light on a curb

light story

It being winter, I’ve largely gone into hibernation photographically (that’s probably another post). Although since it was somewhat mild this past week, I have had a few days here and there to get out to make photos. What I’ve been concentrating on are my continuing studies of reflected and filtered light. To me, this is a very fascinating study and challenging in its own right, at least partly because places where these conditions apply are not necessarily easy to find. Where they occur, and when, has a lot to do with the location of the sun and where obstructions can filter the light or windows can reflect light into a shaded area.

In a way, in winter it is almost easier to find filtered light of a certain kind, because there are no leaves on the trees, which makes more for a sort of spread out shadow than the full shade of summer. It’s the edges of the shadows that are the most interesting. There is often a fringe of blurriness that can provide a very useful sort of light.

Pools of reflected light, though, are rarer, a more urban phenomenon. Again, maybe winter is more useful in some respects, since the sun is low and the angle of reflection puts the reflected light farther away into the shadows, rather than more straight down and into the street, as in summer. The photo for this post was taken in a little pool of reflected light that was also heavily filtered. There is very little processing on this photo beyond normal sharpening and contrast. The light temperature is a bit cooler that sunlight, but still has some of the warmth of shade mixed in, which gives it that mysterious and uncertain quality.

In a photograph such as this, the quality of light is more the subject than the content, what it’s falling on. It becomes a metaphor for the environment, for what is present but only liminally. At the same time, the minimal and mundane content of this photo is also suggestive of an aching emptiness.


About Ron Wiecki

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