Sunday, December 21, 2008

Night Light

Mars & Evening Stars, © 2001 Jeane Vogel Photography, 
Cibachrome print

There is something special about night light. It changes with the seasons. Cloud cover, moon phase, even air temperature can change the quality of the light after sunset.

Shooting at night means long exposures. I hate setting up the tripod, calculating the exposure, adjusting the tripod and camera to get the right composition, re-calculating the exposure because this process has taken so long that the light has changed and I have to start over. Ugh. It's not very magical.

I love the results, though. Anything that is moving during a long exposure takes on quality that the eye cannot see. Water become silky. People or leaves or animals moving look ghostly and other-worldly. Light sneaks in from places you didn't think was possible.

I cringe when I hear people say that photography captures of moment in time. It doesn't. And long-exposures prove it. Photography captures an essence of the moment. A feeling. Often, it captures life that simply cannot be seen.

Today is the Winter Solstice and tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. Both events are about the value and wonder of night light. It's interesting that they coincide this year. I don't remember that happening before, though I'm sure it has -- sometime.

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of daylight -- and the longest of night light. 

Hanukkah comes every year when the sky is darkest. Our candles burst through the night light and beckon back the day light.

It's a time of wondrous light.

1 comment:

Diane McGregor said...

I love this photograph. My husband is an astronomer so it really resonates with me.