The End of Night, Seattle

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Morning Sky, Night on the Street, Seattle, USA

Morning Sky, Night on the Street, Seattle, USA

There is an in-between time when it is no longer night but it is not quite daytime either. The dawn is usually a gradual linear event, progressing from dark to light, sometimes enhanced with colors.

In general I don’t photograph sunrise or sunset skies. It has been done to death, and it doesn’t interest me. Also I think taking a picture of the light source isn’t as interesting as taking a picture of what the light is shining on. It is like looking into the flashlight in the dark, rather than what the flashlight is pointing at. The low angle ‘golden’ light of dawn or sunset changes the appearance of everything that it shines on. It creates interest from the shifted colors and from the long shadows. Photographers talk about this light a lot.

But I couldn’t help taking this photograph. The low intensity sunrise colors of the sky are beautiful, especially the blue contrasting with the orange and pink clouds, but I also think it is a two part scene. That is what caught my attention.

The sky and upper floors of the high rise buildings are in dawn light. But at street level it is dark.

This corner newspaper store advertises in bright lights the news that people will read during the day ahead. The passing cars still use their lights to see. The pavement is definitely still in the dark, except for the bright clouds and lights reflecting off of the edge of a manhole cover. The street lights and awning lights are still needed by people walking to work. It is still night on the street.

But if you were in an upper floor apartment/office you could see out over downtown Seattle to the horizons. It would be daytime, mostly. If you took the elevator to the street you would emerge into night again.

This in-between time is short-lived, but interesting.

I was in Seattle to photograph street scenes and the famous Pike Street Market. I hadn’t realized that the sky was turning pink and orange. I had been facing the other way toward the entrance to the market and photographing at street level as the vendors set up their stands. They were night scenes.

I was surprised when I looked over my shoulder and saw that it was daytime in the ‘upper part’ of Seattle already.

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