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Spectacular Chicago Rainbow Captured from Northwest Tower in Wicker Park

By Alisa Hauser | June 18, 2013 2:53pm
 Chicagoans took to social media to show off the double rainbows they spotted around town Monday evening.
Double Rainbow
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WICKER PARK — A lucky coincidence after two months of planning put a photographer in the right place and time Monday evening.

The place was the 10th floor of the iconic Northwest Tower office building at 1608 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, and the time was just as a double rainbow appeared on the horizon around 7 p.m. after a summer rainfall.

"Me and my boyfriend were like, 'The gods are on our side!'" Andrew Miller said.

Rainbows are caused when sunlight passes through rain drops — the drops act like tiny prisms that bend the sunlight's colors. The most spectacular rainbows occur when the sun is low in the sky, experts say.

The rainbow that could be seen over Lake Michigan caused somewhat of a stir on social media, with photos being posted and swapped.

Few of the photos were as spectacular as Miller's complete, double rainbow, though.

By day, Miller, 32, works as a disability advocate for Evanston Hospital. By night and most weekends, photography is his passion, and he posts images to Eye on Chicago, where he documents streets, architecture and people.

Miller said he'd spent the past two months shooting unique scenes around the neighborhood for a project he's planning to pitch to members of a condo association. The camera equipment he had rented, including a Nikon SLR, needed to be returned Wednesday, he said.

"It was total luck. We wanted a scene of North and Milwaukee from behind and then this rainbow appears, which was really crazy,' Miller said of the image.

He shared the shot on his Twitter feed, @ACMillerPhoto, and tweeted to @WickParkBuck, a popular social media feed that shared Miller's image on Facebook, where it's accumulated 338 "likes" and counting.

Miller and his boyfriend, Andy Fowler, had gotten permission to use the landmark building from the tower's property manager, Susan Dinko. They explained to Dinko that they wanted to include a shot from the top of the tower in a photo installation for a six-unit condo building where they live just north of Ashland Avenue and Blackhawk Street.

"My one goal as I grow older is to keep the idea of print photography alive in a digital age to where, when I'm 65 years old, I'm printing as much as using digital media," Miller said.

In addition to the soon-to-be-pitched project proposal featuring the "rainbow" over Wicker Park, Miller said he planned to shoot on-location portraits this summer, particularly in Wicker Park.

He eventually would like to launch a newsletter to promote his photography and other Chicago photographers.