Northern view from John Hancock Center, Chicago, USA
Manuel Becker
Manuel Becker www.manuelbecker.net
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Northern view from John Hancock Center, Chicago, USA
Greg Tackett
Greg Tackett thelonegraffitist.tumb…
licensable
Northern view from John Hancock Center, Chicago, USA
Greg Tackett
Greg Tackett thelonegraffitist.tumb…
licensable
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USA Northern view from John Hancock Center, Chicago

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The John Hancock Center offers a beautiful view over the city of Chicago and Lake Michigan. The best time to be there to get a good shot is probably about sunset and blue hour.
There are no tripods allowed at the observation deck, but you can use the heaters at the windows to get a sharp shot or even do a long exposure. Mondays seem to be the exception though, so you should ask if you are allowed to use a tripod on this day.

Photography Tips

This tower has glass windows at the observation deck, which makes it a little bit harder to get a clean shot. The easy trick to avoid the reflections you get from all these light sources inside the building is a dark blanket, a towel, a scarf or something like that, which you should hold around your lens while taking the shots. It makes a huge difference in terms of getting a reflection-free and clear shot!

Travel Information

The John Hancock Center is pretty easy to find as one of the highest buildings in Chicago. The best way to get there is probably by subway. Admission currently costs about 22$ and you can enter this building from 9 am until 11 pm.

Insider trick: If you don't want to pay the admission you can also get up there to a restaurant, which is just below the observation deck. The entrance is free, but if you want to take pictures, the observation deck seems to be the better alternative.
Spot Type Indoor
Crowd Factor A decent amount of people
Best Timing Sunset
Sunrise & Sunset 05:13 - 20:29 | current local time: 10:22
Photo Themes Beach Lake observation deck Skyscraper streets traffic

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Spot Comments (8)

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Antoni Figueras
Antoni Figueras 03.04.2016
Do you think it is possible to use a minitripod (Manfrotto 209 Table Top or similar) on the heaters that you mentioned , to do long exposures? Thank-you
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 03.04.2016
Hey Antoni! I would at least try it and I can't see a reason why this shouldn't be possible. When I was there, there wasn't that much security that was watching after me and as long as you don't use a huge tripod... because that's something I really can understand, because we as photographers would block that space for hours, wouldn't we? ;-) I am curious about your results and feel free to add them to this spot!
Antoni Figueras
Antoni Figueras 03.04.2016
Thank you Manuel. I think I should try it!! :-) Just another question. Is it close from ther heaters to the window glass? I mean if it is easy to avoid reflections from windows. Thank-you a lot.
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 03.04.2016
That's a good question... It's not that far away and I used a dark scarf to get rid of the reflections. As far as I remember the lighting inside the building wasn't that bright, so it's not the most difficult place to get good photos from. Maybe you can get even closer to the window with the mini tripod, but since I had none I had to use the heaters ;) You need a lot of endurance though because a lot of other tourists will make them shake. When are you in Chicago? I was there after the summer, so there were less people I think.
Antoni Figueras
Antoni Figueras 03.04.2016
Thank you again Manuel. We will visit Chicago just in 10 days. Only 4 nights and so many locations to choose... Hancock is a must, but still not sure if day or blue hour...
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 04.04.2016
Definitely during sunset! You may have seen my other image from Hancock with the view to the other side of the tower... it's also in the nearby spots. The glow of the city just looks awesome, even after the blue hour although this is usually the time when I stop to shoot. And don't miss Adams & Wabash! My alltime favorite spot in Chicago. Enjoy your stay!!
Randy LeMoine
Randy LeMoine 24.10.2017
You can use tripods in the building on Mondays. i researched this for my trip and asked security and staff and they confirmed. I had a full tripod and lens skirt in use although I was the only who asked that day she mentioned.
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 25.10.2017
Oh, that's a nice information, thanks Randy! I will add that to the spot details.

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Thank you Manuel Becker for creating this photo spot in USA and Greg Tackett, Jille, Mia Pflieger for improving it with additional photos or content.
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