Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's in a name?

click photo to enlarge
I've always found the sources of personal names interesting, particularly those chosen for girls. Flowers have produced Rose, Violet, Heather (and Erica), Daisy, Briony, Iris and many more. Biblical names like Rachel, Rebecca and Sharon have proved popular. So too have three consecutive months of the year - April, May and June - though none of the others are favoured: I wonder why? Jewels and semi-precious stones have been pressed into service - Pearl, Ruby, Beryl, Coral, Amber, Jade etc - though they don't appear to be in fashion at the moment. Colours have sometimes made an appearance as in Blanche (white), Electra and Amber (amber), Flavia (yellow), Aurelia (gold) and Melanie (black).

Names that derive from stars (the outer space variety - Hollywood's effect is too well-known) include Estelle, Stella, Astra and Esther. However, only one time of day is widely used for a girl's name, and that, strangely, is Dawn (and its variations - Aurora, Oriana and Roxana). Now there's nothing wrong with naming a girl after the dawn: it's a fine and special time of day. But is it really better than sunrise and sunset, neither of which get a look in as far as names go despite being the most spectacular times of day? And what about midday (or noon), midnight and twilight? What precludes them from being used for this purpose? And if dawn is OK, why isn't dusk?

All these questions bounced around my head as I processed this shot taken from the bottom of the garden the other morning. Should I caption it "dawn" or "sunrise" I wondered? It was cold and frosty when I took the photograph, but the not-quite-yet-revealed sun's fiery colours gave an illusion of warmth. I was tempted to leave the sky clear to show off the rose-tinted clouds, but eventually decided that I preferred the shot with the silhouette of the branch at the top of the frame. And, as you see, I settled on "sunrise"!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 14mm (28mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/50
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On