Sunset has come and gone silently and the chilly night has begun extending its cloak over the lower mainland. It’s not completely dark yet, however, and I can see perfectly well around me despite the lack of daytime color. The forest is quiet but I meet a few late silhouettes walking their dogs or coming back from a trail run. I put my MP3 player away, preferring to enjoy the ever-present roar of the river. Fall has triggered new rainfall and the volume and level of the water are definitely higher than on my last visit.
A couple heading back hurriedly towards the parking lot smile at me, and I see them from the corner of my eye exchange quizzical looks. They obviously think I must be a little crazy walking into the park at dusk with my camera and a tripod, when daylight has all but vanished. They are right, and wrong. Crazy, I am. But the light certainly hasn’t vanished. What’s vanishing is only the strong light our very weak eyes manage to see, but that’s in no way all there is.
A camera sees the world in a very different way than we do. It has the ability to “see” and record the faintest light through long exposures and as such, it becomes a window into another world, a world that we will never see for ourselves but nevertheless exists around us, every time it gets dark.
My mission today is to start recording this world, and I’ve given myself an easy assignment. Since I’m depending on buses for my way back home from Lynn Canyon and the night temperatures are already dipping close to freezing, I’ll limit my experimental exposures tonight to a few minutes, prior to absolute darkness. Stay tuned, this will be an ongoing project, and it gets more amazing as the night matures and exposure times drag on up to a few hours…
For now, all I need is a tripod, a neutral density filter (proof that there’s still too much light for this to be the real invisible world), a remote cable, mirror lock-up and patience. It has gotten dark enough for the autofocus to give up and start roaming back and forth, so I switch to manual. And yet, the nearly invisible world is there and alive, as I find out later in Adobe Lightroom.