This is a guest post by Mark Fink. 360° panoramas in this article were created by the author.
The images in this article are interactive 360° panoramas (VR – virtual reality images). Click to open.
Without sounding too wistful, it really was a warm summer day back on June 17th of 2000. I had traveled into New York City to spend the day shooting virtual reality (VR) images and was particularly pleased since not only was it sunny, but it was also quite clear. VR images are unique in that they allow you to interact with an image by clicking and dragging on it. This way, you get to explore the scene as if you were standing there.
“Rather than dwell on the sadness and the loss that we all experienced 15 months later, I choose to remember a bright, sunny day, a gentle breeze, and a moment to stand on the top of a giant and gaze far into the distance.”
I had never been to the World Trade Center before and decided this would be a perfect day to go up to the top and see the view. On the way up in the elevator, I saw a sign stating no tripods allowed. Uh oh… When shooting VR images, a tripod makes a world of difference, holding the camera and lens in just the right spot so that the images line up to each other.
Now, normally, I’m a very law abiding guy, but this time I figured forgiveness might be easier to get than permission. I understood why they didn’t want tripods; they didn’t want people tripping on them. So, I had to make sure I didn’t let that happen.
“Standing at the base of the twin towers reinforced my feeling of being an ant.”
As I stepped out onto the roof of the south tower, I was amazed at the view, especially looking over to the north tower that rose up to the same level like some twin sibling dwarfing all the other kids on the playground. I felt like an ant standing on the top of the head of a giant.
With the clear skies and gentle breeze, I could see for miles; Brooklyn off to the right, New Jersey to the left, and mid-town straight ahead. It was truly spectacular.
Fortunately, it wasn’t crowded, and I was able to move around without bumping into people. Realizing that at any moment, I could get stopped for wandering around with a tripod, it was time to starting taking pictures as quickly and discreetly as possible. I set the exposure on the camera, placed the tripod, took the pictures, picked up the tripod and moved on to the next spot. In all, I took three sets of images from three spots from the top, then made a quick and graceful exit back inside and down the elevator. Once I was back on ground level, I went to the courtyard area and took two more sets of images, one by a sculpture and another close to the pool that held the globe sculpture. Standing at the base of the twin towers reinforced my feeling of being an ant.
Looking back, I wish I had spent more time enjoying the experience of actually being there, but at least I do have these images that let me re-live that experience. Rather than dwell on the sadness and the loss that we all experienced 15 months later, I choose to remember a bright, sunny day, a gentle breeze, and a moment to stand on the top of a giant and gaze far into the distance.