Solar Halo

If you looked up to the sky on Saturday afternoon, you might have noticed what appeared to be a rainbow circling the sun!  I was out in Noblesville IN and happened to get some shots of it.

This is called a solar halo (sometimes called a 22° halo), which is an atmospheric condition where sunlight is refracted in hexagonal ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. The result is a beautiful halo that surrounds the sun.

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It’s just that kind of day

It’s just that kind of day today… cold and rainy.

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Memorial Day 2012

The Chicago Memorial Day Parade, which took place along State Street on Saturday May 26th, honors all men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. This year’s parade was dedicated to all soldiers who fought and died in our country’s recent conflicts. The City of Chicago was proud to have post 911veterans represented in our parade this year. This year, the parade also commemorated the 150th Anniversary of Taps with a special tribute. In 1862, Oliver Wilcox Norton wrote what he called “the hardest 24 notes to play”. The all too familiar cadence of notes first played by Wilcox during the Civil War and will be played by a group from Bugles Across America to mark the anniversary.

The mounted color guard presents the flag to kick off the Chicago Memorial Day parade.

David Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander of the International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. His other four-star assignments include serving as the 10th Commander, U.S. Central Command and as Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq where he oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq.

U.S. Marines stand at attention during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Chicago Memorial Day Parade.

The U.S. Marines leading the start of the 2012 Chicago Memorial Day Parade.

One U.S. Marine steps out of the parade march to give high fives to the children who were watching the parade.

This Armored Personnel Carried was one of the many service vehicles that participated in the parade on State Street.

Members of one Jr ROTC carry a large American Flag down State Street.

Even the USMC mascot was dressed for occasion.

Reflecting in the windows of the Daley Center was the silhouette of a statue showing a soldier mourning the loss of a brother in battle. The statue, flags and memorial wall showing the photos and names of all Illinois fallen soldiers were all set up in Daley Plaza by the Illinois Patriot Guard Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Walk.

Another statue on display in the plaza was the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross. The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross, Battlefield Cross or Battle Cross is a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed. Made up of the soldier’s rifle with bayonet attached stuck into the ground, helmet on top, dog tags sometimes hanging from the rifle and the boots of the fallen soldier next to it. Its purpose is to show honor and respect for the fallen at the battle site. The practice started during the American Civil War or maybe earlier as a means of identifying the bodies on the battleground before they were removed.

My Grandfather’s Purple Heart Medal with his folded American flag in the background.

I made a post last year in honor of my Grandpa shortly after he passed away.  He served in the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII in Europe and the Pacific.  I recently received some of the military medals that he earned during the war but was never physically awarded at the time of his discharge.  As I was mounting his medals into a display case, I noticed the sun light catching the back of his Purple Heart as it lay across the folded flag from his memorial service.  I took a quick shot before I mounted it behind glass and just wanted to post it in memory of a man who I probably didn’t appreciate enough in life or thank in person for the service he provided our country. 

 If you have a friend, family member, loved one or even come across a complete stranger in their uniform, take a couple seconds to thank them for being a big part of something that makes this country such an amazing place for people from all walks of life.  And more importantly, don’t feel like you should only show your appreciation one day a year on Memorial Day.  Make it a regular thing since members of the military spend 365 days a year making sure we’re safe.

View 2011 Memorial Day post

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NATO Continues…

I had close to 1,000 photos that I took from over the NATO weekend.  Obviously not going to post all of my good shots from the weekend, but thought I would add some more of my favorites that showed the excitement and sometimes chaos that was surging through downtown that weekend.  So if you weren’t in town to experience it yourself, hopefully some of these images can give you a taste of what it was like to be part of the historical event of the NATO Summit coming to Chicago.

Pre-protest rally at Grant Park.

After the rally was done at the Petrillo Band Shell all of the protestors gathered on Jackson in preparation of the march.

As we walked south down Lakeshore after the rally, caught this unusual view of the Field Museum being protected by the line of snow plows used as mobile barricades.

The marchers file by the vigilant police officers in their “turtle suits”.

This is the group of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans marching in protest of the wars. They later went on to symbolically return their war medals to the NATO delegates by throwing them in the direction of McCormick Place at the end of the protest march.

I happened to catch Andy Thayer walking through the crowd. He’s a well-known, anti-war activist and Chicagoan who organized the protest on Sunday.

Column of Chicago police officers escorting the protestors along the march route.

It may be difficult to see from this photo but in the center of the crowd is the infamous Black Bloc. They are known for traveling the country to find and participated in protests and cause unnecessary trouble.

Black Bloc member carrying an Anarchist flag.

Just an interesting character that I caught in the crowd.

Shot looking north on Columbus. Does a pretty good job of showing how desolate it was downtown and uncomfortably hot as can be seen from the mirage in the middle of the road.

Michigan Ave bridge house decorated with a NATO banner.

Chicago River was heavily patrolled by Coast Guards and Chicago Police Marine units.

This is a shot from behind a wall of police on State street as protestors confront them on Saturday night.

Photo was taken on Michigan and Congress Saturday night as protestors were corralled by Chicago Police in the plaza. Between the homemade signs, the protestors showing solidarity and the Chicago Policemen in the foreground I feel like this one photo sums up the whole weekend.

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NATO Summit Chicago

As NATO in Chicago continues, so do the protests.  Streets are closed along Lake Shore Drive, Congress, and Michigan Ave as protestors take to the streets waving flags,  chanting, and defying the police.  The city had a post-apocalyptic feel to it as residents and tourists alike tried to avoid the downtown area.  Plows lined Balbo Ave from the train tracks beyond Lake Shore Drive past the bike trains to the lake itself. Dressed in riot gear, police, horses and K-9s were prepared to handle any situation that were to arise.  For every civilian walking the street, there was at least one representative of law enforcement from either Chicago Police, State troopers, Secret Service, or private security.

Congress was shut down to traffic as protestors took to the streets.

Plows lined Balbo from the railroad tracks to the lake.

Lake Shore Drive closed to Southbound traffic after Balbo and down to one lane from Balbo to Monroe.

A Chicago Police Office stands by keeping a watch as the ralley took place prior to the protest march.

State Troopers prepare in their riot gear to take on the protestors and protect the city.

K-9 units stood with state troopers prepared for anything.

State Troopers formed a line to direct the protestors and prevented them from going north on Michigan Ave.

Mounted police took to the streets this weekend dressed in their riot gear following the protestors and helping to maintain a calm demonstration.

One protestor took along his iguana during the march on Sunday.

Chicago Police on bicycles followed behind the protestors keeping them in line.

Gates lined the museum campus this weekend keeping the traffic at a minimum along the bike trails leading in and around the museums.

Flags for NATO along the Michigan Ave bridge.

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Opening Day

As today is Opening Day for the Chicago Cubs, I thought it would be appropriate to post a few of the pics that I have taken of the nostalgic Wrigley Field.


Good Luck to the Chicago Cubs as they take on the Washington Nationals today at Wrigley.  Game starts at 1:20pm and is aired on WGN.


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I had to fly down to Maryville Tennessee to visit our plant, the birth place of Sharpies. Snapped this picture as I was waiting for the assembly line to start up.


Here are a couple more I snapped of the barrel and reservoir as well.



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High in the Sky

As I am been traveling quite a bit the past few weeks for work, I decided to grab some shots from in the plane.  Here are some shots that I got on my way home from Tennessee the other week.  Enjoy!

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Sunrise in OakBrook

January in Chicago usually means snow and cold weather, but not for 2012- at least not yet.  According to the Chicago Weather Center, there have only been 8 other years since 1871 where the weather was warmer than 49degrees in January.  The city’s temperature averaged 7.5 degrees above normal in December and 4.5 degrees above normal during the first four days of January. The seven-day forecast continues the mild pattern with an expectation of temperatures running 11.2 degrees above normal.

I caught this shot of the sunrise from my work parking lot in OakBrook.  A wonderful sunrise with deep colors to start the anticipated warm Friday that I couldn’t resist posting.  Enjoy and Happy Friday!

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Day 365: Finale

Today marks my 365th post and the end to my blog-form “project 365”. A year ago today I decided to start sharing photos that I have taken throughout this amazing city and wanted everyone to see what a wonderful and stunning city Chicago really is.  I hope that I done that in the past 365 days.

When I first decided to do this, I thought it would be easy.  There are thousands of things to do in Chicago and I only needed 365 photos- how hard could that be?  Well, it proved to be much more difficult than I thought.  Not because I ran out of things to photograph in the city, but because of the pressure of the deadline to post one everyday and the fact that you can’t experience all that the city has to offer in only one year.

Although we have done A LOT over the year, striking a balance between friendships, worklife and experiencing all that Chicago has to offer proved to be more challenging than expected. In addition, Chicago is notoriously finicky and unpredictable with its weather and many “free” weekends ended up being less than ideal for taking photos that show the true beauty of the city: rain, strong winds, clouds, etc.

I’d like to thank all of the people that have followed me – whether it was from the start of this journey or you joined me along the way.  I hope that you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have. For those of you who have never been to Chicago, hopefully you were able to see why I love the city so much and motivate you to want to come and visit this amazing city someday. For those of you who are Chicago natives but have since moved away, hopefully you have been able to reconnect with the things you used to enjoy and brought back some fond memories. And for those of you who currently live in the city, hopefully I have introduced you to something new or given you a different perspective on something already familiar to you.

Despite the fact that I will no longer be posting photos everyday, I will still be out exploring the city and capturing shots of what makes this city great and posting photos sporadically along the way.  Finally, I would love to hear your feedback.  So let me know what your favorite photo was, what you wished that you would have seen some photos of or photos that you could have done without.

So again, thanks for visiting my blog and sharing in the ride of 365 days.  I wish you all a wonderful 2012 and hope that you continue to check out my blog for photos throughout the year.

I leave you with one final photo of the Chicago skyline.  In my opinion, no other city skyline can compare to Chicago.

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