Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m a nut for sunrise and sunset pictures. I’ve taken hundreds of them, and I’ll bore people with them every chance I get. I have so many, I often can't even remember where they were taken. (This one I know…it’s off of my deck looking west northwest.) Sometimes I don’t even know if the picture I’m looking at is a sunrise or a sunset. But I can see now that those older pictures are sterile and actually pretty uninteresting. That’s because there is no framing. And that’s where those wonderful silhouettes come in.
In the early days when I took sunrise/sunset pictures, I didn’t want anything to get in the way of the beauty before me. I zeroed in on the spectacle and took snap after snap as the sun either rose or set. I, in effect, genericized the bloody things. Now I look to see how I can frame it, and since it’s usually either still dark or getting dark, everything I see is a silhouette.
In fact, with the right backlighting, silhouettes can appear anywhere. I love the idea that I can make out what something is, even if it’s totally black, simply by its shape. And I have to believe my appreciation comes directly from watching sunrises and sunsets all of my life.
So why didn’t I see this before? I’ve always been crazy for silhouettes, ever since the teacher stood me against a wall, shined a light on me, and drew my profile on black construction paper. (My mom framed it. It’s around here somewhere, so don't be surprised if it suddenly appears here one day. It looks just like me. Uncanny.)