Seeing Fermilab Through Fresh Eyes (And Lenses)

The winners of our recent Photowalk have been announced, and the winning images offer a new perspective on the wonders here at Fermilab.

When Stan Kirschner of Mundelein walked into our Grid Computing Center, he did something we here at Fermilab rarely do: he looked up. 

That’s how he noticed the rack holding a mass of green wires, with one blue wire snaking through it. Lab employees at the computing center probably walk under these wires every day without even noticing them, but they immediately caught Kirschner’s eye.

Kirschner, who has been a photography enthusiast since he was 13 years old, knew he had a good picture on his hands. And he was right — his photo of the green and blue wires was chosen as the best of the lot in Fermilab’s recent Photowalk competition, and will be one of 10 images representing the United States in an international competition starting up in January.

What’s a Photowalk? Put simply, a lot of fun. A couple of months ago, we invited 50 amateur and pro photographers into areas of Fermilab that are usually not part of the public tours. (It was easy to avoid the top-secret, classified and military research areas, since there aren’t any.) We let them take as many pictures as they liked, and then asked them to send us their five best. 

The photos were taken in five locations: the Superconducting Test Accelerator, the Muon Ring, the Technical Division, one of the lab’s two collider detectors, and the aforementioned Grid Computing Center. If that all means nothing to you, just know that these are some pretty cool-looking places, full of gadgets and neat technical stuff. Perfect fodder for interesting photos.

And we got a lot of interesting photos. Our panel of judges had a tough time choosing from the 234 images we received. They picked their top 25, and the top five of those will go on to compete on the world stage. The international competition is between 10 labs from around the globe, and is sponsored by the InterActions Collaboration.

The second and third place photos were both taken by Brian Schultz of Naperville. The fourth place picture was snapped by Matthew Swenson of Wood Dale, and the fifth place one by John Williams of Mundelein.

The best part about the Photowalk, for me, was getting to see Fermilab through the eyes of these talented photographers. I’ve only been here a few months, but I’m already getting used to some of the wonders of this place. It was a rush getting to watch these folks take it all in for the first time, and pick out the most interesting things to shoot.

I know you’re probably just waking up from the turkey coma today, so I’ll stop here and let you check out the pretty pictures. Above you’ll find the top five images as chosen by our judges. You can see the top 25 here, and all of them will be featured on a kiosk in the atrium of Wilson Hall, starting sometime in January.

And I’ll let you know when we host one of these again, which we definitely will.

Andre Salles is the media and community relations specialist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. You can reach him at 630-840-6733, or at asalles@fnal.gov

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Rob Reed November 28, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Fantastic photos - I was privileged to take a similar tour with the TEDx group recently, and saw many of the same things - however, my photos don't compare to these beautiful shots. Thanks for sharing...Fermi is a treasure to be sure. I hope more of our community to get these tours so we can all appreciate what our tax dollars fund and what value the science brings our lives.


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