Summer Solstice--3 days early. On the Summer Solstice, the setting sun is perfectly aligned with the Manhattan cross street grid. Tonight, just three days prior to the Summer Solstice, I encountered a close approximation of that phenomenon as I existed UNIQLO's Free Friday Nights at MOMA on 53rd Street. The sun was ablaze. The blinding light was probably a degree off dead center, but it was impossible to discern any difference from the precise moment.
As they say in the photography business, sometimes your best shot is behind you. That was clearly the case tonight. As is true throughout Midtown, a new building was under construction. This one just west of MOMA's current entrance--replacing the old Museum of Folk Art building. The sidewalk was covered by elaborate scaffolding. And that beautiful sunlight was hitting people in the face as they emerged from the tunnel-like structure.
When the sun hits that certain point in the sky as it drops into oblivion, there are just moments before golden light turns to black. I felt a sense of frustration because a photograph only works if the right people in the right position appear in the frame. You don't want slubs unless they are stubby to the extreme. I repeatedly released the shutter as people walked by, not knowing until later whether I captured a worthy image.
In retrospect, I can say that this particular image was inspired by Saul Leiter and Philip Lorca di Corcia, although I am told that the latter used artificial lights to capture the passersby.
Copyright 2016, Jack B. Siegel. All Rights Reserved