“There have been evenings when the light
has turned everything silver, and like you
I have stopped at a corner and suddenly
staggered with the grace of it all …”
William Stafford, from “Waiting in Line”
The “corner” I’m stopped at is along the Peace Path just past where the Shakespeare Bench used to be until it rotted away. I’m shooting straight towards the sun; a low hanging winter solstice sun that in less than 30 minutes will drop behind the hill in the far background.
The beauty at this time of year — a beauty with the power to stagger — is seen in the muted dune colours whose texture is that of softly crumpled sheets of green.
This is due to the low angle of the sun’s rays diffusing themselves in the drifting wind borne sea mist rolling in from the beach and creating the diaphanous backlit condition so often used in “dreamy” studio enhanced wedding photos.
What interests me today, though, is my inability to see these very same mist particles when they are right in front of my face. Sort of like the rainbow that is only viewed from a distance: one can never stand in it and witness the colours dancing bows over their head.
But what happened this week was that the camera captured some of these very same backlit minuscule droplets of mist just meters in front of me.
While walking I never saw them, but downloaded and on the computer screen there they were: whiskers of light, tell tale trails of invisibility made visible.
I did a calculation: The tree trunk was around a foot thick or 300mm. The mist trails in the background would then be around 4 inches or 100mm in length. Shutter speed was 1/100th of a second. This would calculate out to have the mist moving at 10 meters or around 30 feet per second. Too fast for my naked eye to comprehend. But the camera did.
Like little ghost trails.
I sat at the computer staggered with the grace of it all.