30 December 2013
Let me know which you prefer and why.
“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains.”–John Muir
Tomorrow the light of 2013 will darken, leaving us forever (except in our treasure trove of memories). A multitude of illuminated experiences will stay lit in our spirits, and give encouragement to the new year.
This month is significant for its winter solstice. On the twenty-first I felt a sigh of relief–the days began their ascension toward more light-filled hours.
The solstice, which is equal dark and light, appeared with a bit of fanfare. To some it may not have been obvious or significant, but I knew the steady glacial-like path toward Spring began. This shift to longer days brings more and more light, which fills the human psyche with anticipation and possibilities.
Photographers philosophize about light’s aesthetic and graphic energy. For me light is a crucial element on most photo shoots. Destination may or may not be the goal, but contrast, reflections, shadows, and tone are necessary. Even the overcast day wins my heart, because angles and corners are overflowing with small or medium-size low light that mingles with darker surfaces.
I prefer natural light. When its undesirable weather, I seek white LED lights to bring clarity to a subject. It works, but sunlight is my preference–luminosity that can bring visual magic.
Light can be brilliant, flashy, forceful, intense, so so, subtle, or triumphant. The fulfillment of its duty are constantly being judged. Still, I revere it for its own sake. It’s a continuous inspiration for the seen and unseen.
Human and non-human life are able to persist on their journeys, because la soleil acts as a guide. Too often we take its omnipresence and omnipotence for granted.
I am especially enamored by its silence. It can bear itself down on us and not make one sound, yet its undeclared voice can outdistance everything else.
That thought makes my mind wander into quietude. While my small slice of the universe may be experiencing the dark of night, other places have twenty-four hours of sunlight. Its comforting, reassuring and uncanny that natural light is present at any given time somewhere on our planet.
In the Lens section are my experiments with moonlight and firelight. The images are odes and tributes to the versatility of the sun: its ability to shed light; its ability to sustain life; its ability to provide heat; its ability to shore our health; its ability to give hope for another day.
The first two images were taken on an overcast night. The moon becomes its own symbol of our dependence upon its rays to lead us in the absence of sunlight. Along with starlight Mother Nature provides these celestial beams, and we often ignore its benefits.
“It must be allowed that the light of the moon, sufficient though it is for the pensive walker, and not disproportionate to the inner light we have, is very inferior in quality and intensity to that of the sun. But the moon is not to be judged alone by the quantity of light she sends to us, but also by her influence on the earth and its inhabitants.”–Henry David Thoreau
The second set of my photographs are my attempt to play with firelight from tiny birthday candles. They remind me that light is broad-spectrum and color-coded. They remind me that what we see is dependent upon the human eye’s ability to translate available light: much like the camera’s lens.
Light’s charisma inspires. It persists as a beacon for our daily accomplishments and journeys. It’s multi-dimensional character has motivated human invention and innovation, but nothing that equals Mother Nature’s sunlight.
Tip of the Week: I’m learned my compass points. I’ve also become familiar with the sun’s habits, and each season’s effect upon its placement in the sky. For me the best times of day to go on a photo shot are early morning (east) and late afternoon (west). But occasionally I will get a worthy shot at midday (south: when the sun is usually its most harsh). I follow the sun and it rarely disappoints.
Here are other entries for this week’s challenge:
Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog.
If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Phoneography Challenge, please contact me.
Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Phoneography Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature
2nd Monday: Macro
3rd Monday: Black and White
4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).