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(98% visible, tonight it will be full)
another good walk
sand lace | pink jelly
african black oystercatcher | wave rainbows
fisherman’s grave marker | roosting oystercatchers
strandroos (or sea lavender) | sunset colours over the ocean
These snaps were taken on another good walk, over the rocky outcrops and along the beach at Paternoster, during what photographers and cinematographers apparently refer to as the Golden Hour – the last (or first) hour of sunlight during the day. A time of day that is indeed very aptly named, producing wonderful, dreamy qualities of light. As it’s a grey and chilly winter’s afternoon here in Amsterdam I’m enjoying revisiting these ‘golden’ images (taken 18 December 2012) from my recent travels in South Africa…
(and the cape columbine lighthouse)
I took advantage of my time spent recently in the powerful and abundant South African sunshine to experiment with some ‘Sunography‘ paper I’d bought several years ago at the MoMA museum shop in NYC. The paper is a beautiful heavy-weight cold-pressed cotton watercolour paper treated with photographic chemicals which make it (sun)light sensitive on both sides. Sunlight sensitive paper (the cyanotype) was a forerunner of modern photographic processes – invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel and popularised by one of the first female photographers, Anna Atkins, in her very beautiful series of cyanotypes depicting British algae, ferns and other plant-life.
The process is wonderfully simple:
on a sunny day…
gather interesting objects
(whatever you have close at hand)
arrange them on sheets of sunography paper
and expose them to sunlight
(I exposed mine for between 71/2 and 81/2 minutes in very bright sunlight. The longer you expose the paper to the sunlight the deeper the resultant blue, but bear in mind that exposure time will impact on the detail achieved, which will also partly be determined by the transparency/opacity of the individual objects used. Cover flat objects with a sheet of glass to keep them in place on the paper during exposure – this is especially important if there is any wind about)
rinse the exposed prints
(using ordinary tap water)
hang up to dry
et voilà!… sunlight immortalised!
The results are infinitely pleasing, and the simplicity of the process makes it a very rewarding way to spend a lazy, sunny, summer holiday afternoon.
Hmm, now I think I’ll have to start planning another trip to NYC to get my hands on some more Sunography paper ;)
Botanical gardens, with their rich diversity of plant habitats conveniently brought together in one place, are fertile (no pun intended) hunting grounds for colour, texture and pattern inspiration. Although Amsterdam’s Hortus Botanicus is tiny compared to other botanical gardens I’ve frequented (namely London’s Kew and Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch) it is historically significant as one of the first botanical gardens ever established (founded in 1638) and is no less fascinating than its bigger counterparts (size isn’t everything!).
These are some early experimental shots taken there recently with my ‘new’ macro lens – oh, how I love it!
Twilight, the ‘blue hour’, is arriving earlier and earlier these days.
It’s a beautiful, painterly time of the day…