The Scarcity of Daylight
Dealing with the winter blues and photography
I haven’t picked up my camera in a long while. For each of us, that definition of a “long time” can have a different meaning. A few weeks, a few months or even a year or more. Sometimes that reason is tied to changes in our lives, or just a lack of motivation.
In my case, it’s been a bit of both work and lack of motivation these days. Photographers love to chase light, even if it’s just the tiniest bit of it. Our eyes search and crave for light and our cameras are no different. While some will say they like to search for shadows, we still need the light to give importance to it. The reverse is the same as well. Besides, how do you know one exists without the other complimenting it?
As the days grow shorter and the darkness sets into the days for longer periods of time, it’s hard not to feel the effects of it. Dark winter days (at least in the northern hemisphere) can lead some to feelings of depression. I’m no different, though I feel like I’ve not really paid much attention to it until much later in my life.
Even on days when it’s just cloudy and overcast outside, it’s hard to appreciate how much I miss the sunlight. How just a beautiful sunrise can really make things better. But not just that, the fact that I can be out there and free to enjoy it without worry of deadlines is important to me.
For me it’s almost the same feeling with sunsets. Do you ever get that nostalgic feeling with them? I do. I get those feelings that I should be out there and watching it or trying to photograph it because it reminds me of some moment in my past that I want to re-live. Like a childhood memory. In the end, I never seem to get it right, but it’s always worth chasing.
Capturing light and shadow have equal importance to me. I see lots of photographers state that they “chase” or “capture” light. Of course we do, but I think it’s more than just wanting to use it to take a photograph. We look for those glimpses of life because that’s what light give us, it brings us life. Like a small plant just starting to grow, it needs light. We need it externally like we need it internally.
With the limited time that we have during our daylight hours in the winter months, it makes it even more important to expose ourselves to natural light. Even if it means not getting the camera out, sometimes it’s just more important to take care of yourself first before your photography. Bringing the outside light into you can ignite the light inside of you and give you life.
I’m not really sure where I was going with this post. I thought I did, but as I wrote it, it sort of got away on me and I went on some wild tangent. I think I’m just missing some good sunshine. Not just that, but I think my camera is missing it as well. My eyes and my soul are missing it.
Finding that time, that space, while limited in the winter months, is important. I don’t like giving up something that I love to do. Find things that light you up. Even if you can’t get outside, find something that lights you up on the inside. Let it burn and let it inspire. Crave it, even in the darkest of days. It will always be there. Waiting for you to find it and bring life to you.
“Light makes photography. Embrace it. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”
- George Eastman