Something in the Air

CT Pollution_002.JPG

©2009 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia

Normally, cruising the skies in a helicopter is a very cool assignment. But circling the largest polluters in the Chicago area on a hot day for three hours while breathing chopper exhaust isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered. But hey, it’s still a helicopter ride. The images were for one of several environmental stories we’ve published since taking a more aggressive watchdog role this past year. This past Sunday the Tribune published a story about how state politics had reduced environmental law enforcement, requiring federal regulators to step in to cite such companies as the one which owns the coal-powered plant in the photo. The state didn’t see any problems with the emissions, but since that very company was represented for years by one of ex-Governor Blagojevich’s top campaign aides, well, let’s just say something was in the air…

Stay the Summer

Summer on the Lake

©2009 Alex Garcia

Wishing the summer to stay. Just wishing. I watch my son play along the water’s edge of Lake Michigan at North Avenue beach as I take in the grace of another sunset and the remains of the day.  The day has said its peace. The crowds and sun have softened. It’s my ideal time. The light has a glow. There is a calm encouraged by the waves.  Soon we will be back to school, and these open and lingering hours of free time will transition to early bedtimes and hurried schedules.  We must come back soon. As in work and play, I find myself on a deadline….seasons may change but some things stay the same….

How Not to Ruin a Digital Camera

Fountain©Chicago Tribune

I finally used a Canon underwater camera housing to take photos at the Crown Fountain. It was an idea that I have been considering for awhile, but was waiting for hot weather to get into the news.  Whenever I’ve been out at the park before, I’ve been relunctant to get into the thick of the action because splashing water + wild children + a $6500 digital camera = trip to the photo director’s office. But with the housing, my credentials (to show parents), and a spare change of clothes, I was the emboldened feature photographer. Of course, I couldn’t see a thing while taking pictures –  it was mostly all about strategic placement and blind faith.  An hour or so later, this was the best picture that emerged from the frenzy.