Southwest Chicagoland, as viewed from my Southwest window seat

It’s fun to carry one’s camera on a routine airline flight. These are just mundane photos of the southwest Chicago suburbs approaching Midway Airport on Tuesday afternoon. Lightroom’s “dehazing” feature is especially enjoyable.

These pictures also remind us of the amazing scale of civil engineering we easily take for granted.

Maybe better title: "How a bill becomes law."
Maybe better title: “How a bill becomes law”
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The bystanders are the most interesting

So often what’s happening behind or alongside or accidentally photo-bombing is so much more interesting than the posed subject of my photographs.

The below picture is of my two daughters and my niece, more than a few years ago. But wait. In back of the frame are my two brothers’-in-law. My sister’s husband David is helping Veronica’s brother Vincent with his lunch. It’s a sweet picture that captures a sweet moment in our family.As John Updike might put things, such incidental photographic details give the mundane its beautiful due.

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Optical zoom (Trigger warning: Another boring photography post)

I just bought a pocket camera to keep with me, since my DSLR with the fancy lens feels like a blunderbuss on my morning commute. I paid a bit more to buy a Lumix ZS50. It allows you to shoot in RAW, manually set the shutter and aperture, and has some fancy wi-fi features that only Edward Snowden fully uses. The RAW format is especially nice to rescue pictures that are under-exposed or otherwise require minor tweaks.

The really fun feature is the 30x optical zoom Leica lenses. True optical zoom is so much better than its digital alternatives. Below are three pictures of the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel. The first is pretty much what the human eye can see.

The second picture of a famous man is zoomed in almost fully on the pinnacle of the building.

And who knew there was a small peacock by the man’s feet? The third picture is simply cropped from the one above.

Below these three, I include pictures from a recent Philadelphia trip that illustrate similar possibilities.

Good glass and genuine control over the photography are well worth the extra $100 I paid.

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