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 Nature Photography :: Essays :: The Ephemeris

I remember camping at The Grandstand, so named because of the views it affords of Albina Lake, Lady Northcote's Canyon and Mount Townsend. After a day of featureless sky we were rewarded with some outstanding storm clouds, followed soon after by very low cloud that partially engulfed our position.

The bottom of the cloud was actually at eye level as it writhed in the canyon adjacent to our camp site. By this time we were in semi-darkness. However, hundreds of feet above, the top of the cloud was still lit by the sun and, by some strange quirk of nature, a small vertical sliver of cloud was illuminated by orange light from the setting sun.

The sliver turned and twisted while maintaining its orange glow amid the cold blue of the evening. It was so waif-like, so transitory, so ephemeral, that I felt it should have a name, and that name should be "Ephemeris".

For several minutes I stood and watched Ephemeris as it danced; so beautiful, so captivating and yet so un-photographable. I was tempted to rush for my camera but my hand was stayed by experience. I knew that if I tried to photograph Ephemeris I would fail. I would create an inadequate two-dimensional facsimile that would in no way depict what I was seeing and experiencing.

I rejected the camera and as a result I have the image and the experience permanently imprinted in my mind.

Some things are just too beautiful to photograph. They cannot be captured and bottled by a camera or any other device. They should simply be experienced and savoured at a spiritual level.

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