I looked out my window late yesterday morning. High clouds. Normally I like to make photos early in the morning when the air is fresh and the sun is golden—when the world is my own. But high, wispy clouds mean magic in photography so I broke my own rules. I went out with my camera in the latest part of the morning.
Cirrus clouds diffuse the sun just enough to soften and fill shadows. They add drama to sky. Painters know that cirrus clouds are the most difficult of clouds to paint. Their delicacy is elusive. In photography we must take care with when pointing the camera to sky. Blown-out highlights are the death of wispiness.
While I've noticed the cottony light of cirrus skies for years, I have come to realize that there is more to the magic. Reflections take on new drama and depth on days like these. Gone are the harsh specular highlights that can ruin an image. Surfaces glow instead of sparkle. There is always something new to learn about light. It is a magician who never reveals all the secrets. The sorcerer unveils the truth with time and contemplation.
Yesterday I found the Larkspur Palms again. The sky turned them to towering monuments of grace and drama. I found angles and perspectives that I'd not known before. It was the light that whet my appetite but it was also the emerging truth the comes with familiarity with a subject. Too often we seek the unfamiliar with photography, forgetting our own backyard. The truth can be found in the familiar. Revisiting a subject over and over is like peeling an onion. I've only begun with the Larkspur Palms.