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Thank you all for your kind comments! FM sure seems to have the same positive, supportive culture that I remember.
Indeed, jhg, I felt it was crucial to have rock-solid stationary elements to contrast the sea of motion of the skaters. The decorated trees along Michigan Avenue in the background help to set the seasonal feeling. The twilight blue/lavender tint on the buildings help to signal the time of day and a clear sky, and also a certain sense of that winter chill that advances so quickly with winter sunset.
I snapped approximately 17 images over 45 mins. to get one, this one, which represented the best compromise of elements. (I really wanted to use a single image, rather than a composite.) Having a stationary person/persons in the foreground, preferably appearing in good spirits, was a key element for the image. But getting a mix of figures which included a good selection of action-identifiable forms was most important. That is, ice skating needed to be the unambiguous activity occurring in that swirl. (Tech note: As you might guess or know, slowing the shutter speed has the effect of making the skaters disappear completely from the white ice.)
My final solution strategy was ultimately to wait until the Zamboni finished resurfacing the ice. I found that it was in the following few minutes as skaters began re-entering the rink, and before it became crowded, that the best separation of figures could be captured.
So that's my story behind this little photo. Thanks, again, for your comments.