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The Magic of Light

God Rays Hitting the Cliffs ©Lynne Buchanan, 2014
A week from tomorrow, I will be the featured artist at ArtWalk in Gainesville and will be showing photographs from my trips to Hawaii, as well as natural images from North Florida.  As I was printing, I came across some photographs that really made me think about the magic of light.  All photographers know the importance of light and how some conditions make your images really sing, while other lighting conditions make your subjects appear flat and lifeless.  Sometimes, however, the light just has to be from God.  This image was made on Molokai one morning on Land Conservation property.  We were scheduled to go to a beach to photograph the sunrise, but the incessant rain in Hawaii this past spring had flooded out the road.  Rikki Cooke got permission to take us here, to this higher spot overlooking the ocean and the cliffs, but then we arrived and it was all cloudy and everyone feared the morning was going to be a bust. (Actually, I didn't think so, as any morning in Hawaii is a morning well spent no matter what the conditions.)  Then suddenly these God rays started coming through the clouds and it just went on and on.  They were so powerful, they created pools of light on the surface of the water that were so bright it almost felt like you could step in them and get beamed up like in Star Trek.  No one in our group could believe their eyes.   The God rays got so wide, they took up the entire frame of my camera with my wide angle lens on.  It truly did seem like heaven on earth.

Magical Light ©Lynne Buchanan, 2014

Another afternoon, we were driving along the main road on our way back from a full day at the other end of the island.  The weather had been on and off and then suddenly we got to this spot and the storm clouds passed and the light lit up the field, the mountains behind, and the pool of water in front.  No doubt this particular landscape always appears lovely under any conditions, but when the light hit it, I could feel the pulsating energy of every blade of grass and even of the leafless trees.  Again, our jaws all dropped.  It was hard to take in all the beauty around us and it was unmistakable that this beauty was being revealed by this magic light.  The light, thought it did not take the form of God rays, was so intense and non-ordinary that it seemed divine even though it was totally immanent in this world.  It's importance was so great, that it almost seemed to be the subject.

Flowers by the Sea © Lynne Buchanan, 2014
Sometimes the magic light isn't outside the subject lighting it up.  Sometimes this magical light is within the flowers or even you and me.  These beautiful sunflowers by the sea made such a lovely foreground.  They were actually yellow, but I knew the luminescence within them was lighting up the whole landscape.  The cliffs on Molokai, being the tallest sea cliffs in the world, are always spectacular, but with these abundant, celebratory flowers near the edge, it made for a heavenly vista.

Pickerel Weed and Lotus Blossoms ©Lynne Buchanan, 2014
It is not necessary to travel to Hawaii to experience the magic of light and even at times of day when it  is not supposed to be any good, sunlight still has its miracles to reveal and flowers still open to emit their own light.  The photograph above is a close up of the pickerel weed that lines Paynes Prairie all summer.  Peak conditions for this subject occur between 11 am and 2 pm from my daily observation driving back and forth from Gainesville.  Very early and very late, the pickerel weed closes up and hides.  It takes the rays of the sun before it will fully unfurl and then the purple seems to explode across the prairie. The lotus blossoms dotting the landscape punctuate the rhythm of the pickerel weed and lovely light patterns are created.  Like the pickerel weed, lotus blossoms also close up at night.  This wisdom of opening and closing is something I have been learning from the flowers of late. When I do not turn within and integrate the unconscious which is the source of creativity and regeneration as well as my shadow,  I start to feel as if I will flicker out from shining my light too brightly and for too long. It is always a balance between inside and out, light and darkness, and it takes one polarity to make the other come into being...