Jetlag and Recession

As I always do on West Coast time, I woke at 3am for the first few days in Vegas so that when the sun finally came up, I was well into my own day. The window of my room faced the low mountains on the right and the freeway on the left. The sun came up through a palm tree on my left, and throughout the dawn I watched the regression in the mountains on my right. On the sunward side, the hills were a flat line, etched with the glow of the sun. On my right, I watched as the sun picked out the faces of the valleys rising as it did sideways on to them across my vision. The secrets of regression were laid bare: the way that the first valley is lit by the sun, and the second is lit a little less, but then is tinted by the reflection of the unseen rear face of the first. The sky is dark behind but also lit by other reflections, so that the regression is not a series of grey tones, but a series of graded tones of all kinds of dawn colours washed to the palest pastels on those ordinary shades of grey. But the finest recession pictures of all are monotones, right? It struck me: that is not quite true. They are not monograde. Each line of regression is a subtle grade of tones so that a regression picture with a classic 14 shades of grey could have even more lines of regression because each one can subtly walk back from the tone at the line of the previous mountain to another half tone, cheating the eye. Colour and photographic theorists will disagree I'm sure.

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