It’s the first day of Spring, but it’s still cold, overcast and windy. A typical March for Cincinnati. I selected this image because it accurately reflects my emotional circumstances. February here was cold and snowy, but no where near the severities experienced by those to the south and northeast, so that was a blessing. However, the gloomy don’t-want-to-go-out-or-do-anything weather combined with a head cold that took three weeks to overcome had me in the dark—at the bottom of the staircase.
The stairway risers still looks a bit challenging, but the light of Spring at the top urges me forward, to rekindle the zest that lurks inside. By the time I get to the top of the stairs I will have made good progress on indoor projects, so when I open the door questions both practical and creative will be revealed.
Step by step, one at a time—the crocuses and daffodils are coming up. Blades of greed grass are pushing through the yellow lawn. The geese are returning to the golf course pond behind us and we’ll be making trips to the garden store. I’ve already started wearing a lighter jacket. Approaching the door at the top of the steps, I’ll be changing out my winter clothes for short sleeve shirts and shorts. And it’ll be time to go outside again with a camera. Isn’t it wonderful to see light at the end of the—stairway?
Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!’
About This Image
Title: Light At The End Of The Stairway
File #: 781-C1
Location: Shakertown, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky
I’ve long been attracted to Shaker simplicity and textures. Their architecture, both interior and exterior, reflects a strong tendency toward symmetry, convergence and the use of window light. They were also keen to center a room using a grandfather clock or a chalkboard—in this case, a window, which is itself symmetrical. Although the handrail breaks the symmetry with the opposing wall in this image, it creates an equally powerful vector that points to the window. The banister, stairway and wall moulding create a convergence that draws our attention. And that was no accident. Certainly, the architect pre-visualized it. I imagine he or she also saw its statement as a metaphor for life as an ascent.
This was a challenging exposure situation for me. Fortunately, I had a Spot Meter with me, so I took the reading off the white wall at the top of the stairs. That would render the walls near the window as middle gray. The other values, from black to bright white fell into place accordingly. I’ve printed this with more detail in the shadows, but I prefer this version so the eye leads up the stairs. The solid, rather than detailed black areas provide a nice frame.