Along time ago I read a great newsletter by Fred Picker in which he described a particular and rare type of light that can occur around strong weather events and mostly during the summer. He called it squall light and described it like this:
“A black bright presence that arrives in a rush to announce heavy rain or high wind or a cold front coming through. Squall light, though rare, seems more frequent on summer evenings but it can appear, where I live, at any time of the year. Its effect is startling. Dark objects seem bright, somehow concentrated, as though charged with energy. Pale objects radiate light. The effect is unearthly, unsettling, exciting, surreal.”
To me it is perhaps the most eerie and beautiful light imaginable and I have been lucky to see it only a few times in my life. One of those times was a couple of weeks ago.
My wife was recovering from an absolutely awful virus that is going around and asked me if I could get her out of the house for a few minutes in the car. We would take a two-minute drive to the local coffee shop; I would run in to get her something, then we would quickly drive home.
I went in, got the coffee and came out to the small parking lot. And then I noticed it.
OMG it was beautiful. Of course I didn’t have a camera for this five minute round trip #$%^&#@$%^& but I did witness something I will always remember and cherish. Not only was there the squall light itself; it was accompanied by a beautiful rainbow!!!!
Most of us don’t get the opportunity to witness such a strange and beautiful event in our lives and unfortunately most are completely oblivious to such an occurrence when it happens. This was proven to me when I looked around at those walking on the street. None were aware or cared about the miraculous lightshow that was taking place around them!
I guess I really shouldn’t be too surprised. Because I photograph, love art, listen to music and read a lot, perhaps I am more in tune to such things. As fellow photographers maybe you are too. And this get’s back to my thoughts concerning the beauty and wonderful things that can be found around us as we go through our everyday lives … that we can capture or at least experience to astonish and push us forward in the craft we love … or if nothing else, just make us a little bit happier.
The squall light and rainbow was only visible for a few minutes, but I will remember it for the rest of my life.