When I left my office around 5:00 this afternoon, the first thing that caught my eye was this tree’s orange leaves, illuminated by the slanting rays of the sun. The tree fairly glowed in the shadows of downtown Milwaukee office buildings beneath the blue sky.
The effect was already starting to diminish by the time I dug out my iTouch. When I snapped my second shot, just moments later, the light was gone.
My great-grandfather was an avid amateur photographer. He kept his camera and tripod in the trunk of his car, and if he was out driving and saw something he thought would make a good picture, he’d pull over right there and set up his gear. He has always been my role model for how to maintain an artistic life in parallel with your everyday existence.
Years after my great-grandfather died, I discovered Ansel Adams’ Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. Not only is Adams’ photograph a masterpiece, but I felt my great-grandfather’s presence and had to laugh when I heard the dramatic story of how Adams shouted to his friend to pull the car over to the side of the road and then worked frantically to set up his equipment and capture the twilight image of faded sunlight reflecting on white cemetery crosses under a newly ascended moon.
Just looking at my two photos above, you can see what a difference a mere moment can make when you want to photograph an ordinary object or event rendered fleetingly beautiful by the elusive, magical quality of light.