I'm interested in some physical interpretations of how light slows in free space in the presence of gravity according to general relativity. I believe the reference frame is therefore distant, essentially infinity....say, as when we observe light moving toward a black hole or passing a star. For example, in contrast to free space, when light enters a dense optical medium, a nice picture is to view photons being absorbed and new ones being emitted as photons move from atom to atom. The absorption and subsequent emission of a new photon delays the passage of photons hence "slowing" light. But in free space, what happens? There are no atoms, only gravitons, and I don't think gravitons can absorb and subsequently emit photons, analogous to my example above, so what are some explanations for the electromagnetic (photon or wave ) and gravitational(graviton or field) interaction? It would also be interesting to know if all frequencies slow the same amount. I'm pretty sure they do. Why is this different than a dense optical medium where different frequencies slow different amounts. And is this slowing in free space related to the Shapiro time delay.