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The Golden Hour

Landscape 2

Fallen Ginko

Sunlit Grasses

I left the office early on Thursday. I had a few hours to drive around Ann Arbor and enjoy the scenery before heading back to the airport and the flight home. I drove through the University of Michigan and appreciated the campus. It's very nice, with a number of interesting large outdoor modern-art sculptures. I would have parked and taken a few photographs, but everywhere I looked parking was marked as decal only, tow-away zones. So I left the campus, drove across 23, and made my way to the University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

With a limited amount of time I spent all of it out doors photographing the scenery. This is the late fall season; winter solstice is 22 December, a little less than six weeks away. And being a bit further north (just a bit), the days are noticeably shorter than even in Orlando. The upshot is that by the time I made it to the gardens it was the golden hour.

And what a golden hour it turned out to be. The weather was cloudy, pretty cloudy, with the clouds scuttling swiftly across the sun. It was the combination of sunlight when the sun was out combined with the clouds as a dark backdrop that lent an even more dramatic tone to the landscapes in front of me.

The light on the trees and rushes around the ponds reminded me of old Renaissance paintings with the large dark regions and brighter portions such as trees overlaid on the darker skies. The top photo in particular with its yellow-leaved trees were literally glowing against the cloudy skies when the sun came out. It was, to me, an emotionally moving sight.

If I were to make another move in my life, I could do a lot worse than move to Ann Arbor. I've only visited there twice, but the region in that part of Michigan is, to me, very beautiful. I could spend the rest of my life just walking around, enjoying, and photographing the region and its distinct four seasons.

All photographs taken with the E-1 and the ZD 50mm 1:2 macro lens. The top photo was lightly touched in Lightroom 3.5. The bottom two went through more extensive post processing, with the bottom photograph processed in Silver Efex Pro 2.0.1.


  1. "The light on the trees and rushes around the ponds reminded me of old Renaissance paintings with the large dark regions and brighter portions such as trees overlaid on the darker skies."

    I agree. And from thousands of miles away, it is emotionally moving to me too. Kinda makes me homesick...


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