After the rain

Coming home from an unexpected trip to Jacksonville on this wet Wednesday, I was worrying about how I would get in any adventuring after too much other stuff got in my way, and I looked up and saw the light at the end of the cloud cover.  The conditions were far from ideal, as we were traveling at about 70 mph on I-10, but that burst of light was too good to pass up.  I’m sorry if it makes you feel a bit drunk.

The one on the right is a little less drunken, since we had gotten off the highway and stopped so I could take it, but nowhere near as exciting.  So I went back to shooting out the window.

Although it looks like a trick of the lens, this is actually nearly accurate in its rendition of the light as I saw it in this field.  The flare of light around the tree, along with the haloing in the field, and the nearly colorless trees in the background are all part of why I loved this scene so much.

I tried to get lots of roofs, because I love the oxidation on these old metal roofs.  Most of them were too blurry, but I guess when we slowed down a little it worked better.  It bothers me a little that in the same photo with the roof I love is the siding I hate.  See all the dents and ripples?  That is why aluminum and vinyl siding is just not worth the trouble.  Sure, wood might need to be painted, but even old or peeling paint looks better than dents and ripples.

I would have liked more photos of the houses along here because some of them were really interesting.  If I had been a little more sure that I wouldn’t get shot if I got out, I would have stopped to take better photos.  However, there are a lot of people around here with guns who don’t really like strangers tromping around on their property.

Most of what worked well were when I tried to capture the light in a scene, because the light itself allowed for a faster shutter speed.  The glare of the sun in this photo with the backlit silos thrills me!  Silos are often strangely appealing in their utilitarian nature.  These particular ones were made of corrugated metal, and were much taller and slimmer than what you can see here.  In a way, I would love to have the materials show better, but at the same time, I really love the way the sun and the clouds become the subject, while the trees and silos become the negative space.  It makes the scene more about the loveliness and less about technical aspects.

These trees, which I caught as we were going 60 mph, with the sun streaming through the rows have a hazy beauty that they don’t often have.  The sun emphasizes the slenderness of the trees, making them become even more slender with the light flare.  Even though this is backlit, the sun is not so direct as to blot out the color of the trees.  The pinkish gold of the light actually makes the green of the pines stand out more.  The trees themselves are just pulpwood pines, planted in rows, and destined to become paper.  Quite a bit of Florida is planted in trees like this, which can be boring.  Good lighting can make even these trees beautiful.

Here you can see the changing color of the sky, which is still blue to the right, but just beginning to become golden.  This lens flare was not exactly what I saw, although I did both expect and hope for it.  This hazy, golden light can soften almost anything, turning it into something we yearn for.

Sunlight can entirely change not only the mood, but the perception of materiality.  In the previous image, the sun has given an lightness to the very solid house and field.  At other times, the light takes something ethereal and gives it a hard edge.  Here, the sun plays with clouds, sometimes lining them with light, giving them a clarity and hardness that belies their vaporous nature.  At other times, the sun shines through the clouds, highlighting their softness with gleaming gold.


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