Weekly Photo Challenge 2: Tricks of the Light

For the first time in my life, I have started to take photographs. I have so much more time on my hands (euphemism for being single) and so much more head-space (also a euphemism for being single?) that I have taken to wandering around just looking at things, as if seeing them for the first time. It could be clouds and trees in the park at the weekend, or shiny buildings and sparkling water on my lunch break from work. Often these things look so beautiful that I feel compelled to take out my (mobile phone) camera and try to capture them.

I have noticed that it is not the things in themselves that draw my eye. Almost always, the beauty is to do with the light shining on or around or through them. Or even from them. I have tried to photograph the sun countless times, as well as the many colours it splashes across the clouds.

This week’s Photo Challenge was ‘refraction’. I think this may be the scientific explanation for my fascination with sun and cloud and sparkling water…

Refraction is the bending of light (it also happens with sound, water and other waves) as it passes from one transparent substance into another

This change of direction is caused by a change in speed. For example, when light travels from air into water, it slows down, causing it to continue to travel at a different angle or direction.

Light, it turns out, is bendy like truth. The clouds can bend it, the rain can bend it, my eyes can bend it, and so can the camera. Sometimes a photo can be more colourful and picturesque through the lens than through the eye.

I decided to wander through the park last week, because this circus had sprung up overnight and I wanted to take a closer look on my way home.

This is how it looked through the lens, as the sun set

circus tent, sunset, clouds on fire, orange sunset, clouds

The circus tent at dusk

Yet actually the colours weren’t like this at all; not two seconds earlier I had taken this photo:

circus tent at dusk, grey light, dusk

The true colours of the circus tent

I took photos as I went, and the more cloud the more colours there were – until the light faded and it looked as if the park was pitch black through the lens, although in fact it was still light (if perilously close to the locking of the park gates at dusk. I only just made it out in time. This bendy-light refraction thing was truly fascinating, but I didn’t plan to be there to catch the sunrise.)

circus tent, clouds on fire, sunset, dusk, silhouettes

Clouds on fire

sunset. silhouette

Clouds fading

city skyline, sunset, clouds

The circus tent disappeared..



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