The two-hour fountain and fireworks show started at sunset and lasted well into dark. Symphony music streamed out from speakers hidden in hedges while water jets fired in sequence. The special event is held only a few times a year, and being in Versailles the weekend before Bastille Day it was performed twice.
To me it felt gimmicky. The water patterns flat and repetitive and the music too loud. The setting in the gardens was incredibly gorgeous, and was fun to photograph. Most disappointing was how far back spectators must retreat before the fireworks. I’m spoiled – in Fairbanks we can sit as close as we want to most fireworks shows.
The start of the show coincided with sunset.
A crescent moon begins to rise over the fountain.
Long exposure of the fountains.
People, fireworks and fountains during the grand finale.
A satellite-receiving dish is seen as fireworks celebrate the end of 2012 and the start of 2013 on the ski trails at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Known also as a tracking aperture, the 11-meter dish is part of the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) of the Geophysical Institute’s Satellite Tracking Ground Station (STGS). The 11-meter X- and S-Band system, along with a smaller 10-meter dish, are just one appendage of a world-wide Near Earth Network, run by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The high latitude of ASF’s ground station allows for 11 connections per day with polar-orbiting spacecraft, ASF then downlinks, processes and distributes data.
I tried to correct the color of the tracking aperture, which had a yellow caste due to artificial lighting, while maintaining true hues of the fireworks. To accomplish this I set my white balance on the dish, lightened the shadows and slightly saturated the image. What made the biggest difference was a slight curve, increasing the highlights and decreasing the shadows, of the red and green spectrums. The end result, I feel is very close to what would have been seen.
My ISO was 125 and tripod shooting was essential, and exposure times were 10 to 15 seconds.