The In-Between Angel and Fleeting Iridescence

Angel of the Waters, Bethesda Fountain
An angel between the sun and the lens
Angels should not be backlighted, spotlighted, highlighted, or otherwise intentionally lighted; presumably, they are self-reliant in that respect. And if heavenly wing-bearers were to play with soap bubbles, the colorful capsules would not burst on contact with clouds.

But this is not heaven, real or imaginary, and these are not dimensionless bodies. Besides, there is not a speck of cloud here today. It is the heart of Manhattan, Central Park, where both angels and soap bubbles are crafted by human hands. Both are visible to human eyes and tangible to human minds without otherworldly intervention.

soap bubbles, colorful membranes Central Park
Iridescent membranes, crafted and popped by human hand.

Capture the light

The Angel of the Waters, perched atop the Bethesda Fountain, sends cascades of droplets over the cherubs and into the pool of water lilies below. This earthly angel has witnessed more seasons change, more leaves scatter, more clouds gather, more promises-to-be-broken exchanged aboard the boats gliding on the Lake behind it than all the people before it today.

As yet another pigeon comes to join the feathered configuration atop the bronze wings, I wander, though not aimlessly, among office workers on a lunch break, brides being photographed, strollers, an impromptu audience gathering for the grand finale of a street artist, tourists, leaves tossed by the breeze, and lots of festive soap bubbles churned out by a rather solemn man.

I'm in search of a spot that will allow me to frame a few shots in the viewfinder without interference from the sun, the persistent tree branches, or the action unfolding around me.

A hopeless task, it seems, as the unsympathetic midday sun is ruthless and the constant movement of people and objects is beyond my control. And then it dawns on me that I can bend the rules to my advantage.

I'll just move behind the fountain, face the sun, put the bronze angel between us, let the harsh light form its own soap bubbles in the form of otherwise dreaded hot spots, pump up the shadows and blow out the highlights.

Have some fun!
Isn't that what Central Park is all about?

Angel of the Waters, in midday sun
Bronze wings reach out to meet the sun.
Angel of theWaters, Central Park fountain
The in-between angel and lens flare iridescence creating digital soap bubbles.
New York fountains
Angelic silhouette the in midday sun.

It's a wrap!

With mission accomplished, I wait for my full vision to return; games of this kind with stark sunlight have perils.

From the lower passage of the Terrace, a foreign voice yells out instructions. A Japanese photographer is arguing with his crew about positioning the young bride for the next shot. He seems to favor some unorthodox setup and I'd give anything to see the results of his mindset.

Then, some voices, higher in pitch and happier in note, compete for attention. Two children are chasing soap bubbles and feign shock as the colorful capsules burst and disappear on contact with the tiny fingers. Even the bubble maker cannot hold back a wide grin from reshaping his serious, bored countenance. I smile too, and not just to myself.

Bursting photographic impasses and soap bubbles are sometimes one and the same!

angelic silhouette