The Fountain of the Fallen Angel, or The Fuente del Ángel Caído, is a monument located in the Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain. It depicts Lucifer being cast out of heaven, crying out, with a snake wrapped around his waist. The monument sits inside a fountain on an octagonal pedestal with heads of devils on all eight sides.
It was created by Ricardo Bellver in 1877 in Rome and was inspired by verses from Milton’s Paradise Lost. It is renowned for its dramatic appeal, the tension in the expression on the angels face, and the social & political turmoil it caused as a possible satanic tribute. It is said to be the only prominent sculpture dedicated to the devil and it stands at 666 meters above sea level.
The detail in the statue and its rich history made it a perfect piece for our shoot, especially with our ability to capture it from all angles and give people the ability to see it up close and explore its features. When I arrived on the scene it was a very overcast day, which meant there were no shadows (and very few people in the park) – that was perfect for me.
I was able to shoot the entire base and most of the statue on the first day using my Nikon DLSR camera. Since the monument sits in the middle of a roundabout inside the park, it was an easy process. I was able to make around 350 photos, including the small pond and garden it sits in, the pedestal and its devils, and shots of the statue itself from below.
When I started to shoot the statue up close with my Mavic Mini drone it started raining, so I decided to return for the rest of the shoot when the weather was better. I returned the following day, which had similar weather conditions – very overcast and cloudy – and I was able to shoot around 300 photos of the statue using my mini drone.
I got top down aerial photos, needed to capture the detail of the ground around the statue and inside of the fountain plus the heads of the devils, and was able to do a lot of close up shots of the angel’s face, head and the snake. I then did a series of close-up shoots of just about every angle I could, to ensure that I captured every detail of the monument, so it could be recreated at the highest quality.
My Mavic Mini drone only has a 12 mega pixel camera, however since it was able to get close to the statue, something that usually cannot be achieved by traditional photographers, the resulting images came out stunning!. The drone has no collision detection sensors, so I had to be very careful not to get too close to the statue itself.
When I processed all the images, they had very low contrast, and due to the rain there was a slight difference between the two shoots. This makes it hard for our 3D software to do its trick. While it took a lot longer than usual to process the virtual creation of the Fallen Angel, the resulting piece was absolutely amazing!
I returned a few weeks later when the weather was better to try and get the “money shots”, but with large monuments like the Angel Caido it is hard to do these without using a drone. It was a sunny day with lots of people and there were teams of security patrolling the park, who promptly chased me away when I tried to use my drone. They, again, said that using the drone was not allowed even though technically it is fully legal due to its small size… Well, what can you do –best not to argue with the police!