The Chicago Workshop was AWESOME! Full report…

The Chicago Workshop was Awesome! 

Many of you may have noticed that I did not update my site this weekend. Well, that was because I was in Chicago since Thursday for the workshop you have been reading about here on the site. I was a bit worried when flying in because the weather forecast called for rain on Saturday and street shooting with digital cameras in the rain can be dangerous but at the same time, shooting in the rain can provide for some cool photo opportunities as well.

This post will feature my thoughts on the day as well as the photos I shot. But this day was NOT about me, it was about all who attended so I will have another post in a few days with everyones photos from the day. 

8AM, we all meet for coffee at Intelligentsia!

Seventeen of us gathered downtown for a day of new friends, learning, and on the street shooting. The goal of the day was to take everyone out of their comfort zone and to not only shoot discreetly on the street, but also to approach people for street portraits. There were two guest speakers and I had a keynote presentation on two ways to shoot on the street. Before all of this though we all met bright and early at 8am at Intelligentsia which has the most amazing coffee/espresso/latte I have ever had. We all did our introductions while we enjoyed coffee and muffins and then we headed towards base camp…in the rain.

Don’t let rain stop yo from shooting as reflections can make for some interesting photos…

Presentations, Discussions & Street Shooting!

We spent about 90 minutes on the three presentations and some discussion on street photography and then we headed out to shoot as everyone had their assignment to bring back one street portrait that was to be taken with permission and three street candid shots in the traditional street style. There was a mix of cameras there ranging from a Panasonic GF-1, Olympus E-P3, Nikon D90, Olympus E-1 and a few Leica M9’s and a couple of film M’s as well. Bradley even had a darkroom set up for film processing! How cool is that? There were also complete newbies, amateurs, and those who were more advanced in the group. It was a great mix of great guys.

I want to thank the Guest Speakers, Steven Blewett and Stuart Sipahigil who gave an awesome presentation on finding photos close to home. Stuart also does his own workshops with details HERE.

So after the presentations everyone headed out. The weather, while still rainy, started to clear up. At one point it was coming down hard and we sort of took cover near some wall/street art/

Gotta love B&W – Click for larger and better version!

This guy was not part of our group but he was also out doing some street shooting…

As we walked the streets on our way to lunch we must have seen 4 or 5 weddings (well, I did). Right as some of us walked by this one we were able to snap a kiss right behind the official photographer.

Lunch At Pizzeria Due

We made it to Pizzeria Due at 1pm for lunch and they had our table all ready and the pizzas took only 10 minutes. The waitress took a group shot of us inside…

A Visit To Central Camera, Chicagos oldest Camera Shop

After lunch we all  shot more and everyone finished up getting shots for their assignments and then we walked over to Central Camera, Chicago’s oldest camera shop. While there we were given some history of the shop, we browsed some used Leica gear and then we were given free Leica mouse pads courtesy of Central Camera. I was shooting the Pentax Q a little during the workshop and shot one of one of the employees with the kit 1.9 lens. The sensor is tiny but it’s a REALLy cool and fun camera, I have to admit.

We then had a group shot of everyone taken in front of Central Camera

The Rain cleared and we finished up the photo walk

The sun was shining and the weather warmed up for the 2nd half of the day so we took a pretty long route to get the most out of it. As we headed back through Millennium Park the sun was shining and it was gorgeous outside. We enjoyed the walk back to base camp for the final editing. We decided to show the images on the HDTV and have Bradley’s girlfriend Carola (who is a photographer and artist) pick her favorite street shot from the day, and the winner would win a classic and mint Leica Digilux 1 & Leica leather case. The winning shot will be posted this week with everyone else’s photos from the day.

The day ended and everyone said their goodbyes. It was a great day and I will return to Chicago in the future for another workshop! It was great to meet all of you and it was clear that by the end of the day everyone had a great time. Thanks to all who attended and I hope to see you again soon! Next up on the workshop agenda? Maybe a two day event in San Francisco with something REALLY cool to be included as part of the event. Can’t wait!

This week I will have my Pentax Q review up, the photos from all of the attendees at Chicago, and I also will have in hand TOMORROW (monday) the Ricoh GXR M Module so I can start reviewing that as well. ALSO, the Olympus 45 1.8 lens arrives to me Tuesday so look for that review soon as well!

Oh, and if any of those who attended has shots of us shooting or cool scenes from the day, post them in the comments!

[ad#Adsense Blog Sq Embed Image]


  1. The Chicago workshop was an incredible experience. It was wonderful meeting all the participants, and I hope there can be some sort of “reunion” meeting sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    The workshop certainly challenged me, that’s for sure. I was fortunate enough to see the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago (three times!) and the Vivian Maier exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center, and both those experiences really motivated me to get out on the streets and start looking for some decisive moments of my own.

    Street is a type of photography I’m not very good at, so it really took me out of my comfort zone, just as designed. But the photo opportunity that presented itself at the Crown Fountain thanks to the nice lady with an umbrella made the entire day. 🙂

    I took 1,077 photos that day, and of that total I have 134 that I’m not too embarrassed to show off to the rest of you. You can find posted to an album on my Google Picasa account:

    Thanks again to Steve for coming to Chicago, and to Bradley for hosting us. You both did an excellent job.

    – Ron Z.

  2. Hey everyone I arrived safely back in Sydney earlier today and the jet lag has just started to kick in but wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to you all for making me welcome in the fine city of Chicago. I had a fantastic day and was really happy that I took the detour from Seattle to Chicago on the way home to Sydney. Sunday morning saw me up and riding the CTA to explore further a field…and with my new found confidence I had no problems with taking plenty of snaps of people who were also riding the CTA. Got a fair bit of work to catch up on but I got a long weekend coming up so will go through all my shots and post a couple of the better ones. Once again thank you all and special thanks to Bradley for being a great host and to Steve for doing what he’s done over the last couple of years.
    …and Steve, we need to work out way to get you down to Sydney so you can run your first international workshop…oh, and don’t forget to send out the list of everyone’s email.
    Bye for now, Peter

  3. Question about the workshop. Did the 17 of you walk around together to shoot or did you break up and meet up later after shooting?

  4. Looks like a lot of fun. Just need to get some street shots now – Flickr HCSP style. But man that is hard to do! I guess we are all stuck sharing this urban doco style shooting for the most part until we can join the lofty few that can pull off the 4-5 element juxtaposition. I guess that also means a need for sunshine so that one can actually shoot stopped down to get correct DoF to actually fit in the 4-5 elements……maybe a workshop in Mexico? I’d come for that!

    I’ve heard that Chicago has great steaks? And is it really windy?

    • HCSP. wow. had never come across it… masterful, other-level shit. very much enjoyed! siegfried hansen… my god!

      thanks and blessings

      • Yeah – they really set the bar high and keep the concept of street photography pure. A good place to learn and also measure up against. Those guys have serious patience and calm nerves to not blow their load too early when a shot appears – they move, lower, frame, think about every little element and then fire. Impressive stuff for sure.

  5. Workshop was fantastic. I only wish it had gone on for two days. Steve and the speakers were all interesting to hear from and my fellow workshoppers were a great group to hang around with.

    If Steve ever comes to your city, I highly recommend you sign up.


  6. Sweet! Love the ISO500 shot of the guy with the glasses you shot with the Pentax Q. SilverEFX did a great job with that file! Did you shoot that RAW?

  7. My sincere thanks to Steve for letting me be a part of this workshop. I really enjoyed meeting everyone, talking about photography, and of course, shooting in Chicago. I also want extend my thanks to Bradley for being a great host, and for giving us such a grand tour of his city. I’m working on a few shots from the day, but I’ve got one up on Flickr from the “super model” shot at the Millennium Park Fountain. (

    I hope to cross paths with you guys again sometime soon. Thanks again to everyone.

  8. It’s probably too early days Steve but I’d love to see one of these Workshops down here in the Southern Hemisphere, not expecting you to come to New Zealand but I’d travel to Oz for it……..just looks like a great experience.

  9. Steve,

    I think all the participants would agree, you did a great job and Bradley was a great host. It was really nice to meet other photographers and learn their thoughts and styles. I would highly recommend anyone interested in street photography or just a photography enthusiast to attend one of your workshops.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.