Sun Stops for the Cubs

When the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series, even the sun paused in its trek across the sky to take note.

Solargraph secured at Four Winds Field on June 21.

Around the June solstice, four solargraphs overlooking Four Winds Field in South Bend, IN, started long-duration exposures of the sun. The site is home to the South Bend Cubs, the Chicago Cub's Class A minor league team. The Anniversary Solargraphs--pinhole cameras made from aluminum cans, photographic paper, and duct tape--were originally mounted above the center field ivy facing south to celebrate Indiana's bicentennial year.

Throughout the baseball season, sunlight "burned" into the photographic paper an image of sweeping solar arcs, descending daily from a peak near the summer solstice and getting lower and shorter with each passing day. Meanwhile the reflected light off the baseball environs slowly built up a fainter image of the foreground scene.

Alex Withorn removes solargraph from Four Winds Field in South Bend, IN

During the November 4 fan celebration at Four Winds Field, concurrent with the victory party in Chicago, account executive Alex Withorn and I retrieved one of the four solargraph cans.

In a dark room, I extricated the photographic paper from inside the can and scanned the resulting image with much anticipation. The resulting image clearly shows the arcing path traversed by the sun over four months.

Original solargraph at Four Winds Field in South Bend, IN; June 21-Nov. 5

With the colors inverted to yield a bluish hue and the image flipped horizontally for the correct orientation, one can discern several features of Four Winds Field. Compare the blue solargraph image to the color photograph, below, of the same area taken June 21.

A solargraph captures the arcing path of the sun through the 2016 World Series, as seen from the ballpark of the South Bend Cubs.

The dark green stadium and grass reflect little light, so they appear dark in the solargraph. The name Four Winds Field on the distant rooftop emerges. Prominent behind the stadium on the left is Studebaker Building #84, on which another pair of solargraphs are still mounted. Tall light poles poke into the sky. The giant scoreboard with its curving top is also obvious on the far left of the solargraph.

And, of course, there's the sun, descending its way from the high arc of June solstice toward the low arc of the December solstice. The brightest of days in the image, toward the bottom of the solar swaths, correspond to the brightest days of the Chicago Cubs season--playoffs that extended into a successful run at the World Series Championship.

The World Series win by the Chicago Cubs merits a unique commemorative image. This solargraph overlooking Four Winds Field shows the sun coinciding with the Cubs victory. If only briefly, time--and the sun--stood still.

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