you have the correct colour space set if you
> > are working for the Web.....go to Edit/Colour settings and make sure
> > you have Web Graphic Defaults and then in the RGB box choose sRGB
> > from the drop down menu. If you then make sure your pix are 50
> > kilobytes or more when you click File/Save for Web (make sure you
> > save them as JPEGs not GIFs) they shouldn't look too different online
> > from they way they were in Photoshop. Also make sure your resizing is
> > the very last thing you do after your editing or post processing.
> > Hope that helps.
> > Your 'Bestshots' album is excellent, I particularly like the Kamakura
> > boardwalk scene photo, and also the Tsurugaoka monk. Also your
> > Chicago album pix are great, far better than the ones I took when I
> > was there a couple of years ago. What a city! I could so live there!
> > click click...catch a rainbow!
> > Pavitrata
> > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
> > <no_reply@> wrote:
> > >
> > > I don't even know how many people might have already read the newest
> > > issue of Inspiration Letters announced last week:
> > > http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/inspiration-letters/7/view
> > > but an article I wrote about change in this latest issue seemed to
> > > crystallize new developments in the world of photography for me.
> > >
> > > In the article, I talked about ways that my relationship to taking
> > > pictures has changed but that I have yet to graduate to a new
> > camera -
> > > even though the one I own currently needs to be replaced from having
> > > dropped it.
> > >
> > > Putting thoughts into words and publishing them seemed to get the
> > > universe talking to me on this subject. At least three nights out of
> > > the last week I have been dreaming about trying to take pictures
> > > except the camera won't work. The first night it was rainbow after
> > > rainbow after rainbow. I woke up thinking I have to buy a camera
> > that
> > > takes good rainbow pix. Other dreams followed on successive nights.
> > > The first night after the article appeared I came home to a huge
> > photo
> > > B&H catalog (a big store in Manhattan as far as I can tell) in my
> > > mailbox - it was so long ago that I requested it to be mailed to me
> > > that I had forgotten I had even requested it.
> > >
> > > I had been in a holding pattern on what to buy because I was feeling
> > > torn about making the investment in a digital slr camera even though
> > > some have recommended that is the next logical step. If and when I
> > buy
> > > one, I'm hankering for the Nikon d80. The tough part for me is that
> > I
> > > don't already own any lenses from a previous camera. It would also
> > be
> > > a new kind of battery, new kind of memory card, new kind of battery
> > > charger, new lens for telephoto, backpack to put it all in?... It
> > all
> > > adds up - big time.
> > >
> > > I figured that one still needs to own a compact even if buying a SLR
> > > and was trying to decide what I could buy until I was ready for the
> > > investment in the slr. Then in that fashion one can count on when
> > > engaging in meditation and intuitive leanings for a good many
> > years, I
> > > now know what I'm going to get even though it's not even for sale
> > yet
> > > in the U.S. I've heard the "inner call" that the camera for me is
> > the
> > > Olympus SP550 - coming out in March of this year. It is a 18x zoom
> > > with two kinds of stabilization, a 28 mm lens instead of the usual
> > 24
> > > for these types of cameras and it supposedly does well in low light
> > > too. It takes the kind of memory card that I'm already invested in
> > to
> > > the tune of 1.5 gigabytes and it uses the same kind of batteries as
> > my
> > > current camera and charger as well - 4 AA. I first heard of it in
> > the
> > > Popular Photography Magazines March 2007 issue and you can read a
> > > review of it just posted by this gentleman in Singapore where it is
> > > already for sale.
> > >
> > http://scaredofthedark.typepad.com/blog/2007/02/olympus_sp550_r_4.html
> > >
> > > I am of course curious if Pavitrata has heard of it yet. And in
> > > anticipation of moving on to the next grade, I created an album of
> > my
> > > favorite pix at:
> > > http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/gallery/members/sharani/bestshots/
> > >
> > > Most all of them feature my nascent attempts using Photoshop for
> > > editing as well and I think the verdict is still out on whether I'm
> > > getting the proper hang of editing in this software. Some of the
> > > pictures looked a lot more brilliant in the Photoshop mode than they
> > > do uploaded to my gallery album. I may switch back to the earlier
> > > version of some of them after seeing them uploaded to the Web. That
> > > won't have happened much yet by the time that this message posts
> > though.
> > >
> > > I really look forward to taking photos with a new camera and hope
> > the
> > > ultra 18x zoom allows me to get some close-ups of wildlife on the
> > bike
> > > path. Funny how admitting and accepting that making change can be
> > hard
> > > then opens up the space to let it happen after all. I like those
> > kinds
> > > of changes...
> > >
> > > Last but not LEAST! I'm really missing that Pavitrata has not added
> > > any new photos lately to his album. I do hope that he will keep
> > > sharing his work with us on an ongoing basis. I'm positive I'm not
> > the
> > > only one who must be missing new material or updates in his gallery
> > album.
> > >
> > > I hope my habit of updating everyone here on the subject of cameras
> > > isn't too tedious. I have certainly been an avid reader of what
> > others
> > > have to say on the subject so I can only hope that continuing the
> > > thread is valuable for at least some readers. Who knows? Maybe I'm
> > not
> > > the only one who will be interested in the Olympus SP550 either...
> > >
> > > Sharani
> > >