Photo(s) of the Day: Harbingers of Spring

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

The joke in Chicago is that there are two seasons: Winter and Traffic. Based on the last few years, where most of Spring has been cool and rainy, with a few, beautiful sunny days dropped in there for good measure, followed very quickly by a slam of Summer heat, I believe it. Thankfully, Spring seems to be trying to eek out a few more of those beautiful days a little earlier this year and, along with the spring blooms, it’s bringing out some of my favorite little creatures.

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

With the budding of the trees and flowering bushes, comes the Yellow Warblers, Thrushes and the like. I am very lucky to have some outdoor space right outside my apartment and, sitting on my deck get to witness any number of indigenous species, from birds to butterflies, busily preparing themselves for the Spring and Summer ahead. Today’s photos of the day, “Harbingers of Spring” were captured yesterday in various spots around my apartment.

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

© Tracey Capone Photography 2013

I am looking forward to getting out to Chicago Botanical Gardens and Morton Arboretum for some of the wonderful blooms that are starting to grace us, in the meantime, I am very happily watching several female Yellow Warblers in the tree out in front gathering for their nests.



Photo of the Day: Reflections on a Bean

"Reflections on a Bean" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Reflections on a Bean” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Admittedly, I haven’t shot The Bean, in downtown Chicago, prior to this because, aside from having to deal with the large number of tourists I talked about in yesterday’s post, I have always tried to shy away from the blatantly touristy Chicago icons. That said, I wish I had shot it sooner, just for my own benefit because it was a lot of fun.

The shapes you see in this mirrored wonder are determined in part by where you stand. It ends up almost looking like Chicago in a fun house mirror in some spots but a beautiful reflection in a drop of water in others. There is an additional challenge of taking the shot while remaining inconspicuous because the last thing you want is a beautiful reflection of the city… and the photographer standing smack dab in the middle of the shot. While this can be corrected in post, I would much prefer keeping my photographs as close to the original, without a need for a lot of “blemish edits” as possible. So, I’m in the photograph, it’s just a matter of finding me. 🙂


Photo of the Day – Monolith

"Monolith" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Monolith” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

It is a rare occasion when you can get a clean shot of the sites in downtown Chicago without having to work around the throngs of tourists vying for the perfect shot. Yesterday, as I was in need of a number of shots for a collaboration I’m working on (details to come soon… you’re going to love this!) I made sure I was downtown by 5 am in hopes of not only getting the photographsI needed but taking advantage of the beautiful light the sunrise over Lake Michigan provides.

It was a perfect morning. The temperatures were crisp but not cold, the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon and, outside of a few runners, the promenades in the park were perfectly clear.

Over the next few days, I will share more shots from my early morning shoot. Today, we’ll start with the Neo Monoliths in Millennium Park. I remember when I first moved back up to Chicago, the first time I drove past the park I almost drove off the road when I saw a giant face blinking at me. In the summer, this spot becomes a hot spot for the kids (including the adult sized ones) to run around under the water that spouts from the sides and their mouths. Without the crowds, I was able to take advantage of the wonderful reflective puddles on the ground and the perfect line the buildings along Michigan Avenue create.

Worth every minute of sleep lost having to get up early to get downtown.



Photo of the Day – Granville (as seen in Sweet Paul Magazine’s Spring 2013 edition)

"Granville" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Granville” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Well what a fun way to start the day… today’s Photo of the Day, “Granville” is actually one of my older photographs but it’s been given new life by one of my favorite publications, Sweet Paul Magazine, as one of the picks to celebrate the beautiful color green.

Celebrate Green! - Sweet Paul Magazine Spring 2013 Edition

Celebrate Green! – Sweet Paul Magazine Spring 2013 Edition

If you haven’t checked out Sweet Paul yet, run don’t walk. It has a lot of amazing recipes, home decor tips and simply fabulous photography (not that photography is a big deal or anything ;))

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They only put out a few editions each year but they are jam packed with simply wonderful, beautiful, splendiferous finds.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend!


Photo(s) of the Day: Catharsis and Papillon

"Wisp" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Wisp” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I have been in one of those mind-numbing creative funks again. I am convinced it’s a combination of lack of Vitamin D from the sun (it’s been rather dreary here in Chicago as of late) and the fact that my studio looked like a tornado had selectively ripped through it, sparing the rest of my pristine apartment but wreaking havoc on the one place I feel most at peace. Given I’m a full time artist who needs to create to eat, live and, frankly, breathe, that’s not exactly ideal.

The Eye - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

The Eye – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I had all sorts of new ideas for my work, I even had new photographs and found objects I wanted to use, but, mentally and physically (more in the sense that the room was that messy I couldn’t get to my work bench without tripping) I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I was uninspired, tired by the mess, admittedly depressed and concerned, once again picturing myself asking, “would you like fries with that shake?” It’s funny how it works; it’s a Catch 22. The mess started because I got extremely busy and kept putting off organizing. Said mess grew to epic proportions and then started to chip away at my psyche, making me feel sad and uninspired, at times angry, and with no desire to clean, let alone create. So, I simply closed the door to the room and wouldn’t go in.

Opposites - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Opposites – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

I am one who craves order. In my office days, everything was always perfectly aligned on my desk, to the point where people took great delight in “poking” my inner Milton Waddams by moving my stapler to various, completely illogical, locations on my desk. The only way I was going to get back to being creative was to override all the negativity holding me back and just take care of it.

Inspired by a friend, and fellow artist’s, desire to reorganize his own workspace, I set out Sunday to clear away the chaos. I would say, “it was that simple” but it wasn’t, however, once I got started it was as if someone was taking a broom and clearing cobwebs from my brain. As I worked, and the dopamine levels started to rise, I soon realized it wasn’t just the work space that needed to be “cleared” of negativity. (but that’s more for my journal and next serious “bestie conversation” and not so much for the blog) As I found various tools and supplies hidden by the mess, I got excited, I started to feel creative again, admittedly getting distracted more than once by my sudden desire to create. The more I wanted to create, the more I wanted to clean and, soon enough my studio, while not quite up to Martha Stewart’s standards, was back to it’s very workable organized chaos.

The Light - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

The Light – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

A funny thing happened when I was done. I worked. I created. I smiled. It was a weird rebirth; all of my creative energy flooding back to me. At the risk of sounding like I should be the lead in a Greek play, it was a catharsis for me. The book(s) I had been burying myself in stayed shut, the TV stayed off, the music went on and I spent the evening creating. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was cathartic.

I realize I have been posting photographs of butterflies along with my rambling and you’re probably wondering what they have to do with any of this. I have been wanting to go to the Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Center for the last several months and never did, mostly because of my slump. With the studio clean and a rejuvenation of my creative energy, what could be more fitting, and a better homage to Spring being right around the corner, than photographing a symbol of catharsis, the butterfly?

Extend - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Extend – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

If you have a butterfly haven near you, I highly recommend going, if not for the beauty of these creatures then for the shooting practice. While you might be lucky enough to get a few who land and stay perfectly still long enough to get the shot, it’s more likely you are going to have to exercise your shutterbug brain to capture them either mid-flutter or mid-flight. I will note that butterfly havens are purposely kept very humid. If you’re going to swap out lenses mid shoot, I highly recommend doing so outside of the haven otherwise your lenses, and, with the lens off, your mirrors, will fog up. While it makes for a very ethereal shot, if that’s not what you’re going for, you will be disappointed.

Stained Glass - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Stained Glass – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

So, with the studio organized, and once again feeling inspired, I am running through my list of places I want to hit. I have even been tossing around the idea of booking a trip to London ahead of my September trip to Spain and Portugal. Fish and chips, a Guinness and my camera. What more could a girl ask for? Funny what a clean workspace, and mind, can do…


Orange and Blue - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Orange and Blue – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Photo(s) of the Day: Portrait of a Jazz Singer

Monica - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Monica – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

If you have been following my work, you know that I have a very retro inspired bent to my photography. Thankfully, Chicago, and it’s rich history and culture, lean in to that and give me plenty of subject matter to shoot. So it’s no surprise that I was truly excited to get the opportunity to do an Old Hollywood style portrait session with Monica, a wonderful jazz singer from right here in Chicago.

Monica - Tracey Capone Photography  © 2013

Monica – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Monica knew what she wanted when she reached out to me. A set of portraits with that perfect mix of Old Hollywood meets Jazz; think Holiday meets Garbo. Having seen my past portrait projects she was convinced we would be a perfect match and I just love the results of our collaboration.

Monica - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

It wasn’t without it’s hitches. Monica was, as most are, very nervous in front of the camera at first. Having done several self portrait sessions in the last few weeks, I completely understand the nerves; it’s a big deal to have a giant lens stuck in your face with lights blaring while someone you likely just met tells you how to stand, how to hold your head, what have you. There are a few ways to make your subject feel more comfortable:

  • I want my subject to feel as comfortable as possible so I shy away from over-posing my subject and let them move naturally in to whatever position feels most comfortable. If you’ve never had a photographer put you in to a pose that you would never, ever find yourself in naturally, trust me, you spend more time thinking how silly you must look than working with the camera. Let your subject move gracefully and freely and just keep shooting; you will get some fantastic shots.
  • Is there something that ultimately “soothes” your subject? In the case of Monica, she feels most comfortable with her mic in front of her, singing her favorite tunes. We put the jazz on the stereo and Monica did her thing. I got to hear beautiful music from one of my favorite genres and, within seconds, you could see Monica relax and get in to the session. The result was some of my favorite portrait work.
Monica - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Monica – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013


Monica - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Monica – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

Photo of the Day: Thaw

"Thaw" - Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

“Thaw” – Tracey Capone Photography © 2013

It’s cold here in Chicago. So very, very cold and we are expecting a few inches of snow tonight. No big deal about the snow, I have lived in cold climates most of my life but winter is wearing on me a bit. I seem to recall this past summer, I was in an outdoor art fest where it was 102 degrees in my tent, without question and I kept wishing for winter. Silly me.

The first day of Spring is March 20th and I can’t wait. Buds on the trees, flowers beginning to bloom, being able to ride a bike without feeling like the skin on your face is tearing away from the cold. You know, the little things in life.

Today’s Photo of the Day, “Thaw,” is from my day out with the camera last week. On my way to the Shedd Aquarium, as I was heading down Lake Shore Drive, I noticed that the fog was creating such a beautiful abstract silhouette out of the city that I had to stop at the Lincoln Park Zoo to get a photograph from one of my favorite spots.

I love the giant hole in the ice. It makes me think that we’re not too far off from the ice and snow being a thing of the past and, yes, the dogwoods and magnolias being a plenty. 🙂