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Of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

As we reach the end of the Autumn season photographically, it’s a good time for me to reflect a little on my endeavours over September, October, and into November. I had mostly free time, and so a concentrated period of shooting was very nice indeed.

I figured a trip to the mountains in Italy would be a highly enjoyable pursuit, and it was! I also did plenty of hanging out locally during the highly mixed weather to catch the best of any colour / conditions that make the landscape close to home appealing to shoot.

I was looking for an appropriate way to summarise Autumn for a title to this post – I stumbled across the poem ‘To Autumn’, by John Keats, with the lovely opening line ‘ Season of Mists, and Mellow Fruitfulness’ – what a great term for this time of year!

I’ve seen a fair bit of mist, without a doubt – these first two images are perhaps my favourites from the period where mist is concerned:

The first is from Italy, the legendary Dolomites, which has become one of my favourite places on the earth. So diverse, with endless photo opportunities for the curious. I watched in amazement as a cloud inversion completely closed in the town of Auronzo Di Cadore early one morning. As the cloud shifted, and after sunrise, I was scanning around with a 100-400mm lens, and noticed this singular, bright yellow larch perched on top of one of the outcrops of rock above the clouds. After quite a few frames, the cloud shifted behind the tree which helped with the contrast against the rest of the scene. It’s one of those photos that will be very difficult to replicate ever again, & I’m so pleased to have been lucky enough to capture it !!


A cloud inversion wraps the landscape above Auronzo Di Cadore, Italy, while a single autumnal tree resist the cover of the cloud

The second is a classic Sussex landscape, shot at dawn in September. Not too far from Alfriston, there is a high point where the Cuckmere river can be seen snaking it’s way towards the Seven Sisters coastal cliffs. I’ve shot this place many times, but always with wider angle intentions. This time, as there was little interest in the sky, I decided to opt for a tighter crop, removing the sky completely – it’s become a great technique for me as my photography develops – I find myself asking – ‘do I need sky here at all, or does the landscape itself say what I wish to portray to a viewer of the image ?’ – In this case, the side-lighting, with the morning mist, the ‘S’ curve, and the singular swan on the water felt like more than enough to illustrate a wonderful moment in nature!


The meandering Cuckmere river in East Sussex at first light as a single swan glides along the water

One of the other things that really appealed to me this year was the vibrant colours in some of the trees I found. I am lucky to have a couple of botanical gardens close to me that I like to visit at varying times of the year to explore the plants and trees. The explosive red of this maple tree had me reaching for the camera to find a compelling angle to convey the wild shade of red! :


A wonderful display of autumnal colour in Sussex

Whilst in Italy I hiked to the well known Lago Federa, at 2038m above sea level. It’s around 750m vertical ascent along the hiking track that leads to the lake, but so worth the effort when Autumn is in full swing. Whilst the full aspect of the lake with the peak of Becco di Mezzodi is widely shot, this cropped view of the vivid yellow larches was my favourite capture of my excursion up to the lake :


An island of larches lit by the morning sun in the Italian mountains

Mountains have had a significant impact on my thoughts of what makes a great photograph this last year or two, so I need to include this image that exemplifies the Dolomites. Somewhere on the Croda Di Lago circuit, I came across this peak, with this crazy dynamic lighting and cloud going on – mountains, light, some Autumn colour, and the drama of partial cloud cover are always a heady mix for me! :


The last light of the day combines with low cloud to intensify the mood around the Passo Giau, Italy

So what of ‘Mellow Fruitfulness’?!! Not so much of that in those last few images !!  I certainly saw some of that as well – mostly I shot more dramatic scenery to be honest, but i’ll finish with this nice quiet take on some ‘mellow’ autumn colour and light – it’s not a ‘banger’, but I’ve discovered I quite like quieter images ( occasionally! )  :


Late afternoon soft light in peak autumn

My full autumn gallery is now uploaded here – feel free to go check out the complete collection. It’s a varied bunch, for sure, and one of the bigger collection of images i’ve composed this year 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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