Umbral Onions

Yesterday a neighbour gave me a bag of home-grown onions and garlic that were surplus to his requirements.   Gratefully received.   When I put them in a bowl their dried tendrils draped over the edge in a wonderfully informal fashion.  The overhead light created some distinctively graphic shadows not only on the onions in the bowl but also on my kitchen work surface.

I was given a bag of home-grown onions recently and loved the shadows their tentrils threw from my bowl.


[uhm -br uh ]

noun plural um·bras, um·brae 

1. shade; shadow.  A region of complete shadow resulting from total obstruction of light.

‘umber’ earth pigments. If I was painting this, raw umber and burnt umber would be in the mix.

2. the invariable or characteristic accompaniment or companion of a person or thing.

The French Impressionist artists used ‘reflected’ blues and purples in their shadows.

3. a phantom or shadowy apparition, as of someone or something not physically present; ghost; spectral image.

It is a little more difficult to make an image that describes the etherial body of an object / person, although I have seen this clearly in ‘transfigurations’.

In Astronomy.  see the Wiki link here for an illustration of the 3 distinct parts of a shadow:

1. Umbra:

a. the complete or perfect shadow of an opaque body, as a planet, where the direct light from the source of illumination is completely cut off.

b. the dark central portion of a sunspot.

2. Penumbra – a shadowy, indefinite, or marginal area. (from the Latin paene “almost”, “nearly” and umbra “shadow”).

3.  Antumbra – is the region from which the occluding body appears entirely contained within the disc of the light source. (from the Latin ante, “before”).

can you see the shadows within the shadow?
can you see the shadows within the shadow?

Anyone for French Onion Soup?