Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summer, where have you gone?

Photographers are more attuned to the changing seasons than average folks. Those of us who depend on where the sun is in the sky are particularly aware of two particular times of the year when everything changes. The change that takes place on the two solstices, winter and summer are subtle, barely perceptible for a least a few weeks when it becomes apparent that the daylight is either waxing or waning. It is the two equinoxes, spring and fall, as the sun crosses the equator, when the real change happens. In spring, anything that faces north will see it's first rays of sunshine for six months. Conversely in autumn, those northern exposures say goodbye to the sun for a long winter's nap,  It's especially apparent in a city like Chicago where streets run parallel to the lines of latitude and longitude. Here buildings on these perpendicular streets have a facade facing due north. If you want to photograph a north facade illuminated by sunlight, you have to shoot it roughly between March 22 and September 22nd, interestingly enough, my mother and wife's respective birthdays.

It's those streets running due east and due west that witness sunrise and sunset directly at their vanishing points. Case in point:

This picture was made yesterday, approximately 14 hours before the sun crossed the equator this morning, marking the inexorable march toward winter in the northern hemisphere, and summer in the southern hemisphere.

These milestones of every year, like birthdays, anniversaries, and the New Year, signify the inexorable march of time, or rather, in the words of the poet Henry Austin Dobson:

Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.

Alas such is life. 
If only we wouldn't go so fast.

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