night

Posted by Ellen

By eleven o'clock on a Friday night, the streets of downtown Bessemer, Alabama, are empty, and the town looks dead. Even the Bright Star Restaurant is closed for the night.

The only thing open, it seems, at least on this block of 19th Street in Bessemer, is the office of Liberty Tax preparers. Wonder why the folks in there are burning the midnight oil?

Posted by Ellen

We take a brief break from admiring New Zealand in order to catch the view Friday evening from Drexel Park in West Philly, when the center city skyscrapers snagged the sunset.

Posted by Ellen

Last night, we saw a ram with a pomegranate in Fitler Square, Philadelphia.

Posted by Ellen

We shot this picture at night because well-mannered hibiscus flowers fold up and die at night, after just a single day of wide-open gorgeousness. This bloom's behavior is out of line; it has glowed like this for four or five days and nights now, and it shows no sign of giving up.

We should note that it's cold outside, downright frosty at night. And well-mannered hibiscus plants don't bloom at all in November in Pennsylvania. They give up and die.

There are no more buds on this plant, and many of the leaves have dropped now, or curled up, or turned brown and crunchy. So when this flower goes, that's it; the show's over. But what a show.

In richness and boldness of color as well as in longevity, this last swan song of a flower really outdid the pale, delicate blooms of summer. But oddly, perhaps, if we carefully compare the hibiscus flower of November with a flower from the same plant back in July, it becomes apparent that this new all-night, all-weather blossom is missing its male parts. And that's all there is to say about that.

Posted by Ellen

Photographer Trey Ratcliff called this picture "The Infity of Tokyo."

Posted by Ellen

In Hemis National Park in the extreme north of India, near the Tibetan border.

Posted by Ellen

On the street in den Haag, Holland.

Posted by Ellen

Japan's Mount Fuji, just before dawn.

This is a pretty spectacular photo, with the features of an iconic landscape dwarfed by a skyful of stars and clouds and hints of daylight. Modern cameras can capture this sort of scene more or less routinely if they are set up to stare into the night, lens wide open, without blinking or moving for, in this case, twenty seconds.

The human eye could drink it in at a glance, if only we were there. But we weren't there, sadly. This morning, we must make do with the picture, and fortunately it's a picture that rewards a slowly wandering eye with pleasant little discoveries in the realms of shadow and glow, detail and hulk, pattern and emptiness.