Buckingham Fountain

Amazingly, its October 1, and shirtsleeves are still sufficient in Chicago.  The temperature will be in the eighties tomorrow.

Today, I headed to Buckingham Fountain for some long exposure photography.  At first, I thought I was in trouble.  Grant Park is completely fenced off, with white tents everywhere.  Saturday is the Chicago Marathon, so the organizers are getting everything nice and tidy for the corporate sponsors.  No ticket, then nowhere near the start or finish lines.  

Moreover, the beautiful blue sky of the last five days now was clouding over.  White tents and white skies.  That's a problem.  Alas, everything worked out.

I started out facing west, but the sun created problematic backlighting, although as one of the photographs below shows, it may not have been too problematic.  I then shifted positions, looking north.  When I started the sequence of photographs, the sky was mostly blue, but an hour later, it pretty much was white.  

The headline photograph is either a two or four-minute exposure at F32 and ISO 100.  I was using the iPad wireless app to trigger the shutter, and the camera appears to have recorded the shutter speed shown on the dial rather than the one I inputed into the application.  My camera was fitted with a 10-stop neutral density filter, which explains the silky water and fuzzy clouds.

As for Buckingham Fountain, it officially opened to the public on May 26, 1927.  The fountain's $1,000,000 cost was donated by Kate Sturges Buckingham, and it was named in honor of her late  brother, Clarence.  The family made its fortune in grain elevators, real estate and steel.  Clarence was a major benefactor of the Art Institute of Chicago.  At the August 26, 1927 dedication, no other than John Philip Sousa conducted his band's rendition of Pomp and Circumstance.

Some mistakenly believe the foundation is modeled after the Buckingham Fountain in London.  Ah, there may be a Buckingham Palace in London, but there is no Buckingham Fountain, at least that I am aware of.  In fact, it is inspired by the Latona Fountain found at  the Palace of Versailles, just outside of Paris.  The fountain, made of granite and Georgia pink marble, is two-times the size of its French counterpart.  The basin is surrounded by four bronze sculptural elements.  

The fountain sprays up to 15,000 of gallons of water per minute.  It holds 1.5 million gallons of water.  The spray reaches a height of 150 feet, although today it was not operating at full force.

It wasn't until 1980 that the fountain's flow, spray, and lighting were completely controlled by computer.  Prior to that, two engineers, each working 12-hour shifts, regulated the fountain's flow and lighting.

The fountain operates from early May until mid-October.  At night, there is a dramatic light show.  

Looking West

Looking North

Butterfield Blues Reunion

Butterfield Blues Reunion

Air and Water Show

Air and Water Show