Light is something to which I almost always pay special attention. The lack of it or the streams of it or way it highlights and reflects, makes objects recede or come forward. Whether this comes from loving to take photos, having S.A.D. or what, I’m not sure. Some days the lights is perfectly crisp, angular and runs out too quickly when you have plenty of scenes to shoot. Sometimes it makes the needles on our local pine trees look shiny and wet. In a garden, light plays a very important role for the plants and the people. In a church with stained glass windows, the light is wonderful inside during the day and wonderful outside at night.
We had a perfect day of light during the last day of a trip to St.Francisville, Louisiana a few Halloweens ago. We went to see The Myrtles, whose story will be saved for another day, but the next day was spent touring an old Episcopal Church and it’s cemetery. I love old cemeteries. I know lots of people who share my love and a few people who think I’m weird for loving cemeteries. It’s one of those things that you either understand or you don’t.
It was a Saturday and the church members were having a day of grounds work so the church was unlocked. While my travel mates fanned out in the cemetery, I spotted the stained glass windows of the church and succumbed to the pull to test the antique wooden door for access. Success! The door opened and I had the whole place to myself. The first thing I noticed was the light through the stained glass windows and the different color on the right side of each window sash.
The window behind the altar was a great one and with my flash off, the area was just dark enough to highlight the colors on the glass.
I was losing the light outside so I reluctantly stopped taking inside photos and walked around the church. The back of the church had a huge oak tree with a branch that seemed to be “protecting” the church. I converted this one to black and white to better highlight the differences in light.
I love the contrast of the stains on the marble and the pure white on the angel carved into the base of this headstone spire.
There was a butterfly visiting a nearby late-autumn bloom and the light seemed to shine especially for it, casting almost everything around it into shadow.
Next we went to Rosedown Plantation and it was too late in the afternoon to tour the inside of the house but we roamed the grounds and gardens until our legs gave out. I saw my first real, live chipmunk in the side garden but it was too quick for my camera. This house is staged perfectly for a photo study in light effects. It has an alley of oaks leading up to the the home and on an afternoon with fading light, the shadows were long.
There is a gazebo in the front garden and statues between each of the huge oak trees. I converted this one to black and white as well, to highlight the contrasts of light and dark. There is also a lot of texture in this photo that is very visually interesting.
We left Rosedown and went down to Baton Rouge and wasted time before a haunted house opening by playing on the banks of the Mississippi River. I have wasted quite a few hours around the banks of the Mississippi and hope to waste quite a few more.
We were not the first visitors there that day…
And hopefully we weren’t the last visitors either.