The Magnificent Palmer House in Chicago

Staying At A Chicago Landmark

When you are planning to stay in Chicago you have a lot of historic hotels to choose from. I have been lucky enough to stay in a few of them. This past weekend I was lucky enough to stay at the Palmer House in downtown Chicago. This is a hotel with a rich history, but I knew none of that when we booked it. I knew that it was a good hotel near one of our stops on the weekend. It also was close to the Bean which I had planned to photograph. As we came up the escalator from the ground floor to the lobby level I may have made some noises when I saw just how beautiful this hotel really was. The lobby is really something to look at, and I made sure that I made some time to photograph it. This is actually the third iteration of the hotel. The first one was open all of thirteen days before the great Chicago fire took it. This third version of the hotel it very grand, and I knew that it would make for a good subject.

Processing This Photograph

I used to have a section in every post describing how I processed each photo. For the most part though the explanations can be boring, and they seemed to be a bit repetitive so I quit writing about the processing of each photo. When I do something out of the ordinary for me I tend to write about it though. This is one of those cases. This photo was actually nine separate photos that I merged in various ways to get this shot. I knew that I wanted to get more into the photo than my Canon 17-40mm lens could get into it. I decided to try a vertical panorama to get the entire scene in. I framed the photo in my mind, and then set about creating it. I positioned my camera three separate times to make the panorama. At each position I made three photos that were two stops apart. I then combined those three exposures using Photomatix Pro 5. I sent the 32 bit file back into Lightroom to process. I spent some time processing the first file that I made, and then copied the settings to the other two files to make sure that each file was processed the same. The I stitched the three HDR photos together inside of Lightroom using the fairly new panoramic feature. That process actually gave me two very different but interesting results. I chose this one in the end though as it was more realistic. I like how this technique, which did not take long, gave me the ability to show what I saw when I was standing on this little balcony.

Birthplace of the Brownie

Here is something I never knew until I stayed at the hotel. The brownie was actually invented here. The hotel was built by Potter Palmer as a wedding gift for his wife Bertha. Bertha was looking for something cake like to place in lunches for a function she was a part of. The kitchen then came up with the brownie. Had I known this little fact earlier I would have spent much more time in the hotel sampling their fare.


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