Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Light Lessons

Cool Mornings

A friend recently told me that the best times to take digital photographs are early morning and late afternoon, when the sun is bright and illumines everything with a golden hue. He is right. The pictures are all the better for the more generous play of clear, gold light.

I have never read that in a manual, though I suppose it is there, someplace. It is common sense, when I think about it. Early and late light offer the brightest or clearest light. Everything looks more beautiful.

I learn from light. Most of day’s light is soft and even dull, say on a cloudy day. Gray days are good for pictures, too, if you are into shades of blacks and grays and whites. I personally like black and white photographs – I can better ponder the subject of such photos. There is more of a “presence” to them. Or at least it seems that way to me.

It is said that God is light. We all seek God with the lights given us, no matter what our beliefs. We see with delight in the mornings and some early evenings and it is good. Most of life is the in-between time, though, the times of shade, overcast skies, diffuse light, lack of clarity. But God is that light, too, even though I often wish the image to be had was sharp and clear and sure.

I tried to take a picture of the full moon. It was far but bright and it bathed the monastery fields in a soft, silvery light. The picture came out okay – and then I aimed the camera at the field and the image I captured was beautiful. I had to place the camera on a fence post as the image took several seconds to settle onto the card.

So even at night, if I am still and watchful, I can capture some light.

And life I guess is like that, too.

If I learn to be still and hold what I love with care, the little light that may be there reveals much. It offers its beauty even on the darkest of nights.

I am grateful for the morning and afternoon light. It is easy to see at those times.

But I want to learn to better see at night, too, and to love what is there. God made both light and darkness and if we move in the light and become still in the dark, the light comes, revealing what beauty there is to be seen.

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