Unisphere Fountains

Unisphere Fountains

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Seeing the Unisphere for the first time was love at first sight. It was bitterly cold and had recently snowed, but after getting over the initial honeymoon phase, I dreamed of seeing it with its fountains turned on. The first time I caught a glimpse of the fountains was indeed magic, but it was woefully brief—they turned them off because it was windy and people complained of the over spray. The second time I saw them, I really got to experience them in all of their World's Fair glory and it was just as impressive as I had imagined. Seeing the Unisphere lit up like a shiny Christmas ornament at night was next on my list, and after I crossed off that iteration there was only one left—the Unisphere, with fountains, at night.

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The fountains—part of the original, 1964 design to create the illusion that the globe is floating—are not on a regular schedule. They have been on a few times when I've visited Flushing Meadows in the summer, but I've seen them off more times than on. Getting to Flushing Meadows is a bit of time commitment, but I knew that US Open time was a (mostly) sure bet. I went two days before the finals and lucked out with perfect weather and a nearly-deserted park. 

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I have almost no experience with night photography or long exposures (except these photos), so this was a great opportunity to play with my camera settings and really try to figure it out. There was a lot of trial and error, but somewhere in the process I accidentally discovered how to take "ghost" photographs. Someone wandered into my frame (my lifelong struggle), lingered for a minute and then walked out. I did a test with myself, and soon I was running in and out of the frame like a lunatic trying to get just the right shot. I couldn't resist taking my tripod around the park, trying to capture the New York State Pavilion, Queens theater and of course the Mister Softee Truck amidst the twinkling lights.

I was having so much fun that I completely lost track of time, and stayed long enough that the tennis match let out. I had to ride the 7 train back to Manhattan with the contents of an entire tennis stadium, but I was full of Mister Softee and high on that Unisphere magic, so I couldn't be too grumpy. 

High Line

High Line

Project 365: Days 267-273

Project 365: Days 267-273