Ephemeral. An odd-looking word, isn’t it? And yet I can visualize it moving in and out of one’s consciousness like gauze curtains billowing in a breeze. It’s defined as “lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory.” Here’s what started this train of thought:

I stripped down, antiqued and rebuilt this chandelier. It resides on my patio, where it sparkles in the afternoon sun and glows at night. My love affair with chandeliers began when I was ten years old, in December 1966, and my 5th grade class took a field trip to the Los Angeles Music Center. We trooped into the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where we viewed three gigantic chandeliers all lit up – I can’t remember anything else about that field trip. Just the chandeliers. They filled my entire field of vision. I was utterly captivated and fascinated by them – and that began my love affair with prismatic glass and the rainbows created by the prisms. I think you can see why:


(Yes. I do appreciate the delicious irony of seeing chandeliers at the Chandler Pavilion.)

I’ve been pondering why ephemeral items fascinate us so much and how we strive to capture them in photography and art. And who doesn’t love a good rainbow? There was a double rainbow not too long ago, which I managed to capture on my cell phone.

Don’t we all ooh and ahh over fireworks, too? Such fun taking these pictures on the Fourth of July…


What do they all have in common? Light. Light beyond our control. And light that flashes and sparkles and is gone in seconds, never to be captured or held.  Ephemeral sights are magical, too: prisms and raindrops and the garden hose suddenly create rainbows in a twinkling. Explosions create glittering colors that light up the darkness.

One ephemeral memory takes place in 2001. I had to drive my daughter to her elementary school in Carbon Canyon early in the mornings, and on this particular morning, the sun was rising after a rainstorm.  To our amazement, we saw a rainbow in the west – in pastel colors. Pale, silvery dawn colors that shimmered… I had to pull the car off the road so we could view it before it disappeared moments later.

In learning to use a DSLR camera and a high-end point & shoot camera, I’ve tried to get such moments and I’m fascinated by the differences in actually seeing them as they happen, in seeing the photographs, and in seeing, or revisiting, them in memory.

Oh, but such moments and sights are truly captured in our heart’s memory. There, they live on and are cherished, always attaining greater beauty and depth. And I’ll riddle you this:  which is the most real? What we see, what we capture, or what we remember?


  1. Beautiful! the words the pictures, your love affair with light translated into small moments and photography…..Loved it. So glad you are sharing your light with the world now, Congrats!

  2. Nice photos, Sue….and also the story. I think you should sell such re-vamped light sources in your shop. Chandeliers are truely beautiful and add such adornment to “any” area…outside or in.

    • Debbie, I would love to revamp more old chandeliers. It is very time-consuming (one friend described it as a labor of love) and I was SO fortunate to get this one for free!

  3. Congrats on the new blog, Sue! So true that those magic moments are almost impossible to fully capture with a camera or a story. But what a gift they are!

    • Liv, thanks – and THANK YOU for your fabulous e-course that got me onto this path! Folks, go over to http://www.livlane.com and see her e-courses; the one I took is “Building a Blog You Truly Love” – the best!

  4. LoVe your post Sue!
    You are a talented writer and thought provoking.
    In response to your riddle, which is the most real? What we see, what we capture, or what we remember?
    Maybe what we feel!

  5. I love all your beautiful pictures of light! Your site is looking awesome!!

    • Thanks, Michele – and, folks, here’s a shout-out to Michele, who set up the website for me and did a great and beautiful job of it! I’m learning as I go along…

  6. Love your first post! What beautiful pictures and sweet memories. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you!

    • Thanks, Cindy, and I’m still laughing over your comment elsewhere that you were on the phone when you got the notification about my blog. ;-)

  7. Sue, BEAUTIFUL site! I love it — and your name for your blog! Your writing is so inviting and intriguing — captivating! Congratulations on all of your efforts…I look forward to more of your work!

  8. Siobhan says:

    Brava, Sue! All so beautifully rendered and evocative. Gonna scoot around the website and check it out, but just quickly wanted to say, this is GREAT!!

  9. Sue–I enjoyed your post, love your photos & WHAT a good question. I know my body responds to imagery whether it is “tangible,” a photo, or all in my head! I’m not sure one is more real than the other.

    • Thank you, Janet! What is real and what isn’t? Kind of like the dreamer and the dream question (which is the reality?) – and your comments tie in with Paulette’s comment, too.

  10. Congratulations Sue on your new site. I loved reading this. :) What a talented bunch of girls are in your family!! And LOVE the chandelier.. gorgeous!!

  11. How beautifully have you captured the essence of this lovely word-ephemeral….Words create impressions in mind and some words just keep resonating in your heart. Thanks for sharing this wonderful visual wordplay…and these lovely pictures…

    • Nupur, thank you! “Some words keep resonating in your heart” – I just love this, it is so true. This is giving me an idea for a future post!

  12. Can I use the fireworks photo for an album cover?

    • Lona, thank you for asking! But I’m sorry, no. I took this photograph myself and it is not available for others to use without a legal agreement, contract, etc. If you are still interested (contractually) please let me know and we can communicate further.

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