Magic Hour In Ohio


Ohio gets its name from the Iroquois word ohi-yo meaning “great river.” In Japanese the sound-alike word, “ohayo,” is an informal way of saying “good morning.” In filmmaking parlance, the time when our place on the planet turns toward the sun is the equivalent of a “fade-in,” a transition from black screen to a scene. The fade-out of the day is dusk of course. Photographers and others refer to these periods of grading sunlight as “magic hour,” and for good reason—the world puts on a different face as darkness gives way to yellow and increasingly bluer light. The change in color temperature is so gradual it’s barely perceptible—except when you’re out with a camera and you have to rush to get the shot before the light changes. In those moments, seconds can make the difference between a shot that elicits a “Wow!” and one that doesn’t.

The ancients speak of the day as being “born” when the sun rises. Standing in the early morning fog, poised in the silence interrupted only by frogs croaking and geese taking flight, I understand that. In the dark, sitting in the car next to a lake or forest, waiting for the first rays of light to brighten the sky, there’s the feeling of pure potential. When the fog and details of the scene slowly appear—as the possibilities becomes actualized—it’s time to get out of the car and respond to the atmosphere, forms and colors.

Being alone in nature to witness the birthing of a new day is indeed, magical. In the observation of life as a complex of interacting processes, there’s a hint of the primordial—like this is how it was before cars and telephones and people. There, in front of my camera, the universe is expressing life, manifesting infinite variety and complexity in a process of realizing unlimited potentials.

In the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Khalil Gibran

About These Images

I plan my photographic excursions so I can  settle into a lodging facility by five or six o’clock in the evening, depending on the season. A half hour later I set out with my camera and shoot until dark. I’ll have something to eat and go right to bed so I can get up and out in the morning while it’s still dark. I’ll shoot through magic hour, and then return to the room to shower. Depending on the location, I will photograph during the day if conditions warrant, but more often I just scout the countryside for interesting locations.

I usually pick an area for its particular ecological and geologic features. Once there, I try to get lost. With a GPS system, I can always find my way back to the motel. I favor dirt roads, always keeping an eye out for ponds, streams and interesting vistas. Always, it’s the quality of the light and atmosphere that determines my direction. As much as possible, I keep the sun on the driver’s side so it backlights the landscape.



Early Morning Pond



Early Morning Pond



Weeds on Pond



Early Morning Pond





Early Morning Pond



Early Morning Pond



Early Morning Pond



Tree Reflection in Pond



Early Morning Pond



Sheep In Meadow Fog



Georgetown and east to Paris, KY




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