Sunday, November 7, 2010

The gloaming.

 The nights are coming earlier and earlier each day now, the sun sets just around supper time and this will get earlier still as we climb closer to Christmas. Heather is away again looking after grandchildren and I realize that I am not tied to co-ordinate my activities with the usual supper hour. I grab my camera and head for Indian Point and a rendevous with sunset.

As I hike along the familiar coastline the shadows are already long with bright bursts of light angling through the tree tops to flash upon the water. The deep forest floor is dark too, speckled with tiny shafts of intensely bright light. The camera has a much more limited range than the human eye when it comes to contrast and this extreme light and dark is actually difficult to handle. I snap away anyway and keep walking quickly toward the still sunny shore facing the harbour. I have photographed so often along this trail that it is the light, at this moment so warm and generous, that interests me rather than the originality of the scene. It is light which reveals form and it is its subtle variations that open the mind.

The great arbutus’ burn brightly in the last rays of the setting sun as they lean over the reflective ocean surface and contrast with the blue shadows on the mountainous far shore of Fulford Harbour above which the sun is beginning to bounce from ridge to ridge. Time to turn around and follow the trail back through the woods before it is too dark to see. The sun touches the mountain`s rim at last and I click away as the light changes dramatically. The bright glare fades to a tiny pinprick before it vanishes and I catch its reflection, a string of jewels, on each smooth wave from the passing ferry.

I now begin  to photograph the gloaming. This is the moment I have been waiting for. The bright paint of warm light has disappeared from Indian Point and a much more nuanced afterglow now delineates the landscape. A man and his dog pass me on the darkening trail above the sea and I am quick enough to pan the camera along with their motion and catch an image on the fly. It will be streaked and blurry except for the dog, which is caught in a whirl of action beside his master.

 I stop along the way to record the beautiful light that changes and deepens minute by minute. Way out among the other Gulf Islands the sun is still shining but here in the shadow of the mountain we are sinking deeper into darkness.

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