UPTOWN — Brett Jelinek has no plans to be an astronaut, but he felt like he was in outer space while shooting photographs at Montrose Beach in the city many dubbed "Chiberia" this week.
"It was otherworldly, like being on a different planet," said Jelinek, of Logan Square, who captured some incredible photos with friend Isaac Silver.
"It was so cold," said Jelinek, 31, a professional photographer for Olaf Images. "At the same time, you have this mist off the lake, and the wind is blowing sand and ice everywhere, and you have those crazy ice formations.
"It's like nothing I've ever seen before."
Silver, 30, of Albany Park, moved to Chicago from Atlanta four years ago and said moving to a colder climate was "a challenge at first." But Silver, who considers photography a "hobby," said nothing could have prepared him for this week's temperatures.
"The most amazingly bad thing was how cold my hands got," Silver said. "Occasionally I'd have to take them out of my gloves to adjust my camera, jacket or whatever. My hands and feet tend to get cold anyway, and the wind chill was in full effect by the lake. They were numb and tingly by the end, and it was pretty painful to have them exposed to the air."
By the end of their photo quest Monday, the men's beards had turned icy.
"If I kept my mouth closed for more than a minute or so, the ice in my mustache and beard would fuse and I'd have to break them apart," Silver said.
Jelinek also was struck by the lack of people near the lake while he and Silver were out.
"We saw maybe six or seven people total," Jelinek said.