Winter Arrives in Chicago

Although snow has not yet arrived in Chicago, wintery cold has.

Yesterday evening, following two days of Thanksgiving hibernation and feeling the need to get out in the fresh air, I jumped on my bicycle for a freezing but rejuvenating ride along Chicago’s northside lakefront. That really hit the spot. Although my fingers and toes burn and my nose sniffles and my eyes water, everything about riding in the winter makes me feel alive in a way that sweating during the summer does not.

The 30 F temperature felt substantially colder with the 20 mph winds off Lake Michigan and constantly taking my gloves off to operate my camera. Once I got home, a slice of warm, homemade-by-me apple pie and glass of scotch warmed me up right quick.

Winter? I’m ready. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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22 thoughts on “Winter Arrives in Chicago

  1. Bill says:

    Ice on the ground, a cold breeze in the air – sounds like Chicago. Atlanta was 34 degree this morning. Wonderful pictures, I really wish I could take great pictures without a complicated camera? Or at least learn the basics of photography. I have a Sony DSC-T200 camera. Maybe I should try a Nikon. You see so much biking and you want to capture those beautiful places. I just wonder if I could jump into photography and learn the basics, aperture, shutter speed. Would I need a SLR? How do you bike carrying a brick size camera around?

    Wonderful pictures and thanks for sharing and making the effort to post!

    Bill Carter, CPA
    Atlanta, GA

    • Dottie says:

      To learn the basics of photography, I recommend getting an SLR that can be set on fully manual mode, allowing you to choose your own aperture, shutter speed and focus. A digital SLR would work, but old film SLRs are much less expensive on eBay or KEH, like less than $100. Any brand would work, something like the Canon AE-1, Minolta XG, Nikon FM. These cameras are much simpler than any modern digital point and shoot and, with the right film, have picture quality as good as high-end DSLRs. I have no problem carrying my Nikon FM2 around everywhere. It fits in my purse/basket. :)

      • Mr. Bean says:

        Hello Dottie,
        I love the site and like a great many readers it has helped me in getting on my bike and off the Red line.
        One thing that makes this blog so much fun is your pictures, but, I would have to disagree with your advice on learning photography. Just so you know where I am coming from a little background on me. I have been a commercial photographer in Chicago for 20 years. I learned first as a little kid with an old pentax k1000 and developing my rolls in the basement darkroom I built. I have used film for a long time and in my opinion it is NOT the way to learn the basics of photography. Here is why.
        Like you said you can get a cheap old film camera from Ebay Craigslist what ever but you have no idea if the shutter is in sync and working properly, The lenses aperture could also be out of spec. So if you are serious about learning you have to get the camera checked out and repaired which can be costly or impossible with older cameras that have not been in production for years.
        As you know film choice is important depending on where what and how you are taking pictures. I still hate thinking of all the bricks of film I would have to take on location. 100 asa 400asa it might be really dark maybe some 800asa and I will have the lab push it a stop or two. The cost of film and processing has to be added to your cheap film camera equation. for $500 you can get a basic digital SLR new with a lens so $400 more than your old camera recommendation.
        I dont know the cost of getting a roll of film processed and printed any more but I would guess it at $15. in less than 30 rolls of film you are at the cost of the DSLR. You can do all manual with a DSLR and with even finer control1/2 stop and 1/3 stop adjustments of both aperture and shutter is pretty standard on all Dslrs not so with the old film cameras even if they are in working condition. So the cost issue is in favor of a DSLR. But the reason I think a DSLR is the best method to learn photography is speed. With a film camera if you are learning you will have to take copious notes of what your setting are for each shot so that you will remember them when you get your prints back. Digital it is all there Asa, F-stop, Aperture, metering mode. Also you can take a picture and instantly see what changing the F-stop from F16 to F2.8 does with out even loading it on your computer because of that cute little screen. Lastly in the old days we used to use hand held spot meters and still a lot of landscape photographers that use the Zone system can be seen with one hanging from there neck. The reason was it lets you metter a very small part of the scene old film cameras only have center weighted metering most all DSLRs even the cheap ones have spot metering.
        Sorry to ramble but I wanted to add a counter viewpoint on the taking pictures side and I felt qualified to give an opinion that was based on experience with both formats.
        Keep up the great blog and I do like your photo blog as well.

        • Dottie says:

          Thanks for the information and the kind words. There are plenty of pros and cons for both digital and film. I offered the advice that worked for me and I prefer working with film.

  2. jim says:

    We’re on the shore of Lake Ontario just north of Niagara Falls. Morning temps have been in the mid 20’s, peaking in the mid 30’s. No snow yet, just a few flurries, but it is cold! Wind chills along the lake are in the teens. Now that’s invigorating! Enjoy the season and ride safe.

  3. BB says:

    One of the things I love about American blogs, and yours in particular, is that your seasons are opposite to Australia’s. So, just as I’m wanting some relief from the brassy sunshine and heat I get to read about chilly Winter rides. Lovely, sigh!

  4. Carolyn I. says:

    Yep, Winter is here. The wind the other day made my eyes really water.

    I don’t bike to work each day, but I do take out the bike at least a couple times of the week. Today I had to pick up some Tour De Jasper photos and mail a parcel. It was much easier strapping parcel on the back rack then it would be to carry it to the post office.

    The sidewalks on the main street that I use are always cleared right away and sanded, so I biked along that. I usually don’t bike on sidewalks, but that’s where I feel the most comfortable in Winter. I am very careful to watch for people at street corners or driveways. Easy riding though with the plowed sidewalks. I wish there were bike paths nearby, and that they were kept plowed.

    Lots of snow here and subzero temps now.

  5. Annalisa says:

    That sounds like a perfect afternoon. Especially the part about the pie and Scotch. :)

  6. Bill says:

    How can you ride in Chicago? I would fear for my safety? I don’t think riding in Atlanta would be safe. Don’t you encounter many street people or is that a thing only in the south? Do you ever have any fears? Maybe there are so many bikes you just are not noticed? I would worry to much, but then bike anyway.

    Bill Carter, CPA
    Atlanta, GA

    • Herzog says:

      I’ll admit I was kind of scared of cycling around the city before I tried it. I haven’t encountered any of those problems so far.

      As far as safety goes, it’s safer than public transit or driving, because both of those modes requires you to walk to your parking spot or to the station. Cycling, you can just hope on your bike and avoid all the narrow sidewalks and dark alleys.

  7. Bruno C says:

    Thank you for the beautiful photography.

  8. Cherilyn says:

    Beautiful pics, as always!

    ” . . . everything about riding in the winter makes me feel alive in a way that sweating during the summer does not.”

    Amen. What a perfect description. Took a Thanksgiving Day ride in 8 deg. temps and came home exhilarated, even with numb toes.

  9. Jim Phillips says:

    I read your blog and am amazed at your riding in the winter in Chicago. It gives me great encouragement. Beautiful pics.
    Bill, you do not need a complicated camera to take nice photos. A small compact camera with an auto setting is all you need. As you learn you can play with different settings. No need to carry a brick although sometimes I do carry my Sony DSLR in my saddle bag.

  10. Janet says:

    It’s easy to not have teary eyes if you don’t mind looking a little odd. I wear clear ski goggles in the winter when I ride the bike. They keep my whole upper head warm.

  11. welshcyclist says:

    Your hair is fabulous!

  12. Bill says:


    Thanks for the feedback. I have a 5 year old daughter and we do everything together. I am sharing the joys of bike riding with her. I put a trailer hitch on my car just for the bike rack and there are many parks here with beautiful bike paths, no cars. I am going to make a point to look much more seriously into photography.

    There are just so many good pictures out there waiting to be taken!

    Bill Carter, CPA
    Atlanta, GA

  13. Gram Bev says:

    Beautiful pictures as usual. The duck one resembles on I took here in Salem, MA

  14. Gram Bev says:

    The one like it I took here was from a pedestrian foot bridge that is in the downtown area and was just put up last summer.

    My son Paul, your uncle, has “animal magnetism” and four ducks – actually ducklings grown big – followed him by swimming along as he was walking along above and I took a pictue of them and later discovered that shadows of the railing and us were reflected on the water along with the ducks.

  15. donna says:

    I agree! I ran a few errands on my bike this weekend and I felt so refreshed despite the wind and cold.

  16. BB says:

    snow snow and some rain.

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