I’ve been following Kim Douillard’s Thinking Through My Lens blog for quite some time now. Each week she chooses a focus for her photography and weaves her thoughts and fabulous pictures together into a thoughtful and engaging essay. She then invites others to consider that focus as they take pictures during the week. This week I finally took up one of her challenges and focused on Light.
I’m an early riser and love to watch the morning greet each day with a revelry of light. The rising sun regularly stops me in my tracks, even if only briefly. Some days I can’t resist the temptation and turn my car on a detour into town to watch the colors dance over the bay, delaying my arrival at school but lifting my mood. The reflection of light on water never fails to captivate me.
Other times I view dawn’s light show from within my house. In this picture the sun rises through the antique glass on my transom. The three wooden slats that divide the panes are almost camouflaged as trees, but you can find them if you look. I love the combination of seeping colors and glowing light seen through a screen of trees.
And some days the moon still shines brilliantly in the early morning sky. On this particular morning, I was intrigued by the way the moonlight lit the clouds, turning them into celestial smoke and an eerie hour glass formation.
As I considered light this past week, I found myself more and more intrigued by shadows, the dark area created when light is blocked. In the picture below, the shadow tree cast on the old smoke house seems to link with the tree behind it. Without that shadow tree, the image would be far less interesting.
Low in the sky at this time of year, the sun casts interesting shadows at home, too. I found myself stopping to admire and photograph my shadow cat. (In search of affection, she wasn’t the most cooperative artist’s model.)
The winter sun plays in my kitchen as well. Late in the afternoon it shines brightly through the windows, highlighting this star, revealing its intricate pattern, something I seldom notice at other times of day or in other seasons.
As I’ve tuned into light and shadows, I’ve become more observant: I notice the light and then look for the shadow. In this case, I love the accompanying star-shadow my glass star cast on my fridge. The contrast between the intricately lit star and its flat shadow fascinates me.
Finally, on a recent visit to Nashville, there were far more lights than I’m accustomed to in rural Maine. Although I was frustrated by my limitations as I tried to capture this nighttime scene, I do love the energy and light of the final result. Note the waxing crescent moon slinging low next to the clock tower.
What I noticed most by focusing on light this week was its interplay with darkness and shadow. I’ve come full circle, back to my recent thoughts on gratitude, and to the idea that looking to the “light” helps one shift focus and see more positives in life. But now my thoughts are more nuanced. While focusing on the light is rewarding, perhaps contemplating the shadows helps one understand where there’s a need to cast some light. Or perhaps the point is to notice and appreciate the presence of shadows and how they enhance the light. Either way, this photographic challenge reinforced for me that the two are irrevocably bound.