Autumn leaves

Winter is almost upon us, but it has been a beautiful autumn… here Chris Hughes reflects on the conditions of autumn that so fascinate photographers:

Autumn provides the colour and the clear air that inspires landscape photographers to get up before dawn and also to wait through many chilly dusks hoping to capture dramatic and frequently very beautiful pictures. Given that perfect combination of an indigo sky and a low, searchlight-like sun that follows a sharp autumn shower and many an inspiring photograph can result.

All too often these brilliant conditions occur when you are driving on the motorway, have no chance to stop and probably do not have the camera with you anyway.

So it is that you must seek out opportunities to photograph the colours of autumn even when the sky really is grey and the sun hidden from view with rain close by. You must be cunning and look for the details and the miniature rather than the vast, dramatic vistas and where better to look than on the ground, around your feet and among the most common of autumn features. Let’s look at the leaves.

Image One

There is great beauty in the mass of leaves but sort through the jumble and find the individuals, seek out the colour variations and revel in the variety of shapes and size. Reds, browns, yellows, vivid green all gleaming wet with dew or rain, leaves are landscapes in miniature.

Image Two

Perhaps it’s just me, but I am fascinated by these jewels of autumn and take far too many photographs of them. These tiny autumn landscapes can be found in every street, park, garden, allotment and .. well everywhere there are trees. But, like the autumn light that creates such transient drama, these leaves quickly fade and disappear, turn brown and return to the earth. So you must act quickly and not miss your chance.

Fortunately, come the spring the leaves return, passing through the many shades of green before once again the miracle of autumn comes round one more and the leaves produce their rainbow of colour and I will be looking down to find them once again. I will be taking more photographs of leaves.

But I will also be looking for those brilliant moments when the low sun shines intensely from under a dark sky and lights up the bright yellows and oranges across the dark brown fields.

Image Three

Words & Pictures: Chris Hughes

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