One of my favorite chants is “Light and Darkness.” Those words are just repeated over and over again. It brings home the equality of their importance in the cosmos and each person’s individual existence. I am singing these words right now on the Autumnal Equinox. The ebb and flow of all nature seems to come back to the relationship of light and darkness. (Also the two most important tools of photographers.)
Equinox – an equal amount of light and darkness — is a sign of the importance of each particular part that makes up a “whole.” Like the right and left side of our brain which I mentioned in the last post or things like complimentary colors or grapes and leaves. At this time of the year I seek out circle shapes – moon, grapes, candles, frame drums, pumpkins, labyrinths and community.
Everyone who has traveled in the wine country is convinced that you can jump out of your car at any and every vineyard/winery and snap a prize winning shot. You would think so because the scenery is incredibly lush and eye popping! But as with every image it usually takes some planning and deliberate choices to present your mind’s eye view. It takes both left and right brain skills.
In the fall I never leave home without a diffuser and reflector and, yes, that little spritzer bottle. The sun is usually shinning every day in Napa and Sonoma in the fall to finish off the ripening of those grapes harvested late for high sugar content. This is the best time to photograph clusters because the cold nights begin to cut off the chlorophyll process to the leaves and the reds and yellows begin to show.
Low morning or late afternoon light on your subject is best but it still will produce dark and deep shadows and high contrast. So I either diffuse the light by placing a diffusion disc between the sun and my subject or add fill flash or reflected light to open up the shadow areas. It may seem strange to add light to a subject that is already bathed in sunlight but it helps even out the distribution of the light without making it feel flat.
Under the leaves that have not been cut back you can often find some grapes that are behind schedule in the ripening process. They make for a wonderful contrast of color and growth pattern when photographed next to the plump deep purple orbs.
The Celtic Blessing proclaims, “May the circle be open but unbroken. May love of the Goddess be ever in your heart. Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.” Circles are a blessing.
This Maltese, wide hipped Goddess draped in rosary beads surrounded by the round votive candles also seemed an appropriate Fall Equinox symbol. She is encompassed by the light and darkness from both within and without. The islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean were once occupied by a prosperous culture who worshiped the great Goddess of early agricultural people. In the period between 4000-2000 B.C., they created art in her image, ranging from life-size statues to delicate hand-held figures. Even their temples, the oldest in Europe, were solidly built in the shape of her life-giving body.