I had a bit of an aarghh-moment when writing the previous post (although luckily not the sort Monty Python fans would have seen in the film The Holy Grail). No, my aarghh-moment happened when, half way through writing the post, I accidentally pressed the publish-button instead of the preview. My heart sank as soon as I had done that because although it was easy enough to reverse the status back to draft, I knew that all those emails to the subscribers had instantly gone out and there was no way to get them back. Luckily most of the text was nearly ready, so I was saved the worst of the embarrassment, but most of the photos were still missing. So I just wanted to say to those of you who only looked at an email that had one single photo on it, that if you want to see the photos, you may want to look at the website instead… And I’ve got to learn not to press random buttons while blogging.
But now, after that prelude, the actual topic of the day.
After my previous post, Amelia (from the blog A French Garden) commented that it is interesting that I so enjoy photography in the late autumn and winter, when she only manages to take reasonable photos only if there is snow and ice, and preferably sunshine.
And that comment really got me thinking. Why is it that I much prefer the bleaker seasons for photography, when the garden at this time is mainly hibernating, and all those flamboyant summer colours are a distant memory? Compared to the spring and summer, it’s a modest and moody sort of season, there are many grey, foggy and rainy days, the remains of the garden plants look straggly and forlorn. Here in the South East corner of England we don’t even get snow that often. This year there has only been one day when we had a few soggy flakes of snow that melted straight away and certainly did not make a picturesque photo opportunity. Occasionally you may get beautiful frost, and that’s pretty much your only chance of capturing conventional winter prettiness.
Yet there are so many things I like about this season. I find the gentle melancholy of the season very soothing and calming – it’s a lovely, quiet and homely time of the year, perfect for creative pursuits. And from a photography point of view, there are many things that make this season magical: there’s the light, the mood, the dried flowers and seed-heads in the garden, misty foggy days, clear frosty mornings. Things that look bleak and unpromising when seen from afar, but that reveal unexpected beauty when seen close up. Beauty that is not obvious, but beauty nevertheless.
To give you examples of all this would make a very long blog post. Instead, I thought it would make a good topic for a related series of posts. I know you are all probably already craving for the colours and bright sunshine of spring, but if I waited until the next autumn to show you these, I would probably never get round to it.
So today, the first instalment: “The reasons I enjoy autumn and winter photography, part 1: the Golden Autumn Glow”.
In the summer we get no direct evening sun in our garden, so for a photographer the choice is mainly between harsh daytime sunlight or indirect evening light. If you want the wonderful golden glow of the setting sun that makes any photography truly magical, you have to wait quite late in the year. October is the season of asters, grasses and colourful autumn leaves here, all beautifully glorious, but for photography I actually like it even more a bit later, when things are truly quieting down, when the flowers have turned into seedheads, and the colours have been muted. At this time, the magnificent autumn colours are mostly gone, but things are far from bleak.