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Treebeard's Stumper
17 October 2003

Autumn Light

We were talking about our California autumn at lunch last week. Art misses the Colorado aspens, so Cynthia said "Our fall is not about color. There's something about the light that is so beautiful." We do have fall colors here in central California, but the trees are just beginning their change. I know that Cynthia is absolutely right about our special autumn light! I've been noticing it every day as I drive to and from school. Fall is a time of change. Why does the sunlight itself change so much at this time of year that we all sense that something is afoot?

I realize this stumper is vague, and I don't have a photo that shows what I mean by "special autumn light". If you don't recognize what I'm talking about, then here's another sunlight stumper that is related. (It's also a hint!) Consider these two photos of my favorite tree in the perfect light. (Click on the left photo for a better copy at my Treebeard's Photos fotolog.)

August 8, 2003 August 9, 2002

Both photos show a glowing Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) tree with the setting sun off to the left. I took both photos from my deck at home on San Marcos Pass, California. I took the photo on the left one day last summer. I waited a few days to see if the lighting would get even better, but the effect stopped altogether. I searched my archives and found the almost identical shot on the right from almost the same date a year ago. (The exposure is different and the oaks have grown a bit so they are different; photos always are.) I have another stumper about The Perfect Light for photos. But why would that perfect light happen on almost the same day in the same place in different years?


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Copyright © 2003 by Marc Kummel /