Quality of light

I love the way the light changes as we go through the year and the seasons change. Different times of year have a very different quality of light associated with them. Then, of course, time of day and weather conditions on any given day add a layer of ever changing complexity. I think what I am trying to say is that I am fascinated by the constantly changing, but on many levels pattern governed, way my world is illuminated …

Today I went for a wander along the Seven Sisters with the specific intention of enjoying the sunshine and the descent into evening that happens so early at this time of the year. I sat and watched the sun set over the sea, which was lovely. For once I had no electronic devices (not even a camera as my battery was run down so I left it in the car) so today’s adventure was very much about my immediate experience.

My favourite observation, made more precious by being more fleeting than I anticipated, was the way the light from the sun during the last 20 minutes before sunset made the crests of the gentle waves it picked out glitter and sparkle. I know the metaphor of light sparkling off water is a well worn one, but patches of the water were truly glittering in their movement. The sea was very calm today with only gentle ripples. As a result of the angle of light from the sun as it dipped lower only the tops of the ripples within a wedge extending from the horizon were illuminated. After first wondering how I’d manage to sit for 20 minutes with no camera, my attention was completely absorbed by the constantly rolling, bobbing, glittery slivers of water caught within the arc of the sun’s reflection. As the sun dipped lower a lesser surface area of the waves was illuminated and bit by bit the glitter disappeared, well before the sun dipped below the sea. I wasn’t expecting it to be gone so quickly, but then I was no longer sure by then how long I’d been staring out over the sea.


I left my mobile in the car and took a picture once I’d finished my walk, hence the above. I was glad not to have it while watching the sun set as being without camera forced me to focus on the experience and not document it.


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