Sunday, January 08, 2006

Are you a lark or an owl?

click photo to enlarge
Are you a lark or an owl? When the first light of day filters through the curtains do you jump out of bed ready to make the most of the morning? Or do you pull the covers over your face to banish the brightness, and try for another hour's sleep? Do you get up early, anxious to use the freshness of the new day, or do you get up later, and come into your own when the sun has gone down? I'm definitely a morning person and I think I've worked out why.

I see each day as full of potential. In the early morning the day seems laid out before me like a blank piece of paper, ready to have written on it anything I care to write. And, when I get up my energy levels are at their highest, so I'm raring to go. But there's one more thing about the morning that gets me out of bed, and that's the quality of the light. In the morning it seems so much sharper, cleaner, fresher, and shadows are often crisp and deeper. Great for photography.

This picture, of a farm lane near Settle, North Yorkshire, was taken on a frosty early January morning, and it was the light that drew me. The slightly yellowy-orange tint of the low sun was highlighting the lichen on the drystone walls. Long shadows were being thrown in the lane and across the fields, and in the shade the frost and grass had a blueness about it. This strongly directional morning light was bringing qualities to the scene that can only be found at that time of day and year. I liked the strong compositional lines of the lane taking the eye through the foreground to the farm, and then the line of trees inviting a rightward gaze down the slope and out over the valley below. In truth, it's hard to take bad photographs on mornings like this.

There is a downside to being a lark however. After lunch, when the afternoon gets underway energy levels drop and less gets done. And in the evening, when owl friends are at their perkiest trying to engage you in stimulating conversation I'm yawning and glancing at the beckoning stairs to bed!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen