In praise of Autumn

Winter’s the time for snuggling up, closing the door when you get home from work and shutting out the world. Grey, rainy days mixed in with cold snaps and frost on the ground. From a landscape photographer’s perspective, it means I can get fantastic dawns without getting out of bed at some unearthly hour in the middle of the night (although the warm duvet has, on more than one occasion, won in the battle of wills when it’s below freezing outside!). It has its moments when you think it’ll never change, and people get depressed with this seemingly endless season, but it eventually gives way to Spring.

The freshness of leaves breaking out on the trees is like someone throwing away their old clothes and getting a whole new wardrobe! The first couple of weeks are the best, with really vibrant greens punching through the canopy. It’s a breath of fresh air, giving you a lift and making you feel better about everything (well, perhaps not quite everything). Another fantastic time for photographers, and no chance of frost-bite whilst waiting to capture that awe-inspiring dawn!

Summer for me is great, but I tend to lose interest in landscapes – the ground dries up, the colours fade, the contrast is too high with the sun blazing down. So I’ll go for the details, the little things that we tend to overlook – and whilst I’m at it, I’ll relax and enjoy the warmth.

Which brings me to my favourite season of all – Autumn. Some get depressed when the nights draw in, temperatures drop and the wind picks up – not me. This is the time when Nature throws everything into producing her most spectacular colours and as a result, treats us to the most fantastic displays from the trees and some truly awesome sunrises and sunsets.

There was a brilliant article in The Times by Jeanette Winterson, entitled “A season for senses and the soul” – in it, Jeanette captured the essence of Autumn and what it means to humans and to Nature. “For me, an Autumn walk is always a memory place. I am more aware of time because the season itself is a blaze of time – time flaring through the light, so bright that you have to look away, and then it’s gone. Time that isn’t clock time but seasonal time – the urgency of everything that has to happen before Winter, before cold, before dark“.

Autumn is that time to reflect, to enjoy and to savour – we have but one life, and it’s our responsibility to make the most of it.

The final word from Jeanette – “Summer is sexy but Autumn is for the senses and for the soul“. Enjoy it while you can.

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