Blue Bottles with Sunlight

A blue bottle by a window; sunlight touches the edge, sending rays of blue light shooting across the white shelf. Another blue bottle, another window, same light, different angles, but here wispy white lines dance with blue around the tall neck of the bottle and climb the white wall. These ethereal figures transform as the sun journeys across the sky; they change again as I turn the bottle; I can focus the lines. A mundane object glows with magic and I chase the light. I try to capture what appears to be fairy dust among reflections of reflections.

Just a blue bottle in the sun, a camera, a tripod, and an ordinary day.

Unlike some of the bolder reflections, the fragile projections of light disappear in bright sun, emerging only at the edge of the shadows. They move as I try to focus. They’re faint and constantly changing. I know that they appear at the edges of shafts of sunlight streaming at an angle through windows that are parallel to the house close beside mine. I think of pinhole cameras focusing light and prisms that split light into colors. My physicist friends mention sine and cosine functions, conic sections, and wave patterns. Physics and math intertwine with fantasy. Now the waves of light have lost their path to my windows as the earth tilts in a different direction. I wait to see if the sunlight will again dance on my walls in another season.

I love capturing the visual patterns in the things around us: a flower petal and its shadow, the sunset on ocean waves, ripples of water over a rock, ridges of sand just under the outgoing tide. I prefer natural light, long exposures with a tripod, and images that I can’t always predict. I do not manipulate images in photoshop or augment dramatic vistas with filters. Instead, I look for reality-based perspectives that allow one to ponder the nature of the ordinary and invoke the mystery of the world around us. I chase images that suggest rather than starkly inform. I paint with light.

I’m still looking for reflections from blue bottles in sunlight.