Tuesday, July 6, 2010


‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o`er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.’
‘Elegy in a Country Church-yard’. by Thomas Gray

Three steps from the computer screen takes me out onto a second story balcony of my home and from there I stand watching the day fade slowly into night. This, along with the first glow of dawn is one of the most expressive moments of the twenty-four hour day. It is also difficult to photograph. A slow shutter speed is obvious, - the technical part - , but how to express in pixels the richness of the moment, the evocative, important part of the creative process?

Left to its own devices the camera will try to brighten up the darkness to a ‘correct exposure’ and that I must avoid, but how to catch the scent of flowers, fir needles and drying grasses. How to express the rich sadness that permeates the air as in the above quote from Thomas Gray? Once the image is in the computer I experiment with several possibilities. Perhaps by darkening the image and increasing the saturation of the colours? Or making it into a moonlit black and white? Or the same with a blue tint added? Lighter? More contrasty? Softer? The possibilities are endless.

While manipulating the image on the computer screen I am drifting into a nocturnal musical mood, feeling the mood within myself, and eventually settle on my first instinctive choice of rich colour and velvety shadows. Nocturne.

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