Sometimes I remember my first color photography class, where a major assignment was on the color of natural light. I took it as a summer course during a particularly dry summer, where there were almost no clouds, and therefore, no spectacular sunsets. Every night, I would wait around, hoping for some good changes in color that would show up well, but every night, the sun just went down without a fight.
It wasn’t just me that noticed, either. My classmates and I spent our breaks talking about this project, wondering how we would ever get anything to turn in for the project. One went out of town one weekend and got some good shots, but the rest of us were stuck where we were and despairing of ever getting anything. The instructor held firm that we were to finish the project, sunsets or no. She told us that if we couldn’t find the color, we were not looking hard enough.
Finally, one evening, as the sun fell from the sky yet again, I looked at my boyfriend’s car and noticed that the color looked different. There was no obvious sunset, but there was a change in color. That weekend, as we walked across Key Bridge into Georgetown, we stopped to watch the planes, and the rowers, and I saw that the color of the light made his face glow as he looked out over the Potomac. Again, the sunset was nothing to marvel at, but the light had changed from the angle of the sun. I ended up with quite a nice showing for the project, and as far as I know, so did everyone else, eventually.
For quite a while, I thought that the class would have been so much easier if we had some spectacular sunsets. That’s true, it would have been much easier, but there is so much I would have missed if it had been so easy. I did learn to appreciate the easy beauty of the evening sun hitting the clouds, but I also learned so much about the more subtle changes that come throughout the day, even without the spectacular colors of sunset.
Tonight, as you can see, I took the easy way out.