Spring Inspirations

While ChicagoHenge is over until the autumnal equinox, we want to give you some of the many things you can plan to photograph April – May around Chicago.  We hope this gives you some motivation to go out a shoot some of these amazing sites!

Early to Mid-April

Cherry Blossoms!   Jackson Park and around the lagoon just south of the Science and Industry Museum.  Keep an eye out for these trees to bloom, the blooms don’t stay on the trees for more than a couple days but if you catch them…they are truly beautiful.  TIP: go in the early morning, just after sunrise to catch the golden light shining through the rows of trees.


The Elks National Memorial is reopening to the public beginning April 18th.  This is an amazing building to photograph…both the interior and exterior.  Double check with the staff, but the last time I was there, you could use tripods if it had rubber feet.  Wide angle lenses to fish-eye lenses are useful for the interiors.  Best times to visit are between 1 – 3 pm when the sun is lighting up the west-facing stained glass windows.


April 23rd – 28th

“GrantHenge” or “HorseHenge”

Beginning on or about April 23rd, the sunrise will be positioned in the walkway underneath the statue of Grant in Lincoln Park, when viewed from the nature pathway across the lagoon.  As the days carry on, the sun will continue to rise further to the north and you can catch the sun through the upper windows of the base.  TIP: Make sure to close your aperture (f/22) to get the sunburst effect.


Mid-April to Mid-May

Tulips!!!  Throughout downtown Chicago, especially on Michigan Ave and State Street, you’ll be able to capture the tulips blooming in the foreground of the city’s beautiful architecture.  Full bloom is certainly weather dependent but the good thing is that they last for several weeks.  Best time to photograph the tulips are during the mid-day light, when the sun is high and illuminates the “canyons” of Chicago.


Cottonwood, Dandelions and Moss.  Those three things start appearing and annoy most people…but not a macro photographer!  Like fall fungus season, macro photographers love to see those dandelions and moss germinating.  TIP: If you want to preserve those dandelion seed heads for later in the year, put them in an empty Pringles container.  The containers are perfect for keeping your seed heads from getting wet and moldy.


Starved Rock & Matthiessen State Parks.  With the spring rains, the waterfalls are flowing!  Make sure to take waterproof boots as the trails can get very muddy but the views are well worth it.  Want to come on a guided tour of the best spots to photograph the parks?  Gerri Whitley and I are returning to the parks on Saturday, May 14th for a full day of hiking and photographing!  Click HERE for more information.


Late May

Ping Tom Park Peonies.  Fantastic park with interesting architecture and landscaping.  This is a “not-to-miss” park with so many compositions to choose from.  TIP: Make sure to walk on the 18th Street Bridge going over the park for a different view and another bonus is to cross the river on the bridge to find a whole different composition of the city skyline!


Memorial Day Weekend Through Labor Day

Navy Pier Fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday evenings.  These are fun not only to photograph but to also find new compositions and styles to photograph the fireworks.  Check out this previous blog to think about photographing “outside-the-box”.  https://chicagophotoclasses.com/2019/06/26/fireworks-think-differently/

All Spring Long

Go Fly A Kite!  Make sure to spend time with the people that you care about.

Lastly…if you’re at any of these spots and don’t see me…save me a spot, because I’ll be joining you soon ☺!

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