Posted by: merlyn9 | 6 November, 2008

The Bean IS NAKED!

In Chicago we definitely have quite a few Artistic structures which 
uniquely say “This IS Chicago”.

One of the more recent additions which I was finally able to visit up close and  personal this year has been The Bean!  

OK, well that’s not it’s “real” name, but it is certainly a nickname which has stuck.

A Show piece on the Chicago lakefront and along Michigan Avenue, Millennium Park holds a number of attractions, but none more intriguing than Cloud Gate, that’s it’s  proper name.  Yet so many folks just love to refer to it simply as The Bean.  It is quite an interesting feat of artistic engineering which has become a major tourist attraction.

I have been fortunate enough to had reason to be Downtown at least 4-times this summer and fall, right across the street from Millennium Park, and hence The Bean.  Oddly enough the first three visits there it was either raining or badly overcast.  And yes, every trip down I did take my cameras to try and find that shot I could have that was uniquely mine.  Despite the less than perfect light/weather conditions, I would always take some shots hoping to find that right image.  It was on my first visit that I was blessed with a pleasant surprise and a very friendly individual willing to share his fortunate location.  OK, so he’s a Dr. I’m seeing as a patient… and he let’s me hang out his window(s) overlooking Michigan Avenue and right down at The Bean.  He too has captured this seldom, almost unique view of this fine architectural structure, and used it.  Mine… I’ll share here.

A Birds Eye View on The Bean

A Birds Eye View on The Bean

It was not until my fourth visit to the Dr. that the sky’s were Perfect! Rich Blue with nearly no clouds. A sweet contrast and reflections for this mirror finished Cloud Gate.

A Side View of The Bean Coming into Millennium Park

A Side View of The Bean Coming into Millennium Park

But Why have I Titled this posting “The Bean IS NAKED!”.  Oh this is indeed the Sweet Visit that that fourth visit turned out to be.  I take the train into the city and walk from Union Station down to Michigan Avenue.  The Metra really is a better way to get into the City.  Granted this does turn this into the better part of a day-trip for me, but it beats driving and having to park the truck someplace… and that dreaded Traffic.  The schedules and the fact that I prefer to catch express runs into the city, sometimes allows me time to squander before my appointments.  On this particular day Diane had traveled downtown with me to see and possibly photograph The Bean.  There was some Technology event, Wired NextFest  occurring in the hall on the Park property.  One item being displayed, and actually demonstrated live as we walked past was this new Segway-type scooter called the Toyota i-REAL transportation device. Except this new generation was a three wheeled device, which you actually sit in.  Way Cool!   But the best part was yet to come.  They were going to do a photo shoot in front of The Bean with two of these devices… So they had been clearing ALL the peoples away from the entire structure.   So we would actually have a small window to shoot The Bean with NO People anywhere near it!  How Special was this?

The NAKED Bean!

The NAKED Bean!

So here I have beautiful Blue Sky’s, The Bean, and not a person in sight distracting from the subject matter.  Oh sure, it might be hard to gather the scale of this thing from these Naked images, but I have images with people in them for that.  But how many folks have had this type of opportunity of this wonderful landmark without a soul in it?  I do, and I’m pretty proud of it too!



And What were these mobile devices that caused all this to occur?

The Reason Behind The NAKED Bean!

The Reason Behind The NAKED Bean!

Upright view of the Device.

Upright view of the i-REAL.

These things could move too… I’m only guessing now, but I think at times they were moving about in excess of 20 MPH.  At times they were really seeming to zip right around.  Now based on the way these two guys were weaving and turning about with all the folks out here, I’d say they’ve been riding in these things for a while, this was clearly not their first day in this thing.  But come on now this is Chicago  We get rain here in the spring.  (remember I mentioned, at least half my visit’s downtown and viewing this have been with rainy weather.) And heck let’s not forget our winters here.  Does this thing come with Snow tires, and say maybe a Bubble cover for those unpleasant weather days?  And Where do I put my Laptop bag?   The area Under the seat is the Batteries compartment so that’s out?  Sure it comes with that video screen, but does it come with a slot for my iPOD?   And what about WBBM?  Come on now, I have to be able to dial into WBBM!

Can you see paying $18/day to park this thing at a lot downtown too?  I don’t see buildings allowing you to drive this into them, and then UP the elevators like the one promotional video shows.  Not sure they will get away with driving these out on the city streets either, even in the Bike lanes… Can you see this getting smashed into by a Delivery truck?  It will be interesting to see what the future of these devices become.  But at least someone out there is thinking creating designs.

Interesting live videos of this in action:

So back to this Bean… and No, I never did listen to my mother when she told me to come inside and not to play in the rain!  I have found I get some of the coolest shots of many different subjects out in the rain.  But these gulls who rest on top of The Bean… Didn’t their mothers tell them about siting on top of this big giant metal object in the Rain?  They are just begging to be cooked.  And what will really happen to this thing if it Does get struck by lightning?  Not to mention all those peoples hiding underneath it.  In the overhead image below, I like the way the ground is still dry in the circle Around The Bean.  If you look carefully at the reflections In the Bean itself, the buildings are reflecting off the water on the ground in that reflection.  Kind of cool!

15 Dumb gulls playing in the rain, while others hide from it!

15 Dumb gulls playing in the rain, while others hide from it!

The Princess... and The Bean!

The Princess... and The Bean!

So have You guessed yet which building I’m shooting my overhead shots from?
What Floor am I shooting these shots from, or am I maybe… on the Roof?
Next, I do want to get back out there and do some photo’s by night!   I wonder what it would take for me to talk my Dr. into letting me up to his office on a clear full/near-full moonlit night?  Now that would truly allow me to create some pretty unique images! 

Other Interesting Bean / Cloud gate sites:

Someplace (maybe my Dr.’s office???) I have seen and thumbed through a book I think I want to get now… It chronicles the building of this structure in words and photographs from first artist renditions to the behind the scene computer generated designs that make-up the insides of this wonderful piece of art.  If/when I find the details, I’ll add those here.  

You know, this thing starts to grow on you after you shoot it a few times.  I’m now finding myself wanting to capture it under differing conditions.



  1. I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Everything looks great – bean photos are great – pricess and the bean (now you need to find a giant silver pea).

  3. Great photos, and I love your perspective from on high. I’m envious. I just posted a bean photo yesterday as I opened a flicker account. Chicago was one stop on my 27 day whirlwind cross-country trip. I got a few angles, so perhaps I will post more. Thanks P. S. I also enjoyed seeing the i-real, your relaxing elk shot, and your panorama (expanded as well). Terrific shots!

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