May 21, 2016. I’m traveling up the Northway, for my annual stop at the Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom amusement park. Riding shotgun with me is my four-lens Nimslo 3D camera – years ago, you could take pictures with this camera and ship the film off for digital printing on lenticular cards. You can still shoot film with this camera, but now the trick is to digitally scan the negatives, and turn the images into “wiggle-graphics” – animated GIF’s that use a “trick of the eye” to show depth.
In other words, this will be an “OCD” trip – One Camera Day. All shots on this blog will have been taken with my Nimslo camera. For film, I’ve packed four cartridges of Kodak 400 film in the pockets of my blue jeans. Each cartridge should get me 10-12 exposures for this trip. Once these cartridges are used up – then my day at the Great Escape is complete.
It’s still early in the Great Escape’s season – the waterpark isn’t open, and neither are any of the water-based rides like the Desperado Plunge or the Raging River. The Boomerang Coast to Coaster has been rebranded as the Flashback, and there’s a circular looping ride called the Greezed Lightnin’ that is the park’s newest addition.
You know me, though. As far as I’m concerned, there are only a few locations for me at the park. I have to rub the nose of the bronze statue of Porcellino the pig. I have to have a meal at Dan McGrew’s Saloon in Ghost Town. And above all… front row seat on the Comet roller coaster.
After parking my car in the amusement park lot, I walked toward the Route 9 overhead bridge that allows pedestrians to access the park’s main gate. On the way toward the bridge, there were several geese and goslings nesting in an adjacent meadow, the birds all munching on grass, totally oblivious to the passing park patrons. In fact, they were completely oblivious to the guy that was taking their pictures.
Oh look, there’s Porcellino the Pig. It is customary to donate your change in the statue’s base, and then rub the pig’s shiny nose – rubbing its nose will bring you good fortune, and the change you donate goes to the American Cancer Society. So there’s good all around.
Remember Cinderella’s pumpkin coach ride? Well, instead of Cinderella riding with some kids in an enclosed track in the park, Cinderella (or at least a park worker portraying Cinderella) reads children’s stories at the “Old Woman who Lives in a Shoe” building. She also poses with kids in front of the pumpkin coach for family pictures.
I noted that there were no horses attached to the Pumpkin Coach.
“Oh those darn mice,” she said to me, staying completely in character, “they’re just having too much fun around the park and have lost all track of time.”
Ha. Well, I still got Cinderella to pose in front of the Pumpkin Coach anyway.
The Comet. Greatest roller coaster ever built. Actually, the Great Escape has two of the best coasters on the property – the Comet, and the second ride on the Comet. And as much as I would have loved to take pictures in the front seat on the Comet … the sign that said “no cameras allowed on the ride” kinda cooled me to the idea.
I did get some shots of people RIDING the Comet, though…
For my final ride of the day, I climbed aboard the flying gondola “Sky Ride,” which is essentially a two-person cable car that spans from one side of old Storytown to the other. And in the air, I got this shot of the iconic yellow Storytown “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” building. And yes, it looks really sweet with that new coat of canary yellow paint.
So yeah, the Great Escape does look nice in three dimensions. It would look nicer if I cleaned the film before I scanned it, get rid of some of the dust and specks… but still, this is another successful “work in concept” and I understand that there is a specific distance – taking the photo approximately three to six feet away – where the dimensional effect works well.
Example – my shot of the Storytown Train. In order to get this at the right angle for a 3-D photo, I needed to tuck myself into a small corner along the railway… and then wait until the train came into frame. The leading lines of the train tracks worked perfectly in alignment…
And I got this for my efforts. I used the top of the conductor’s bell as my “pivot point” and this turned out in the end.
Plus, it was a fun day at the Great Escape. Which … in the end … is the only thing that really matters.
And I’ll take that any day.