Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks for Golden Light

In 2001 I documented the world in photos and text for 365 straight days, editing the results into PowerPoint presentations every night. The project was eventually turned into 52 half-hour TV shows that ran on the public access station in San Francisco a couple of years later. "FotoTales," as it was called, also turned out to be a prototype for this blog.

November in Northern and Central California is subject to something called "tule fog," a dense, low-lying blast of water and air that changes texture every five minutes.

You can have fifteen feet of visibility one moment, and then the sun will be streaming through the mist in the next moment.

I played golf in a tule fog earlier this week at Lincoln Park, a San Francisco municipal course surrounding the Palace of the Legion of Honor Art Museum.

The poorly maintained course is bordered on three sides by cliffs fronting the ocean channel that leads to the Golden Gate Bridge, which can usually be seen from the vantage point above.

The place is like a poor man's Pebble Beach with even better views.

On the November day in 2001 when these photos were taken, the dense fog and the sun were creating light effects that looked unreal, as if they had been designed for an operatic stage.

The best effect was saved for the long, narrow 18th hole that led to the clubhouse.

The sun started shining between trees and mist and it looked for all the world as if God were speaking directly to us.

On this day, I give thanks to golden light.


Joe L. said...

THERE’S a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us; 5
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

E. Dickinson

Del4yo said...

Thank you so much for teaching me the word "tule fog"

I love this kind of fog. It's one of the beautifulest lights I ever see. Even better than sunset in nothern Italy.

guru-On-A-Soap-Box said...

Northern Italy does NOT mean Milano, I take it. But yes. Piemonte, over Lake Orta, in the fall....

Although the toxic skies of Milan can give a certain lovely lividity to the sun as if flees the city---bless its big heart.

Beautiful photos! I also miss the smell of fog. Particularly the smell of fog coming in over the hills on hot summer evenings---it picks up the tar grass and makes me feel like I'm living in a sublime bong.

Or something like that.

Anonymous said...

Lovely photographs! I hope my old Sony was a participant.

Del4yo said...

Guru> yes, but I was thinking more of the East and Adriatic side of Nothern italy. Padova, Mantova, Venezia.*sigh*

guru-On-A-Soap-Box said...

Yes yes, you absolutely right! It is unique light--as all those painters knew so well. I was taking yet another moment to be bitter about the city where I live.

Freudian Slip said...

Wow, that last pic with the sun shining through the trees is simply breathtaking. Cool stuff :)

sfwillie said...

Beautiful. I drove through GGP that morning and many lawns and meadows, and Spreckels lake big time, had that thin fog blanket.

I described it to my tennis partner as the sort of effect that photographers love. Just terrific!

Fragile Industries said...

Simply beautiful. Thanks for sharing these stunning shots.