The Halcyon Sunset

I have admitted a new image to my SeaDreams Collection. This special multi-year project gives me immense satisfaction because it is the closest thing I have come to painting emotion with my camera lens. It's of my own doing. There is never going to be anything like it produced by me or anyone else. As these images come to me, so does their title. Sometimes it happens while I am composing the image in the field and sometimes it only comes to me with research into the feelings and emotions it elicits from me.


I've named SeaDreams #26, "Halcyon." It conjures up a feeling of happy days gone by. Mr Webster defines halcyon as an adjective "denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful." Interestingly the word can also be used as a noun! Both a mythical and an actual tropical bird are named, Halcyon. I like this one; " a mythical bird said by ancient writers to breed in a nest floating at sea at the winter solstice, charming the wind and waves into calm." Yes!  This image came after a mainly fruitless sunset/evening session. It's something I do when I am feeling robbed of creativity. I give it over to randomness and emotion instead of precise framing. 

Since the internet began you might say the "halcyon days" for this word was 2012 to 2017 when it surged nearly 10x its normal in Google search. Several things combined for it to happen. An English singer songwriter, Ellie Goulding, put out an album called, "Halcyon" in 2012. Somewhere around this time, Fujitsu also introduced a ductless air conditioning system called "Halcyon" to retrofit houses without ducting...LOL. and finally, a British TV show called "The Halcyon" debut in 2017.Throw in a popular San Francisco nightclub, a few hotels, a couple resorts and the word sits as popular now as it was perhaps in halcyon days gone by.

My first interpretation of the word, halcyon, came when I visited Halcyon Cove aka Disckenson Bay on the island of Antigua in 1983. I was a crew member on a Hinkley 48, named, White Cloud. It was as idyllic a tropical place as could be. The staid Halcyon Cove Resort was a "bespoke" British resort. I read how it actually deteriorated and was foreclosed on by the Antigua government in the mid 2010's. Sandals was poised to take over the refurbishment of the property but then came Covid. The resort is closed as of now. Antigua had just gained independence from Britain in 1981 after 350 years of ruling it. English Harbour and Nelsons Dockyard contain many buildings and ruins from the days of Horatio Nelson who served as Captain of HMS Boreas, based there from 1784-87. It must have been quite a scene then... Researchers have found large concentrations of lead in bones of 18th Century sailors buried in Antigua and it is believed that lead pipes used in the operation to make rum as well as lead lined water cisterns were most likely the culprits. At some point they switched the lead out and people began to live longer and not act quite so crazy!



My SeaDreams use a camera technique I call "intentional camera movement." While I certainly didn't discover it, I learned it from a mentor several years ago and find a great deal of satisfaction with the randomness of the act. It's not out of the question that only 1 out of perhaps as many as 1000 shots taken result in success. The key is to find the right shutter speed to cause blur but not too much so as to hide the scene entirely. Two photographers are credited with being the first to use the technique in their creative process; Kotaro Tanaka (1901-1995) who was also an early proponent of color photography may have been the first. Ernst Haas (1921-1986) is perhaps best known for his use of the technique in the 1956 image he took, called "Bullfight in Pamplona." Both of them are interesting to study as they used real life images to create their impressionistic art, perhaps holding tighter to the photographic practice than where I feel i am at presently as a painter with a lens. They both used film while my experience has been all digital.

If you have been following my blogs about my images you'll know I like to end each piece with some music. Yes, there is a band named "Halcyon." It's a singer songwriter pair of women named Debbie Hunseder and Stephanie Callahan, who formed in 1989 and as far as I can tell, are still performing. Their music is not my cup of tea but with nearly 4 decades they are venerable.There is also a Halcyon Band from Australia who have several "Experimental/Post Metal" albums. Never having been a metal fan, I really could only listen to them for a minute or so... I also found a Halcyon Harp and Lute Duo who play 17th century Italian music. It's really quite lovely and could be the mood of this imagery. 

But then I found the band, "Orbital," who created a "house techno" electronic piece of music called "Halcyon On and On," which, I think suits the imagery very well! What do you think? I like ambient electronic music more than trance as it is not as repetitious, This is both melodic and works into a great beat too! Of course, Orbital, is brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll from Britain. with nearly 18 million views of this video it is safe to say they are quite popular. i certainly can't complain about the imagery they have coupled this tune with to be sure!  They began in British clubs as early as 1989. So, its safe to say they were at the beginning of the rave scene in England. DJ Mag has much more to say about them than i ever could. But it's safe to say they deserve being framed by my SeaDreams #26 image, "Halcyon." 

Here is a complete list of the names of my 26 SeaDreams in order of their creating 1-26 ::: So far 6 of them have been released here

Becalm, Adrift, Ashore, Perception, Shorebreak, Turbulence, Astonishment, Tidal, Hightide, Ribbons, Ethereal, Cascade, Eternal, Chimera, Approaching, Overwhelm, Juncture, Contact, Tropic, Riptide, Quandary, Tranquility, ConvergenceSunswept, Timestamp and Halcyon. It is my most sincerest wish that this collection find a home at a hospital, senior care facility or something in need of uplifting emption and joy!