Photo and story by Jason Dozier
I had the opportunity to stop in downtown Knoxville on two different evenings way back in 2014 for sunset and dusk photos. I arrived at the World’s Fair Park area after 10pm on a Saturday, and immediately began shooting with the towering Sunsphere as my focal point. I’ve passed through Knoxville at least a couple dozen times in my life, but never stopped to look at the city.
As with most of my photo stops, I didn’t have more than an hour or so each night to shoot, but I did have the location planned out well in advance. The Sunsphere was constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair and during that time, it served as the symbol to the Fair.
The Sunsphere closed to the public with the Fair’s end and remained vacant or underutilized for most of its post-fair life. The Sunsphere and the Tennessee Amphitheater are the only structures that remain from the 1982 World’s Fair.
I worked my way up Clinch Avenue to an elevated parking garage where I set up my tripod on the top floor for additional shots of the city’s limited skyline. The temperatures were slowly dipping into the 30’s, so after about 30 minutes or so I I packed up and headed back to my hotel.
After continuing my trip to Johnson City, TN the next afternoon, I arrived back in Knoxville before sunset, and re-visited the same location as the night before. There was a noticeable difference with the addition of the natural light. The multiple colors from the tower, along with the natural slope of Fair Park Drive gave me an excellent setting for long-exposure car light trails, along with the red and orange light just before dark. Like most of the cities I visit, I’m looking forward to yet another opportunity to venture more into the downtown area.