It’s always fun to photograph a project for the children, bringing you back to your younger days. Such was the case with a project we photographed in the beginning of the year at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. My client, JKRP, was part of the design team to renovate the existing iMax theatre, which is the largest indoor theatre in the Western Hemisphere, along with adding an interactive digital science display outside of the theatre, named the Weston Lobby.
Of course the whole purpose of this was to give something to keep the kids busy while waiting for the next show to start, and I thought it was a rather good solution. As a kid, I was a science nerd that would have certainly loved to fool around with this, especially since they mixed real science with science fiction.
The Weston Lobby consist of a hanging white globe with 6 projectors wrapping around it that can project any number of things on the globe. The most used displays are various scenes of the Earth, including the weather in real time, the Moon, Mars, Venus, a giant eye ball that blinks and can follow people, (my favorite) the Death Star with the Millennial Falcon, and plenty of others. The kids really loved this, so much so I had plenty of finger and mouth smudges to clean up on the glass in PhotoShop.
In addition to this, the inside of theatre was quite extraordinary too just due to the scale, but also because it uses 8 high-def projectors to fill the screen. Shooting this large of an interior can be somewhat difficult in trying to find the spot to place the camera to illustrate the scale. We decided to shoot from the left side standing about half way up the stairs. This gave a nice view of the stairs and the massive screen.
I’m not going to lie, I was kind of sweeting it here with this shot. We only had a limited amount of time and each exposure was two minutes long due to how dark the theatre was. So I did not bother flagging the lens for flares. This did not really pose a problem, which I had known, for the overall lit image and the initial Saturn scene. But when we got to the big bang scene, one of the projectors was casting light right into the lenses. I kind of knew this would produce a flare, but to my surprise it was one of those real dramatic flares, not the usual ugly ones. The photo Gods blessed US! Both my client and I thought this was the best version and kept it as is.
Last, I kind of wish I could have captured children in all of the images, like with the entry shot. However, the exposures for the theatre and the Weston Lobby were just way too long, two minutes and 45 seconds respectively. I probably would have had to gone up to 6400 ISO to get something useable, but I doubt the quality would have been there to use anyway.