see2think

thinking with pictures


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golden hour, blue hour, gray hour, night

fading light Sunday after 4:30, central Echizen City

fading light Sunday after 4:30, central Echizen City

For some reason the fading light of the evening beckoned and rather than climb the steps and make supper, I set off for a walk to the riverside and enjoyed the cool November air and the rising north breeze. Street lights began to shine, headlamps on the cars came on, and the dusk deepened. What is it about the day’s changing light toward the evening (or in reverse order: night to gray, to blue, to golden at sunrise) that is so appeals to emotional response? The time when the sun is low in the sky and the light temperature shifts to the warmer tones seems to amplify and intensify the colors alone and against each other, the shadows are sharpened and darkened, too. As the golden hour gives way to the blue hour with its cooler light tones, it is the opposite effect to the golden hour. Now the reduced range of colors makes those remaining colors seem precious; or at least they seem different to the normal look of broad daylight. Even a familiar location takes on an unfamiliar look in this light. Then the last of the colors become even more muted until the light values that define shapes and relative distances is something like grayscale. Now the full night is not far away, so something magical happens – the boundary between history and the ordinary daily life of the present tense blurs a little. The leap of imagination to step into the past or the future is a small jump. It takes just a little effort to imagine the time has changed. The line between the living and dead thins in the quickly passing twilight as night takes over. What is the attraction of night photography?.Using a tripod changes the pace and length of exposures that now is possible, thus producing images different to ones quickly composed and captured. And the extreme lighting of artificial source versus unlit adjacent space means that point-source light is clearly defined, individual, palpable and 3-dimensional (unlike the all surrounding direct sunlight and indirect sky reflection). All together then the 2 hour span from Golden to Blue to Gray to Night provides a seamless stream of changing light conditions, each of which has appeals on its own. But when taken back to back, it is a feast for the eyes in four courses!

rearview: On the importance of hindsight

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rearview: On the importance of hindsight

Southbound on the springtime highway and alert to Whitetail deer invading the road at the twilight hour, I checked my sideview mirror for other drivers on the road and there caught sight of the evening glow and the shine of the car’s body. Some colors shifted in the weak warm color-balanced light. The lesson here is the to not only look for photo opportunities that may lie in front of you, but also to look with equal care to left, right, bottom, up, and even behind. Photos may present themselves for capture in unexpected places, time, or angles. So it makes sense to carry a small camera at all times and to look in the opposite direction to one’s ostensible subject.