But I am glad for the luck
of light. Surely it is godly,
that it makes all things
begin, and appear, and become
actual to each other.
— from “October” by May Swenson
There is a distinct quality to October sunlight. A softer radiance than the harshness in summertime, scenes glow with an amber or honeyed hue, especially in the morning hours. Below is a series of photographs by Carol M. Highsmith taken in outdoor locations throughout the continental U.S. that exhibit the quality of October’s light:
Explore more than 1800 photographs taken in the month of October within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive. Highsmith, a distinguished and richly-published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. The archive which now has more than 30,000 digital images is expected to grow to more than 100,000 photographs covering all of the United States.
Dates on historical photographs can be misleading, representing anything from the date the image was taken, copyrighted, or published, to the date it was added to the collection. This series of Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information color photographs relating to farms were assigned October dates by the originating agencies. Have a look and see if you detect that special quality of October light (or other date-specific clues) in them!