Photo Op: When the Sun Shines Sideways

Writer and photographer Barbara Falconer Newhall casts a long shadow on the trail during a walk in a California woods. Photo by BF Newhall

Six in the afternoon on the first day of May. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I took a late afternoon walk in the woods with my point-and-shoot camera the other day. The sun had dropped low in the sky, so the light was soft and it was coming at everything sideways.

The sun casts long shadows on pebbles and cracks in dried mud on a California walking trail. Photo by BF Newhall

A rainless California winter had left cracks and loose pebbles along the trail. Photo by BF Newhall

The golden seedheads of grass plants appear blue green in the late afternoon shadows. Photo by BF Newhall

I was trying to capture the beautiful golden color of these grass seedheads when the sun droppped behind some trees and turned them blue-green before my eyes. I didn’t spot the worm at upper left until after I’d downloaded the picture. Photo by BF Newhall

A hiker on a wide San Francisco Bay Area trail disappears in the soft late afternoon sunlight. Photo by BF Newhall

A hiker merged into the soft, end-of-day light. Photo by BF Newhall

More fun photos from my trusty point-and-shoot at “China’s One-Child Families,”  “For China’s Young Fashionistas, the Cultural Revolution is So Over”  and  “The Funky Charms of East Austin, Texas.”

The shadow of the photographer appears along side the shadows of the grass she is photographing. Photo by BF Newhall

That’s me again, trying to capture the grass and its long shadows. Photo by BF Newhall

A web of light and shadow marks the green leaf of a bower vine in the late afternoon sun. Photo by BF Newhall

Back home, our bower vine in shadow. Photo by BF Newhall



  1. I’m enchanted by your photos! My first thought was, “Cool! Look how tall Barbara looks in her slanted shadow”. My second thought was, “An artist took these pictures. She is able to see, really see.” Nice.

  2. Barbara, I like this piece and the photos. i guess we’re talking here about spring springing.

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      Yes. Spring has finally arrived in the Bay Area. March is usually the big month for spring flowers. But this year not much bloomed until we got a few days of rain last month. Some of our plants bloomed twice — a few blossoms in March, then another batch in late April

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