Sunrises and Long Shadows
With the changing of the seasons (it is mid-October 2010 as I write this), my way of looking at my world for artistic inspiration must, and does, change. I particularly notice this as I walk around with my camera. I find I do a lot of this walking about at around 8 in the morning or 6 in the evening. The things that I photographing at those times two months ago, just aren’t there these days. Some days recently I’ve felt a bit empty as I can’t seem to find anything to take a picture of. I know that this is just a transitional time as I refocus my eyes to see different things and to see things differently. I know from experience that I have and will find subject matter in any season.
My morning walks used to be filled with bright sunshine, saturated colors and high contrast. These days as I set out in the morning, the sun is usually not over the lip of the river valley (although it still can put a spotlight on the tall, downtown buildings). The streets are in a uniform shadow. After the last few weeks of beautiful fall foliage, most of the leaves are now an indistinct brown and are on the ground or have been raked up and disposed of. The light is very flat, the contrast is low, the colors faded.
My seasonal bright spot is that as I climb the stairs out of the river valley I am regularly treated to a colorful display on the eastern horizon. It is a great time of year to look at and notice the dramatic colors and contrast in the sky around sunrise (and sunset).
My autumn afternoon walks are likewise different from those of summer. The sun is close to setting, very low in the western sky. The shadows it casts can be very long. The clouds can be lit from underneath and have a lot of contrast.
So where do I go from here? Bold colors are hard to find . Gone are the lovely greens of summer against blue skies, as are the bright yellows and reds of autumn. So now I must look for the beauty in subtle color variations and the forms of naked trees (these forms that have great appeal to me as painting subjects too). I also can still ( for a few weeks) look to the skies for some dramatic colors to satisfy that craving.
Of course when the snow comes (which could be any day now and almost certainly by mid-November) and when I am walking in darkness, I will have to shift my focus yet again – but I am confident that I will always find something worthy of photographing and perhaps even painting . This moving target for interesting subject matter is part of the fun of living in a four-season climate.