“Like a Great False Dawn”

“Like a Great False Dawn”

“Beauty is seeing a flower bloom in a garden or in nature.
Artificial is seeing that same flower try and grow in a vase of water.” 
― Anthony T. Hincks

The only words that came to me as I gazed across the horizon, while driving home from a concert last night, was that it looked like a gloaming false dawn. As you can see from the image, there are streaks of blue and red created by the reflected light of Toronto reflecting from a shifting, low cloud deck. It really looks like the sun is rising on the horizon, except this was close to 11:00pm!

I have seen this phenomenon (light pollution) before but nowhere as intensely as yesterday evening. The combination of low, frost filled clouds and millions of city lights, was ideal to create this effect. It also made me wonder, more than ever before, the effect that this amount of artificial light can have on us. The sky directly above me was dark, as I was travelling several miles north of Toronto, between the various town lights, yet I was surrounded by these false dawns, each one marking the a town or city.

As I drove towards my home town of Stouffville, the effect also manifested itself, but not quite to this degree. I made not eof how the light transitioned from darkness, and suddenly I was enveloped in this canopy of light. It felt like a dark, overcast day more than it did night-time. It was actually a bit disorienting and a bit spooky.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@200mm

1/2 sec, f/3.2, ISO 500

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18 Comments on ““Like a Great False Dawn”

  1. A great capture from your position to the north. Your description of it as a bit spooky is pretty accurate. In the city it never gets truly dark, except during widespread power outages – but that’s a different story 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Ed, and best wishes for a happy holiday.

  2. Beautiful photo! To me it looks like steam lifting off of the Niagara River on an early morning or at dusk. This happens on a cold day when the water is still much warmer than the air. Nice capture. 🙋🐦

  3. I love this photo Ed. It does appear that the dawn is rising. I grew up far from light pollution and am always disappointed at how few stars I can actually see in the night sky now that I live near a city.

  4. I enjoy seeing flowers in vases, but my Dad always told me not to pick them. But I’m with you about the darkness. Our bodies seem to needs the right mix of darkness and light to thrive and I would not be surprised if the same applied to many other living things.

  5. As usual, Ed, a beautiful photograph. Sorry for the late reply. It’s been a busy a couple of months.
    I hope 2018 finds you and your family well.

    Anthony T. Hincks

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