thirty seconds

The following pairs of photos were taken from almost identical vantage points with about 30 seconds ticking past between the dark and the light versions. I have not adjusted the brightness of these photos, so what you see is what I got. [Click on images for larger views]

Rather remarkable, no? The effect of light always seems so dramatic when you’re in a place with interesting rock formations. These were shot in Oregon in September, but I’ve seen much the same while traveling in Arizona, especially in areas like Sedona. If you’re patient and don’t mind shooting a group of photos of a rock formation, it’s incredible to see a landscape transformed from muddy to electric in a matter of minutes, or sometimes even seconds. I shot a number of similar series while out west as I find this kind of light-morphing to be fascinating.
Edit: I should probably mention that most of these light effects occur when there are clouds drifting overhead. When I shot the lower pair of photos, I had been waiting around for about 5 minutes for a break in the clouds to occur. It was getting late in the afternoon and I was wondering if I’d get an opening in the clouds before the sun sank too low. Finally, there was a break and the sunlight slowly crept across the hillsides until it struck this particular formation and began to flood it with light. In the upper pair of photos, the weather had suddenly changed — going from rain clouds and showers, to bright sunlight with fast-moving clouds. Lots of fun to watch the colours of the hills changed by the second.

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12 Responses to “thirty seconds”

  1. Cathy Says:

    Light. It’s everything. There is none here in northwest Ohio, today. Probably won’t be any for a loooong time, which is why these photos are particularly lovely to me this morning. Ahhhh. Remembered light.

  2. Wayne Says:

    Wow. These are remarkable photos in their own right, but the lighting differences make them a real photographic study. I suppose it would be possible to do something similar in our own stomping grounds but there’s something dramatic about the terrain and open sky of the West that we just don’t have here.

  3. burning silo Says:

    Cathy – There’s just gray, drizzly light here in eastern Ontario too — been like that for days. I’m enjoying looking at my photos from the west and remembering how great it was to be tripping around in that sunlight.

    Wayne – Yes, these landscapes sure do make the most of the effects of the light and shadow moving over the rock formations. That’s one of the best parts of traveling in places where you get these incredible vistas. It almost has the feel of stage-lighting when you’re there.

  4. robin andrea Says:

    Great photos capturing the fantastic contrast of light and shadow. I can sit and watch the clouds come and go, and the way the light changes for hours. Yesterday I tried to take a movie of some low clouds passing in front of some higher clouds that were directly in front of the sun. As the lower clouds passed their tips lit up in rainbow colors. It was quite beautiful. The movies didn’t capture it at all. I guess I’ll have to keep it in my internal memory only!

  5. Jenn Says:

    I love the way the clouds are so much a part of the groundscape in the west. Very cool photo series, the first one captures the effect perfectly.

  6. burning silo Says:

    robin – I enjoy watching moving clouds too – and especially how their shadows change a landscape. We get some great cloud formations in this region, especially in summer. Sometimes they look like fantastic castles in the sky. In the evening, with the pink tint from the setting sun, they are quite surreal.

    Jenn – Yes, I love the way the earth and sky combine to create such dynamic landscapes in the west. Sometimes takes your breath away.

  7. Peg Says:

    Last night I had a dream about the colors of clouds in the sun and each others’ shadows… including red, blue, white, black… Here on the Oregon coast at this time of year, a sunny day is a cause for celebration, even when it lights up a mountainside for just a moment!

    I drive along the Siuslaw River every morning, and one of my favorite views is the sun coming over the mountains and illuminating some of the firs above the fog that lays along the river like a fat snake; the trees look like they’re floating in the sky! If I were an accomplished photographer like you, I’d submit my own, but instead, if you ever are looking for a place to stay near Florence, please contact me – we have a bonus room over the garage with all the necessities, plus a deck overlooking the river in the back yard, and my kayak in the garage!!

  8. burning silo Says:

    Peg – You live in a wonderful part of the country (regardless of the weather – and I know it can be cloudy and rainy there!). I have not yet been to Florence, but have been along the coast and up some of the rivers between the California border and Gold Beach. Some day, I hope to return and visit more of the coast as it’s pretty spectacular. Who knows — I might take you up on your kind offer! It must be terrific to be in a place where you can put your kayak into the river and go off paddling. Do you see many River Otter around your place? They seem to like those rivers along the Oregon coast.

  9. Peg Says:

    The river otters are nearby but shy! They can occasionally be seen in the calmer pools both above and below us, especially right at dusk, but we have rapids in the back yard, and mostly see bald eagles, herons, osprey, cormorants and ducks here… and lots of crawdads.

    This morning two friends and I threw the kayaks in for a paddle, despite the freezing temps; it was a gorgeous sunny morning, with threads of steam rising where the sun hit. We were led downstream by a seal for about 2 miles, which means the salmon are still in the river. Many are already up in the tributaries, spawning; it’s amazing to see dozens of 30# fish thrashing around in water just a few inches deep!!!

  10. Peg Says:

    To Cathy:
    I lived in Central Ohio for 20 years, and did not realize for a long time how much 5 months straight of grey weather affected me. I was intimidated by the huge rainfalls here on the Oregon coast, but was surprised to find that here, I expect it to be rainy nearly every day for 5 months and therefore I don’t let the rain stop me; when we get sunny days, it feels like a wonderful, unexpected gift!! In Ohio, I expected it to NOT be raining, so was much more often than not disappointed and shut down by the weather… the difference is not in the rain, but in my expectations and perceptions…

  11. burning silo Says:

    Peg – Your place sounds like a wonderful location for wildlife observation! It must be terrific to be able to paddle out from there!

  12. Mortis Says:

    Beautiful landscapes. It is amazing how a shadow can make the hills and cliffs loom over the terrain, while a ray of sunshine brings forth the wonderful palette of colors nature has bestowed. Maybe it is the psycological effects of our “Caution, that is dangerous” upbringing that plays tricks with our mind. Unfotunately I work the graveyard shift and only see daylight for about two hours on most days if I am lucky, so the grey winter Texas weather has not affected me as much as it can.