Midnight In The Garden Of Long Exposures | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Midnight In The Garden Of Long Exposures

Feeble human eyes require a certain level of light to see color. Cameras, though, have the magical ability to expose the world at night. Husband-and-wife photographers Diane Cook and Len Jenshel have been playing with long-exposure photography for years — more specifically, in moonlit gardens.

National Geographic magazine hired the couple to shoot a series specifically for the March issue. Even more photos, including a few from their personal archives, are on display at the magazine's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The stars have to align for one of these photos to turn out — almost literally. "Moonlight has its own soft, romantic poetry," the couple writes in a National Geographic dispatch, "but to get it right when photographing a garden at night requires some hard science."

The moon's orbit wobbles, for one, so it might never crest above tree line. There's also the unpredictability of weather. And for this specific magazine series, the photographers sought out specific flora — some of which only blossom once a year. The odds of successfully capturing this blooming waterlily were not high.

But that careful, meditative process is part of the pleasure. On National Geographic's website, Cook and Jenshel reflect about the making of one photograph in particular — a 40-foot cherry blossom tree in Kyoto, Japan. "Standing there is like going to a mountaintop in Tibet or India and finding this elder who's going to grant you wisdom," Cook says.

It was a bittersweet moment for Cook, whose father had just died.

"We fully understood then what the Japanese had been practicing for centuries," she says. "That in our busy lives we need to make time to appreciate life's ephemeral nature."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Publicly Shamed:' Who Needs The Pillory When We've Got Twitter?

Host Steve Inskeep explores modern-day humiliation with writer Jon Ronson, whose new book So You've Been Publicly Shamed digs into the lives of people who've been raked over the coals on social media.
NPR

Our Food-Safety System Is A Patchwork With Big Holes, Critics Say

More than a dozen federal agencies play a part in keeping food from making Americans sick. Critics say the system has gaps, and we'd all be safer if federal food safety efforts were under one roof.
WAMU 88.5

Q&A: Maryland State Sen. John Astle On 'Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill into law Monday evening declaring every March 30 "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day." WAMU spoke with Astle at his office in Annapolis.
NPR

With 'Single-Stream' Recycling, Convenience Comes At A Cost

Many Americans now have access to a commingled recycling system, which lets users mix plastic, glass, paper and metal together in one bin. It's much easier, but not nearly as efficient.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.