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Friday, 23 December 2016


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And the latest sunrise comes early in January. Makes pre-dawn photography kind of easy...

[I was actually out there this morning shooting the crescent moon, Venus, and Mars, with a little "dawn fill" in the sky.... --Mike]

Right there with you on those sunset times. If I see a sunrise, it's only because I've stayed up too late, working on a project or being distracted by the mighty web. I'm typing this at 17:26 and it has been dark for a while—it's slightly depressing.

When I'm working with a photographer and comment on a sunset, it inevitably turns out to be a sunrise—after all this time, the thought still doesn't cross my mind.

Thanks for another year of excellent writing, Mike. I wish you a very happy Christmas break and a very successful 2017.

Hi Mike. My wife and I went to Canada a few days ago for her music tour. We drove north on Interstate 86 and passed below the Keuka Lake area. We could not stop but I did honk and wave as we went by.

Mike, addendum to my earlier comment. You can add this in.

My wife played in Kitchener, Ontario. We got to the venue, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. And they directed us to set up her equipment in the Edward Burtynsky exhibit room. Amazing.

And here I thought I was the only one who kept track of the earliest sunset as one of the two big turning points of the year!

Next stop: the latest sunset, but that's still far enough off to give us plenty of time to enjoy ever longer evenings!

So a Merry Lighter & Brighter to you and yours too, Mike!

Happy Christmas Mike and to all the TOP community.

Merry light increasing! Perhaps you'll enjoy this as well:

In Dark December

(by Ralph Murre, poet laureate of County Door)

"Whatever you believe,

whatever you do not,

there are sacred rites

you must perform

in dark December.

Do this for me:

Pull together

the kitchen table,

the folding table, and that odd half-oval

usually covered

with bills and broken pencils

and red ink.

Pull together family and friends,

cool cats and stray dogs alike.

Turn off everything

except colored lights,

the roaster,

the toaster, the stove.

Cook. Bake Eat.

yes, even the fruitcake.

Eat, crowed around

those assembled tables

with mismatched chairs.

Reach so far

in your sharing

that you hold the sun

in one hand,

the stars in the other,

and no one between is hungry.

Now walk together,

talk together, be together

on these dark nights.

Give and forgive.

Light candles and ring bells.

Sing the old songs.

Tell the old stories

one more time,

leaving nothing out,

leaving no one out

in the long night,

leaving nothing wrong

that you can make right."

Ever hear of SAD-seasonal affected disorder?
SAD's prevalence in the U.S. ranges from 1.4% in Florida to 9.9% in Alaska.
It's one of the reasons we moved from Boston to the SW corner of the US - days are still shorter in Winter but you are more able to spend time outdoors productively. We're already preparing for Spring planting!

I've always felt the same way this time of year, and not just because of the light but for the coming of spring and working in the garden. When I moved from LI, NY to eastern TN a few years ago I learned that the sunset time is later when you live in the extreme western edge of a time zone vs. the eastern side. In my case it added an hour, and apparently when you're not at an extreme N or S latitude, longitude makes a bigger difference in sunset time than latitude.

I agree 100% hate to see the sun go down. Unfortunately I am forced to evacuate my bed at 5:30 am to get the kids off to school and wake in darkness.
Some mornings I do manage to photograph pre dawn at my local lake and catch the beauty of morning reflected.
Photography makes the morning.

Or, of course, if you happen to live in the other 50% of the globe, just the reverse!

Happy holidays and a peaceful new year, Mike! Thanks for the diversity in you writing, in your topics, your knowledge and for your not so serious style, which is what makes me enjoy reading your blog. Here at 59 degrees north and in my location, we have sunrise at ca. 9.30, it makes for a short day. That gets longer in the summer though, with hardly proper darkness at night. I enjoy both, but the summer is wonderful...

"The time of sunset seems to influence my perception of the length of the day more than the actual length of the day, because I don't get up before dawn's first light very often. The later the sun sets the more I like it. The older I get the more I like the longer days and the light of the sun."

This is so very true for me as well. Thanks for putting that whole issue so succinctly.

Thank you for your wishes and thank you for the blog.
Hearty reciprocal wishes to you and all readers for Christmas and New Year.
In the spirit of light,

The sun is coming! Thanks for the juicy essays and learned editing. You're the first site I visit every day, and you're my one and only Amazon portal. Of course.

My perception of the day's length definitely hinges around the time of the sunset, plus it determines if I walk before or after having dinner. I delight in the longest days, where I can have a nice dinner anywhere from about 5 to 6pm, then take off for a long walk, often with camera in hand, to finish off the day in the best of ways - hiking & photography.

Then, as the days shorten, darkness forces an earlier and (drat) shorter walk to occur before dinner. The length of the twilight (and nice photography) shortens too. The only benefit to shorter days is longer Photoshop time :-)

Unrelated perhaps, but thank gawd for football going full swing during these short days!

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Mike!

Not only that, a clock assist in March makes it "later" still, by an hour.

Happy Holidays, Mike!

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