It was an unusual, endless summer in Vancouver. Sunshine stretching for days, with mauve and coral full moon sunsets dazzling everyone. I lost my desperate need to capture every ray as I started to actually relax and believe the weather forecasts that promised sunshine would still be around the following day.
This whole summer our home was disrupted by renos to overhanging balconies, my garden was in tatters, scaffolding shaded my french doors and disarray was all around…but I could escape to the beach or nearby lakes or fields and find warm bliss.
We packed up picnics and impromptu meals… just walking out our steps away from our construction site of a patio and plunked down on nearby grass or the community gardens and dined away. I could balance my ‘I need to be indoors and catch up on things’ days with my ‘I need to be outside and connect to nature, walk and swim days’ without foreboding skies dictating my whims. It was not just me enjoying this weather.The Instagram feed was aglow with images of glowing skies. Super moons and candlelit pop up dinners lit the evening air.
Being a lover of summer, nature, a photographer et al, of course I had to share my own images of the splendid summer. I’ve never been a huge fan of “sunset photos” as they seem a bit cliche and predictable, like firework photos or rainbow photos, the same colorful thing over and over. Better to ‘experience’. Yet every now & then I captured a radiant beauty of a sky I just couldn’t resist sharing and much to my surprise instantly it would get so many likes. I was like ‘hmm. People REALLY like photos of sunsets’
At times I might post something much more unique, thoughtful, inventive, rare, unusual or breathtaking that would be overlooked, but those sunsets were a winner!
After a while I noticed a pattern….certain images with specific elements were consistently drawing people in and seemed to bring them genuine joy. A statistician could enter all this data ( as they do, I know, to calculatingly concoct the “perfect winner” of an image ) but my process was more about considering what scenes, compositions and settings moved and attracted humans beings, and why? No doubt a softly shaded graduated display of rosy sundown colors, is in itself is an enticing and uplifting scene as we watch the sun say good bye for the day. Plus a horizon. A foreground and a background involving some lovely natural silhouette or manmade structure.
As I travelled throughout BC this summer on daytrips, roadtrips and foraging adventures, I must say it was wonderful to see how, as Canadians, we really do love to get out and explore. We do embody the tourism tag ‘exploreBC’.
I gathered smooth stones on the beach in Qualicum and thought ‘am I crazy?’ as I lugged in my beach bag along the shore. Yet everyone delighted at my presentation of these hand selected smooth egg shaped rocks I placed in a rustic wooden bowl at the shop and thought I was clever not crazy. People respond to simple natural forms.
This summer I fell in love with a property for sale up the coast that contained much of the natural magic I am describing. You could hear the nearby ocean. Birds sang above. Deer with velvety antlers nested under shrubbery.
Wild roses bloomed. The air smelled like sweet pine, warm earth, sea salt and blossoms. Sun blasted everywhere. I could just imagine myself drinking my tea in the garden, painting and writing, and then dipping in the fresh sea.
Evenings with laughter and candlelight on a terrace surrounded by lavender I would plant. When I learned this place had slipped through our fingers and sold I cried and cried. People reassure me another place will come along, but I do feel some places just hold more magic than others.
I am seduced by summer, and the nearby sea, earth that can grow into blooms and brambles, the rustle of soft grasses, visits by wild and free creatures, and yes just like everyone else, dreamy sunsets.
As September is about to surrender to Autumn, the scaffolding has now been removed from our patio. My hydrangeas have turned pink so I know fall is near. The sky will darken early, the chill will nip at my shoulders, meals will be eaten inside. As other’s delight in the thought of cozy sweaters and boots and hunkering down, I will reminisce about this endless summer. Despite upheaval and upsets, each evening as dusk fell I was reminded of the glory of our world, our earth, the turning of the tides, the moon and the sun and how much I want to capture, nurture and explore it’s ever alluring mysterious beauty.
All images copyright Heather Ross 2014 Not to be used without written permission