CHICAGO -- Peter Tsai has captured memorable moments at A-List celebrity parties and hung out of airplanes to get amazing aerial shots, but his favorite subject to photograph is Chicago. And for a decade, he's been on a quest to show off our spectacular skyscrapers, shrouded in fog.
He calls this passion project "Cloud Chicago." To capture these amazing meteorological moments, he will spend hours camped out high atop the Windy City's highest perches.
"I'm a freelance photographer but I also consult for the Chicago Tribune," he said. "Twelve years ago I saw a picture in the newspaper that had a pic of a skyscraper poking through the clouds and all you could see was the Hancock tower and the Sears Tower poking out above it. It was this beautiful little thing! I thought to myself that's a great bucket list sort of thing! Its usually a foggy day in the city, low clouds and just rainy and dreary at ground level. You usually hope that the fog just kinda melts downward and eventually evaporates, as it does, it exposes the city."
On these dreary Chicago days, Tsai's ideal perches to capture his iconic "Cloud Chicago" images, he camps out atop a couple of the Windy City's most famous observation decks and tucks his camera right next to the window. One perfect spot is the 94th floor of the Hancock Tower at the 360 Chicago attraction.
"It's just a beautiful view, its 50 miles in every direction, you see 3 surrounding states. Its an amazing part of Chicago that you really cant have the view anywhere else," said Tony Wong, 360 Chicago senior sales manager.
"When that fog happens, its like a river flowing through the city, coming through. It's rising, ebbing during those times I've spent," Tsai said. "One one occasion, it was incredible and I ended up spending four to five hours here. I didn't even have dinner. I was starving but I didn't leave, it was like a once in a lifetime thing. You see it and you just want to get more and more of it. It's so dynamic, especially if you capture it at sunset. The light is changing, the clouds are changing. You wanna keep doing it. You wanna have that one happy moment where everything is right. I love that you can put so much into a single moment, a flash of an instant, captured for everyone to see. I enjoy making people look their best and making this city look its best. That's fun for me."
Follow him @petetsai.
875 N. Michigan Ave., 94th Floor