February — A Year in Photographs by Adrian Galli

The Second Month

The coldest month of the year for Chicago turned into the warmest in A Year in Photographs.

One Point – Day 59, Chicago, 2/28/2017

One Point – Day 59, Chicago, 2/28/2017

February can be an absolutely horrid month of weather for Chicago. In fact, I chose February's theme of Shapes and Patterns strategically in the event that it was too cold out to travel finding a photography for the day. I knew that I could find an image anywhere that would fit the build. 

However, Chicago was fortunate this year. February comes to an end and it has been an absolutely beautiful month.

One asks me, "What the temperature going to be?"

"Zero," I reply. 

"Celsius or Fahrenheit," they question.

"First one, then the other."

That was not the case this year and I was fortunate that I could spend so much time outside. Sunny, warm, not a millimeter of snow, and my Florida Excursion 2017, I enjoyed much time outside along with my time with Juan Galindo, my second Guest Photographer for this project.

More importantly than the weather, I've become aware of something surrounding photography. Fifty-nine days in and twenty-eight of Shapes and Patterns, I've developed what I would call a new sense. While I will always say to people many of my photographs are taken in a fleeting moment; a moment where I am not certain whether my conscious mind is actually the first to be aware of the image presented to me, that sense has become more conscious.

Walking down a street I've walked down a thousand times and I am hyper aware of my visual surrounding more than any other time in my cinematic or photographic careers. The world itself has change; photographs pull me to them rather than me seeking them out.

Ruby – Day 40, Chicago, 2/9/2017

Ruby – Day 40, Chicago, 2/9/2017

Two of my favorite photographs from this month were both recognized by VSCO and added to their curated collections; colorful and minimalistic, it is an honor to be added.

With Distinction – Ruby
With Distinction – Teal

Teal – Day 47, Panama City, 2/16.2017

Teal – Day 47, Panama City, 2/16.2017

Teal was one of these "impulses." While sitting in a car, waiting in a parking lot, from ten meters away I saw this image. At first I resisted getting out of the car but, even with many other images ready for my photograph of that day, I immediately knew Teal would be in. 

This month's photography experience had an ancillary reward, too. Every year, at Apple, we have a fitness challenge where my colleagues and I compete on teams against others to lose weight or eat healthier. Using Apple Watch, this year we had a "close the rings challenge" whereby we had a goal each day to close out move, exercise, and stand goal.

With three tiers, bronze, silver, and gold, one chose a specific league to achieve within the twenty-eight days of February. My team was awesome in our support for each other and we all achieved and exceeded our goals. I put myself in for silver but I could not have done it without A Year in Photographs.

Having to get up and out to find my photograph for each day pushed me not only creatively but also physically. Some days I walked four or five miles around Chicago or Mexico Beach to hit both my Close the Rings Challenge but also my photography goals.

By the skin of my teeth, I made gold! Both healthier and more creative, my iPhone, my team, cameras, and Apple Watch all made it possible. Go for the gold!

February's twenty-eight days of Shapes and Patterns coming to an end, I've collected some of my favorite photos. I also need to thanks Juan Galindo, my Guest Photographer, and my Close the Rings Challenge team, Ethan Kelly, Tonja Thigpen, and Andrew Halliday for being the best fitness challenge team! I hope you enjoy and please feel free to comment.

I am only fifty-nine days into A Year in Photographs and I can only wait to see how this "sense" develops.

Up next: MarchPeople.

The Twenty-eight Photographs of February

Guest Photographer: Juan Galindo by Adrian Galli

Guest Photographer: Juan Galindo

Guest Photographer: Juan Galindo

February is normally an absolutely miserable month of bad weather in Chicago. This February was absolutely beautiful; sunny, warm, not a millimeter of snow accumulation. As part of A Year in Photographs, I chose February's theme to be Shapes and Patterns and following up my friend Eric Dirksen as my first Guest Photographer for this project, Jaun Galindo joined me this month.

While Juan is a musician, however, his passion and talent for photography I could clearly see in his Instagram feed. I've worked with Juan for some times but did not know him all that well. The Guest Photography element of A Year in Photographs has given me some time to get to know people who I am around all the time.

I began doing photography out of boredom. It became an avenue to escape from the monotony of tired routines. It’s a perfect way for me to spend quality time with myself and slow down to appreciate the elusive here and now. Through it I’m able to italicize memories and choose how I’ll remember certain segments in life. It gives me a chance to filter out the noise.
— Juan Galindo

We set out in a dark underside of Chicago. While Chicago is a beautiful and friendly city with great food, architecture, museums and art, and great people, there are some grungier parts of the city and the term 'underside' is no metaphor.

Our urban exploration for shapes and patterns began on Lower Wacker Drive; a street that runs below... wait for it... Upper Wacker Drive. Upper Wacker is known for its trek through a heavy business district of Chicago; tall building, bustling business people, etc. But Lower Wacker isn't something you'll find in the AAA Guide Book to Chicago. It is far from pretty; grungy, smelly, dark, many homeless people setting up shanties.

But where there is ugly, a photographer finds beauty.

We stumbled on an intriguing piece of hardware underground; a fan and airshaft. Taking our time to explore a bit further, we tried to find its location but Lower Wacker is a sort of maze at times and one can easily become disoriented. While we believe, we stumbled on the location, a grate on the street leading to what seemed to be the fan, we could not access it.

And getting a better vantage point, we found ourselves on top of a parking garage where Juan, in the best nature of Shapes and Patterns, shot found his photo.

Juan's Photograph of the Day

© 2017 Juan Galindo

© 2017 Juan Galindo

Explore everything. Go with your gut. Spend time understanding your tools, but rely on your eyes to create photographs and less on the camera. Light will make or break you.
— Juan Galindo

I couldn't agree more with this statement. We were out shooting with our iPhones. While some are scheming to get the next and newest camera, we were out actually photographing. Light is your best friend. One need not worry about equipment all the time. 

However, our tour did not end with Lower Wacker. In fact, there is still more for us to explore and I have no doubt we will complete our excursion soon.

We ended up in a strange island of Chicago. Near the Chicago River and some rather upscale shopping, living, and heavily trafficked areas, lays Goose Island. Home of Chicago famous beer, Goose Island, it is an industrial area where, like Lower Wacker, few would ever venture. But, again, where there is unattractive, photographers find attractive.

At this point, however, it was getting dark. We were shooting with only our iPhones and they do some impressive work but perhaps the ever dropping temperature also chased us. We ended out journey. 

Photography does not really have an end to its journey but perhaps just a rest. With February in A Year in Photographs coming to an end and March beginning, a new theme and more exploration is here already.

At the moment I don’t have a favorite subject although I do end up shooting a lot of architecture. Structures are like frozen performances and I’m drawn to them because of that. There seems to be an uncanny synergy between photography and music which often brings me to associate images with songs and musical arrangements. I also take photos of people - mostly strangers. There’s a lot to be learned about individuals just by observing their body language. People watching is amusing, it always has been.
— Juan Galindo

This is just a small sample of what Juan and I shot that day. I invite you to follow him on his Instagram @juanstagramm and enjoy more of his photography.

Guest Photographer is part of my project A Year in Photographs. I will undoubtedly invite many friends and colleagues but I hope to meet new photographers. If you are in Chicago or find yourself nearby me while I travel, I would love to go out photographing. Don't hesitate to reach out.


Florida Excursion 2017 by Adrian Galli

Fisherman at Sunset

Fisherman at Sunset

Too infrequently do I get to travel. If I could only spend a week every month at home, that would suffice, I think. But when I do, I make sure to take advantage of the atmosphere and the views locally.


Mexico Beach is a small town in Florida. There are about 1000 people in the city along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It is quiet, pleasant, and many times, one can spend the entire day on the beach and only see a few people. It is as close to a deserted coastline as one can get with out being detached from civilization.

February is a cool and sometime warm month. But the change is weather from day to day can make for amazing lighting with the sun making for amazing light at nearly all times, fog from cool fronts moving in, and impressive winds coming off the gulf.

With A Year in Photography into its second month, Mexico Beach did not disappoint on the photography opportunities. As one might expect, there is an abundance of wild life, beautiful colors not commonly found on building in the north, and great lighting almost any time of day.

Arbor, Mexico Beach, 2/17/2017

Arbor, Mexico Beach, 2/17/2017

While many photos on the beach call for color to bring the blues, greens, and warms tones out from the landscape, black and white is hard not to shoot. The classic of all photography, black and white lends itself well to Mexico Beach's lovely lighting and climate.

While I took my trip for mainly personal reasons for some rest and relaxation, a small event I've always wanted to attend took place: The Mexico Beach Annual Gumbo Cookoff.

Gumbo being probably my favorite soup, it is a Creole (sometimes Cajun) dish made with okra, a roux, tomatoes, seafood, and, as I always add, some andouille sausage. It is delicious and the gumbo at this festival was from across the spectrum. If one ever has a chance to make it to Mexico Beach, it is a fine time to visit in February and enjoy the local cuisine.

If you're just there for a vacation spot, the beaches are beautiful, the town super laid-back, and relaxing for those who seek tranquility.

While I could write plenty about a visit, my photographs and videos will tell a clearer story. Please enjoy and should you find yourself in Mexico Beach, I visit at least once a year; perhaps we can bump into each other and enjoy the weather and photography.

With Distinction – VSCO by Adrian Galli


Anyone who knows me understands I like some recognition here and there. A lot of recognition is great while I don't really want the attention. I also know, in the world of social networking and memes, the spotlight can be hot and brief so I'll appreciate the value of the attention.

VSCO, my favorite photography community and app, has recorgnized me for the third time and twice in a week. I am honored and gracious that they are so interested in my work.  

Thank you VSCO!  


Flight by Adrian Galli

One can walk the same beach a thousand times and, as it changes continuously, find something new and beautiful. 

I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.

– John F. Kennedy