Cloud Gate Dawn

How to get a picture of “The Bean” with virtually no people around- get there before dawn on the morning after a big celebration day (like St. Patty’s Day) and start shooting. You’ve got better chances that most people are still recovering. It wasn’t long after this was shot that this pavilion was full of people with cameras. I actually had to wait when I arrived due to a model shoot that was taking place in front of this sculpture. The photographer was kind enough to get his work done and let the few of us begin, though.

A lesson on shooting for symmetry:

When composing a shot like this when you want the outcome to be symmetrical, take your time to line up the shot. Don’t just center and straighten the subject. But also take a look at objects in the vicinity and how they will add to the symmetry. For instance, in this shot there were light posts visible through the bottom of the sculpture on the other side. There were also the lines in the concrete and two banners also visible on the outside of the sculpture in the background. If I were to set up just and inch to my left or right here, I would certainly have lost one of those elements that make this shot feel so symmetrical.

For this one I made it pretty close, yet if I had it to do over I would have moved to my left just a bit. You can crop in Photoshop easily, but fixing perspective is very difficult and when something is lost behind another object because of the angle then it is impossible to correct.

Cloud Gate or "The Bean" sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park with reflections of the early dawn city skyline.

Sculpture Artist: Anish Kapoor