Light on trees

I love the sky, and trees, and in particular the interplay between them.  I’ve written before about my continued – fruitless – efforts to capture the light on the trees outside my house in the morning and the evening.  This futility reminds me of how I’ve often tried to photograph falling snow and been similarly frustrated by my inability to capture the fleeting, stunning glory of it.  These are moments, I guess – nature swollen to its fullest meaning – for poets, or for photographers far more skilled than I.

And yet I keep trying.  There’s something so rich, so evocative, about the way light right now plays on the ever-barer branches of trees.  Particularly at sunrise and sunset, at the ends of each day’s arc, it seems the light comes from somewhere beyond the horizon, beyond the reach of my logical mind.  It makes me stop and wonder, almost every single day: most mornings finds me standing in the street, pointing my iPhone up at the sky while the kids sit in the car, waiting to go to school.

The light is particularly elusive this time of year.  Its hours are limited, its wings clipped by the dusk that falls earlier and earlier.  There’s also a quality of elegy in November light, which is somehow heavy with endings.  It is, paradoxically and bewitchingly, full of emptiness.  We pivot towards the solstice, towards the close of another year.  And the light glows like embers on the branches perhaps marking that another set of days burns irrevocably to an end.

And I stand there taking pictures.  Trying, always failing, to capture what I see.  Almost exactly one year ago I wrote about the light in the sky and the leaves on the ground, on the inextricability of endings and beginnings.  About rawness, sadness, and the strands of incandescent joy that weave through every single day, through every single sky.

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  1. Posted November 14, 2011 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    It’s one of the reasons I love this time of year, light is so random and unpredictable. And yet there is still so much colour to be found.

  2. Posted November 14, 2011 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I do this, too. With much the same results.

    And all the same reasons.

    What is it about shadow and light that draws us in so strongly?

    Thank you.


  3. Posted November 14, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I’ve been taking photos like this too. I can’t ever capture the full glory – but I keep looking, and keep trying.

  4. Posted November 14, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I love those photos and feel like you really did capture the light! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Posted November 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow! I SO know what you’re talking about! A couple of weeks ago I spent a very frustrating 10 minutes trying to capture the beauty of the steam rising from my coffee cup.

    And last night I walked out of the grocery store and the sky took my breath away. I stood in the parking lot staring up with my iPhone in hand, snapping photos furiously.

    I looked around, sure that everyone must have stopped in their tracks and wondering if it would be safe to drive if we were all distracted by the sky. BUT NOBODY ELSE SEEMED TO EVEN SEE IT.


    I’ve felt this way when the birds dance in the air (before or after?) they migrate. Nature is just ridiculous.

  6. Posted November 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    That first picture is so lovely!! It captures my favorite colors of the fall – my favorite season but one in which I inevitably feel sad about the passage of time. At no other time of the year is the change so obvious, brilliant and unstoppable. And despite how beautiful your photos are, I know from experience that the images were even more wonderful in person. Some things are just not meant to capture and hold – but perhaps just to remind us to enjoy the moment. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Posted November 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    The fall and winter light in the city is magical, especially at dusk. It bathes the skyscrapers in a pinkish / orangish hue that is so soft and inviting. The steel and glass of the building practically twinkle.

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