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Nikon D2X

Capture Date/Time: March 13, 2006 12:55
Focal Length: 12 mm
Aperture/Shutter Speed: F/8 - 1/320 sec
ISO: 320
Flash: None

Well, now that it is OFFICIALLY St. Patrick's Day here in Chicago, I thought I'd post this HD shot of the Chicago River dyed to its full, green glory. For those of you who may not know, Chicago dyes the river a bright green to celebrate this holiday every year. They always dye it the weekend BEFORE St. Patrick's Day, and it always disappointed me that it wasn't green on the actual day. The color lasts only a day, but I managed to grab this shot before it faded away. Yes, the river is green even when it isn't dyed, but it isn't THIS green all the time. And yes, it was really this color!


03.17.06, 06:27 AM, Chantal:

great photo, thanks for the explanation, I thought you edited it.

03.17.06, 08:01 AM, Bob:

I never heard of that... what a silly thing to do. (Bah humbug! he says!) It does make for a fun picture though. I would think there are environmental effects of putting so much dye in the river.

03.17.06, 08:09 AM, McAWilliams:

It always amazes me how other countries can celebrate our day better then ourselves in Ireland. Happy St. Patricks day to one and all to be sure to be sure.

03.17.06, 08:23 AM, keith:

Do the fish go green? Assuming its clean enough for fish normally. Surely it should be done on the day. It is a well supported day here in Ottawa, no dye but a lot of dressing up and drinking Guinness starts much earlier than usual. My father had me drinking Guinness from the age of 4 (tiny amounts with saturday lunch) and its still one of my favourite tipples.

Great photo and you know that people wil assume it is a photoshop product. By the way have you tried or know anyone who has tried DXO optics pro which aims to correct specifc optical effects such as distortion, vignetting etc. A trial is available at

I will trial it soon as the results look astonishing.

03.17.06, 09:15 AM, micki:

I've heard of this, but never seen it. Thanks for sharing!

03.17.06, 10:55 AM, Mark Ellis:

April fool! must be!

03.17.06, 12:07 PM, Jeremi:

Very cool. I just saw a similar post on another blog and he said they actually throw red algae in the water than when it reacts with the water it turns green. I don't understand the technicalities of it but he said it is environmentally safe!

03.17.06, 12:14 PM, Gary:

glad you captured it, I didn't get a chance to go down there

03.17.06, 04:02 PM, Jide Alakija:

HDR? Enjoy your St. Pat's day.

03.17.06, 04:43 PM, Mike:

Yep. Most Chicagoans know that the river actually is this color when they dye it. In that regard, the picture was modified only slightly with PS. Pretty wild. I don't know how it affects the fish, but I must say I'm not sure that this river would support any life form higher than a clam.

03.17.06, 06:35 PM, Dennis Rogers:

Green or no green, this is a stunningly beautiful shot.

03.17.06, 11:32 PM, Claudette San Pedro:

Wow, that's interesting to know...I had no idea that they did this! I wonder how much dye they used (^o^)

03.18.06, 12:24 AM, pooh:

a class shot, fantastic colors and composition.

03.18.06, 02:15 AM, eterisk:

I am glad that you told the story behind this. It looks a bit surreal. Great composition.

03.18.06, 06:32 AM, Lynn R:

I've heard of these things of course, but have never seen it. Very cool, thanks for posting this one Mike.

03.18.06, 07:32 AM, Ana:

I"ve yet to be down there when they do this. Archie (from whateverland) got some great shots of the dye being added, and filling up the river. I think this is so odd looking. Goofy Irish. ;)

03.19.06, 12:37 PM, Still:

Great surrealistic shot...;-)

03.19.06, 06:14 PM, Matthew Greco:

can't be good for the fish. Oh well, good for us photographers!

03.19.06, 09:37 PM, cool daddio:

When I saw it on the AP photo wire my first thought was I hope Mike shares his view with us. Thanks!

03.20.06, 12:37 AM, Tai:

Did you take this shot at night? It looks starkly empty. There is a very uneasy tone to this image, and I enjoy it a lot!

03.20.06, 02:01 AM, Sidney:

My guess, it is a hoax!
But a very impressive picture nevertheless! I really wonder how you achieve such stunning pictures!

03.20.06, 02:05 AM, Dan:

Cool, not many cities make such an effort, What I weird shot though, completely unreal, even though I know its real. Excellent.

03.20.06, 09:28 PM, Dave:

Fantastic. That is so cool. I suppose the dye is environmentally friendly.

03.21.06, 09:49 PM, Gaja:

Mike, thanks for your comments on my blog. This shot is great. I had a series of weird reactions to it; first, "wow that's cool!", then "nah, he just colorized it", and finally, "wait, they dye the river in chicago, don't they!" I'm not sure why it matters to me whether the shot is "real" or not, but I guess it does. I especially like how the bright color of the river contrasts with the dreariness and colorlessness of the weather that day.

03.25.06, 05:58 AM, *mamo:

stunning. and a really good perspective.

03.29.06, 07:18 AM, Mark:

Interesting to dye a river, history might look back at this in horror, but I'd sure like to see it someday. Very nice processing with the HDR.

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