I captured these photographs on a night last September when I was at home on the farm. The funny part is that I forgot about them until today, and I can’t even say what reminded me of them. I look out my window in Missouri and the world is blanketed in white, so these dark, muggy nights of starlight that are blanketed in the wonder of blazing cricket and frog song seem so far away. Dad and I started out the night on the mule (no, not the animal, but rather the ATV). I hung my head out the side and saw the magnificence of a sky that only those far enough from a city can know. With so little light around, you can literally see the milky way. As a professional photographer, I have wonderful equipment, but I don’t really have the type of setup to capture the glory of the night sky.
Somehow, I conned my Dad into sitting for long, 30-second exposures while I tried to capture some of the magic of that evening. We even ended up dragging my Mother along after awhile so she could experience the magic of the late summer evening.
I’m 29 years old, and moments like these take me right back to childhood. My parents have always supported my unbounded creativity and my desire to revel in and capture the world around me. They bought me my first film camera when I was in middle school. I spent most of my rolls of film trying to capture the beauty of the Iowa sky. I’ve always been arrested by the natural beauty around me so deeply. I didn’t have the vocabulary for it when I was younger, but I know now that I was being drawn into the longing toward some deeper beauty than I could possibly imagine or explain. Staring into the deep summer sunset, seeing earth-shine on a cold winter moon, or seeing light break through the clouds has always made me ache with such an intense depth – it is a type of intoxication. Only now do I see what it is God, wooing me through his creation with glimpses of his beauty and mystery.
I hope that when I’m eighty, should God allow me to be on earth that long, I’m still chasing sunsets and starry nights with my camera.
Happy Friday, dear ones.
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This shot looks back over the sleeping farm. The yard light looks like a fire because of the long exposure. If you look closely in the sky, you’ll see the big dipper.