Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Playing with water at the airport
DTW - Detroit Metro Airport, McNamara Terminal, January 2007
[Click all images to embiggen]
On my way to Boston last week, I managed to clear security a bit early, and consequently had a few extra minutes before I needed to head to my gate. One of the joys of moving through this airport is despite its gargantuan size, the combination of high-speed tram and moving sidewalks means even the furthest gate in the furthest terminal is no longer an hour-long hike. Which means more time for goofing around with a camera.
The McNamara terminal stretches out for what seems like a mile in either direction. Smack in the middle sits a computer-controlled fountain whose dancing streams of water give travellers a bit of a break in the middle of an otherwise-alien place. Out came the camera. Unlike most of my in-transit photography, I wasn't alone this time. Folks from everywhere speaking every language imaginable milled around the base of the fountain, chatting animatedly about the best way to record the fascinating piece of public scuplture.
The light was a challenge, but shooting into the gigantic window with the Northwest Airlines 747-400 parked just outside gave the scene a bit of an ethereal tone. I lost count of how many pictures I took in the 12 minutes that I was there, but I was - and remain - thankful for large memory cards and long-duration batteries. I had taken pictures of this fountain the last time I came through the airport, but a point-and-shoot doesn't have the speed or flexibility to do justice to fast-moving water that changes consistency and composition every fraction of a second. It was like painting a portrait with a Benjamin Moore paint roller, and I was disappointed with the results. This time, I was glad that I had returned with a somewhat better tool for the job.
I wanted to stay there for just a few more minutes. I had lots of battery, lots of room on the memory card and a head swimming with ideas for capturing this in other ways. But the clock was ticking, and the last thing I wanted was a last-minute mad dash through the terminal a la O...well, we won't mention him. So I carefully tucked my camera back into its bag, closed everything up and started the long trek to a gate that likely resided in another zip code. My journey was nowhere near over, but I had already succeded in capturing a small piece of it for everyone back home.
I blew off the moving sidewalk and decided to walk to my gate. Tomorrow, I'd be in this same place, heading home. I wondered what other scenes were awaiting capture as I criss-crossed the countryside.
Your turn: What's your immediate reaction when you see the flying water? Do these pictures work for you? How?