I woke up in a dark hotel room. I grumbled my way out of bed, and I pulled back the curtains to let in some light. Rising before me, I saw two towering buildings randomly lit by various windows. It was just a pair of high-rise office buildings, straight-edged and squared at the top, but they looked so clean and clear against the deep blue backdrop of the sky. I wanted to take a picture of it. I grabbed my camera off the table, and I took a few steps back to get everything into frame. But then I realized that there would be a glare off the window, and that it would ruin the photo. I had to go outside and take the picture out in the open air.
The lobby doors of the hotel opened onto a narrow street with walls rising on either side. Down at the far end of the street, in the distance to the East, I saw a conglomeration of buildings that looked like a city made of white crystal set against stratus clouds and pastel skies. This was an even more incredible sight than the pair of office buildings. I needed to get a picture of this too. I ran down to the end of the street, so that I could get a nice, unobstructed view of it in the open. But as I came to the corner, I was met by the glaring sun rising over the edge of the land. I knew this would wash out my picture entirely, completely outshining the soft colors.
So I tried to find my original subject again. I made my way through the streets, looking over the pedestrians’ heads and keeping my camera poised for the right moment. But I couldn’t find those same buildings. I saw plenty of other buildings. I saw all the morning bustle of the city, the congested traffic and the crowded sidewalks. I elbowed my way through, turning corners at random. But something had changed. The light had shifted. The magic had passed.