Dark and Light

“The blue and the dim and the dark cloths/Of night and light and the half light” have been fascinating me lately – as they would any photographer, not just poetry fans. (Well, good old Yeats was referencing the Celtic twilight here, not photography, methinks.) A natural nightowl – proud of it, actually (scientific research suggests that night-active people are more creative, smarter and humourous than morning people! There!) – I get itchy feet when holed up at night on my own. As luck would have it, I had a number of solitary evenings recently and was free to do what I want. Off I went with the camera, to catch the light at night.

I had no particular light in mind when I wandered off, no plan, I just walked aimlessly. It’s not that often that I am dawdling along at night. Usually I will be on my way to meeting someone at night, or heading home determinedly, keeping my eyes on the ground (In Dublin it’s sometimes better, not to catch anybody’s eye…). I was therefore amazed at the many interesting lights I came across on this random stroll.

“Light show” outside the NCH

All of this is possible thanks to the high ISO settings on marky Mark. Oh, and courtesy of my left biceps which has been growing and growing in recent time, because I have never been so active with the camera – on- and off-duty – ever. ISO 6400, f 9, though, and 1/30. I am developing a steady hand, again.

Not many pictures were taken that night, just a handful. But of them there were a few that are interesting enough for me to have become hooked on this urban exploration of light at night. Another excursion is planned for tonight, to whet my appetite for photography which is currently on the wane thanks to the pressure of my college deadlines. Do I have time for extracurricular activities? Frankly and emphatically, no! But do I need them? Boy, yes, I do, or I’ll go insane over visual diarrhoea diary, post-producing product shots and assembling uninspiring layout templates.

So, that’s my song of the wandering Aengus Sonja.

I will arise and go now and go to seek out light,
A small camera i will take there, of glass and metal made;
Nine film rolls will I take there, a project for students bright;
And be alone to see the darkness fade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
dropping from the veils of morning to where the camera rests;
there midnight’s all a glimmer with light approaching low
and morning full of tack sunsets’ best.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear the call from my camera with clicks and zooms galore;
while I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Thanks, WB! (Check the original “Lake Isle of Inishfree”, recited by the master himself, here. My little reference to Irish Easter Rising celebrations 😉 )

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