After an unusually hectic day, spending some quiet time unwinding seemed like a good idea. Ordinarily I’d pick a museum, but today is Monday and all our local museums are closed on Mondays. So the obvious thing to do is to continue my park project. I’m attempting to visit every single public park in town, and find some interesting photo to take. It’s been an on and off project for some time now, with some parks being more difficult than others.
So I opened the map app on my phone and looked for a park I hadn’t caught yet. All the obvious close candidates got covered early on in my project, so now I was looking for the more obscure ones. Pocket parks. Places people don’t usually see. Neighborhood playgrounds. That sort of thing. Scrolling across the town, a flash of green caught my eye that I hadn’t noticed before. It was only a mile or so away, and looked like a small pocket park, perhaps the size of two or three city lots. Small, sure, but often the small ones have gems worth snapping.
So I made my way there, parked nearby and wandered in trying not to look suspicious. Dusk was coming up quick, so I had to find my shot and get moving. It was a pleasant enough little spot, nestled between two apartment buildings, and backing up on to a light rail line. I made a circle of its paths, looking first at its layout, then looking for something less obvious. It took a few minutes, but I spotted my quarry. Each of the corners had a thicket of plants, but nestled among them was a sculpture. In fact, there were several more sculptures out in the open. As I looked, I realized that there were sculptures everywhere. Some up to fifteen feet tall, others barely a foot off the ground. The whole park was teeming with bronze, marble, and concrete testaments to the stubbornness of artists.
I found an interesting candidate, and lined up a shot which seemed to benefit from the late afternoon light playing in the oddly shaped and placed holes of the large rusty steel sheet. From some vantages, each hole formed a near perfect frame for another sculpture. As I worked on my setup, the more I realized that what had first seemed a piece of random torch work was actually a masterful bit of engineering. Finally, I had camera in place, with the lens stopped far enough down to make the depth of field interesting, and the closest of the framed sculptures in tack-sharp focus. I took the shot.
Oddly, the preview showed that one of the other frames was blocked. I assumed this was just a random passerby, and took another shot.
Again, a frame was blocked, but this time by a hand making a gesture centered in another opening.
Another shot, another extraneous body part.
Somehow, a person I couldn’t see was managing to photo-bomb my shots with impeccable timing.
But so far, only with hands, feet, elbows, knees, and once a torso. This was getting either really annoying, or fairly impressive.
I made one final attempt, and found that this time they had bombed me with their face. Wearing a mask. I was being photo bombed by
My light by this point was failing fast, so I shrugged and packed up my gear. I may not have captured the photo I intended, but I had found a gem of a park and a sculpture that I suspect most people walked past without seeing what it really achieved.
Later that night, I made a poster of the best of the photo bomb shots, and arranged for it to be printed on canvas and hung at my coffeehouse. Well, to be fair, hung at the coffeehouse where I spent all my spare change. I didn’t own it then. That came later, after that image sold to an anonymous collector for more money than I’d ever seen.
I’ve tried to find that park again, and failed every time.
Perhaps it was providence that I stumbled on it when I needed it.
I’d claim it was all a dream except for the collection of photos…