thinking with pictures

Seeing the “golden hour” in a new light

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stitched panorama of late evening cloudscape over gas station

The Golden Hour near sun up and sun down makes most appearances improve. Putting something in a flattering light –interior make-over, portrait 3-point lighting, or outdoor view– tickles the 25% of our primitive brains devoted to visual processing. Even this scene of gassing up cars in middle Michigan seems a little grander, a little wrapped in the mist of time or memory, and in effect bigger than ordinary life. Try the reverse: when next enthralled, consider if the subject is just as awe-filling when the light is shifted.


metaphor: 10 f-stops of dynamic range

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dramatic evening cloudscape

Just as sensors can only contain a small part of the luminous dynamic range, so too of our own minds –perceiving at most and at least a small part of the spectrum of fellow creatures’ experience and existence. One work-around in human eyes is to composite multiple saccades (eye glimpses around a scene, each adjusted on the fly). The mental picture then is more like 18 to 20 f-stops; some people can accommodate wider ranges of experience and vision, of course.