Early Morning Critters of the Auvergne, France 2011 - 2014

When the light of morning is cast on a landscape, a new world is revealed. It is like looking through a new lens where hues and tones are radically different from the hours of mid-day when the light is harsh, blinding, the air is hot and the shadows are as sharp as knives. This is not so in the mornings. There are no noises, no sounds of cars, towns or people and not even the singing of birds can be heard. This makes for a very strange and magical time.

          

When out walking early in the morning, I stop and observe my surroundings. At my feet I see a thin layer of frost which crunches with every step I take, trees stand still as if frozen by the cold and a thin band of glowing warm light paints the hill tops announcing the arrival of the rising sun. Standing still, I close my eyes and strain to hear any sign of life but nothing catches my senses. I feel a total bliss broken from time to time by the sound of my breathing, slowly inhaling and exhaling the cold crisp air which tingles my nose with each new breath. Further on my walk I pass a field where I had photographed much of the insect and animal life. I do not find the ever-moving hawk moth that flies from flower to flower nor do I hear the chirping of grasshoppers which usually fills the air, or the buzzing of a simple fly which bothers me with persistent energy and determination. After closer inspection of the field, I discover that all of these creatures are sleeping. Some are hanging from long stalks of dried grass, others on beds of moss and open flowers. During the night a butterfly had accumulated beads of dew on its wings which resembled an extravagant coat of pearls. 

          

Sadly this world is seen by only a few people.  Stressed commuters rush to work and do not take the time to relax and appreciate this special time, whereas hikers go out to enjoy the morning’s beauty and to have a fresh view of the ordinary. Photographers make use of the radiant light to capture photographs of these rather special moments which they have come to name appropriately:

 

“The golden hours” of the day.