Wednesday, July 7, 2010

THE SWEET LIGHT OF THE GLOAMING

This is a magical time of day…
The sun is almost down, as the last of it's golden light varnishes the tops of the sycamores along the river. The stream corridor, between the tree-lined banks, is in cool shadow and the water is the color of old jade.
I love this period, what the old folks used to call the gloaming…when the day softens and swallows dip over the pools as the last of the vultures come straggling home, sailing high and at ease in the blue sky, wheeling as they drop altitude, like black-robed skaters carving figure-8s in ice—swift and sure in their skill, and perfectly on target when they reach and glide into the dense green canopy to their roost. You never see them flare or flinch, or scarcely slow down once they enter the woods. Huge though they are, they fly with no uncertain grace, the winged masters of the cooling air.
As a photographer, I adore this gloaming light—warm, soft, and angled in from the side, giving a wonderful glow and dimensionality to whatever it touches…fence post, red-winged blackbird, a single umbel of Queen Anne's Lace. Light which paints everything with it magic.
The sweet light of the gloaming….
———————

16 comments:

Wanda said...

I think your single umbel of Queen Anne's Lace was the perfect subject on which to capture the gloaming light! It's beautiful!

Queen Anne's Lace reminds me of my grandmother...I learned it's name from her, as a very young child.

George said...

As someone who shares your passions for both photography and writing, it occurs to me that each discipline is designed to illuminate, and that, of course, is what we always get from your postings -- illumination. With respect to that special light of the gloaming, it reminds me of something I heard when I first became interested in photography many years ago: In the right light, anything can be beautiful.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ

SO beautiful, gloaming. And may I add. I felt that your words about the glorious gloaming -

described,

personfied,

exemplified,

mystified,

justified,

glorified,

beautified,

birth and death...........

hallelujah!!

Love to you my friend
Gail
peace and hope,

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

It was beautiful light, and of course, a beautiful flower.

I don't know whether I learned the name of Queen Anne's Lace from my mother or father, as they were both enthusiastic and skilled wildflower fans. But it has always reminded me of the lovely and delicate white lace doilies my mother crocheted, and the collars my grandmother sometime wore. I never see one of the plants without thinking of (and missing) them.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

George…

You are quite right in your comment—both writing and photography are disciplines of illumination. Photography is the capture of light; writing is the production of light.

With either, it is always too easy to stray—to go for a technically good but otherwise uninspired photo, or a flat and soul-less phrase.

I'm sure you know the old adage…a laborer works with his hands; a craftsman works with head; while an artist works with his hands and head and heart. I don't claim to be an artist, but I do try (sometimes, at least) to reach inside and produce things that approach this goal of inner illumination—both illumination to myself and from myself, with the hope it will light up something in a reader/viewer.

And indeed, in the right light, anything can be beautiful…and the beautiful can become sublime.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

It wasn't me, dear friend—just an old wildflower which some call a weed, a handful of buzzards heading for bed, a river, some trees, a fading blue sky, and a sunset which comes along every 24 hours…all made magical in the light of the gloaming.

Bernie said...

Gloaming.....this is a new word to me and as I repeat it, I do like the sound......perhaps it is the way you described its meaning.
I do know Queen Anne's Lace, it is my favorite and I adore the pattern.
Really enjoyed this post my friend.
........:-) hugs

A from TO said...

Is it a heat wave there too?Have you had a dip in your river?

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, it's a lovely flower, I saw some on my local walk the other day. In England we call it 'wild carrot' - or 'bird's nest' in certain regions. It does look like a bird's nest, doesn't it? Although you can't see it in your photo, that purple spot in the centre of the flower-head is quite distinctive - also the wispy bracts beneath.

Here, by Queen Anne's Lace, we mean cow parsley. Also - Queen Anne's Lace always reminds me of that Dylan song 'You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go' in which he mentions the flower.

Jayne said...

It is so beautiful isn't it? That golden time of the day when the light is almost perfect? I could just bask in that forever.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Gloaming…according to my OED, the word comes from the Old English, from the same root that gives us "gloom" and "glow," and means, of course, twilight—dusk rather than dawn. That lovely period between sunset and darkness when the sky glows with magical light.

I've heard the word all my life, but then my parents came from a rather insular culture which was not much changed in the early 1900s from the days when their great-great grandfathers settled in the same mountains in the 1700s. And there were many words and phrases they and my grandparents used which harken back to a time and place before most of my family lines came over in the mid-1600s.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Solitary…

There are lots of plants around just now, in full and glorious bloom. While I'm not always very enthused by white flowers, I'm quite fond of Queen Anne's lace, maybe because of my mother and the connected memories, or simply because it is so lovely. Re. that single tiny red-purple flower you sometimes see in the center…I've always heard it represents a drop of blood where Queen Anne pricked her finger while sewing lace.

I can see where the "bird's nest" name originates—especially once the umbel begins to close as the head fades and dries. It's also often called wild carrot here, which is appropriate since this is the plant from which garden carrots are derived.

Guess I don't know that Dylan song.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

A from TO…

I wouldn't quite call it a heat wave…but 90, 91, 92 degrees Fahrenheit most days this week. At least not over 100˚! However, this is about average for this corner of Ohio in July, which is still too much for a boreal fly fisherman.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

The gloaming and the hour after dawn serve up the two best light periods, photographically speaking, of the day—and dawn often has the added sparkle of dew. So if if really serious about making good images, you have to haul the old carcass out of bed early, and also not come back inside until full dark that evening. That's why we old photogs tend to nod off at noon.

Tramp said...

" Roamin' in the gloamin' on the bonnie banks o' Clyde.
Roamin' in the gloamin' wae my lassie by my side.
When the sun has gone to rest,
That's the time we love the best.
O, it's lovely roamin' in the gloamin.!"

My Dad used to sing this.
...Tramp

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tramp…

I'll bet your Pop sang the version made popular, if memory serves, by Harry Lauder. There's also another old song which uses the phrase "roamin' in the gloamin'" in its chorus, but I can't remember the name of that tune.