Late in the year, I mean. We’re hurtling toward the solstice and the photon flow in the short hours between official sunup and sundown hardly deserves the name “daylight”. But when the Pacific Northwest cloud and rain and fog let up, the always-slanting sunlight is very pure.

Which I plan to salute but then disrespect via whimsical photomanipulation. Not apologizing either.

What happened was, I ran a few neighborhood errands in the rare November clarity and then there was this tree.

Yellow tree against blue sky, evergreen off to the side

That’s about how it looked.

[Narrator: Enter Lightroom.]

But here’s the thing. That torrent of autumnal yellow is cool and I liked it, but I thought, well, maybe I could do something with that; good raw material! Say, turn it down a bit so the color is speaking not shouting.

Autumnal tree against blue sky

And yes, I liked that color and thought it freed up the tree’s shape.

And the sky looks nice too but I think also distracting..

Autumnal tree against grey sky.

The observant reader will have noticed that I was walking round the tree pointing my phone at it, which all the strangers who noticed smiled and nodded at, because those leaves.

Anyhow, subtracting color seemed to be going in a good direction, so why not Go All The Way?

Black and white image of a complicated tree

Look at the right edge of the photo, there’s a B&W bird! If you believe shape and contrast are the most important things about a picture, this one subtracts everything else.

I think I’ve done enough to that poor tree. Just a little later, I pointed the lens (by the way everything here is Pixel 7) at the sidewalk just in front of my feet.

Yellow leaves in slanting sun cast shadows on the sidwalk

Those would be oak leaves.

Winter sucks and there’s plenty of it incoming. It will however not be entirely free of light, so keep your eyes open.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Rob (Dec 01 2023, at 08:34)

Yes! Mother nature IS shouting, in glorious gold, green, and blue, and you, you turn it into cement! You're like Thomas Bowdler fixing Shakespeare or Cecilia Giménez fixing the face of Christ!

All I can say, in the immortal words of DJ Snake and Lil Jon, "Turn down for what?"

For me, Fall is just about the best thing about this country, I find it as glorious and sharp edged and enlivening as that last blindfolded cigarette before the squad is ordered to fire...


From: Mike Seymour (Dec 20 2023, at 13:45)

Near winter solstice light is extraordinary. It gives that whole "Tuscany" lighting effect to landscapes. As you say, clear blue sky days after a series of gray days give everybody a bit of lightness in their step. It's especially impressive when there is snow on the ground and it's cold. The contrasts between the cold and the sun and the white snow and the blue sky are arresting. In any case, thanks for your post!


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November 28, 2023
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