Expat Life

Autumn in London: A Photo Series

The following statement will probably serve only to ostracize me from the majority of society, but here goes – I do not like the fall. In the hierarchy of seasons, for me, autumn rolls in around number three, four if winter is exceptionally snowy. I don’t drink pumpkin spice lattes, do anything creative with pumpkin seeds around Halloween, or even like wearing boots over my skinny jeans. Given that my closet is dominated by clothes in varying shades of cream and brown, you’d think I’d be embracing this season with open arms, but I just find it kind of depressing, actually. And I really don’t like being cold.

But I’ll admit, autumn in London has one really great thing going for it – the color palette. Last year, autumn was here and gone in what felt like a single weekend, so I missed the opportunity to get out and photograph our new city. This year, I wasn’t going to make that same mistake. In the middle of October, autumn reached its peak here in London, so on a very blustery Saturday, Cory and I took a 2-hour walk through our neighborhood with the sole purpose of documenting the season’s prettiest scenes. The following are some of my favorites – most SOOC (straight out of camera) because, one, I’m feeling too lazy to edit today, and two, I think this season/setting can hold its own au naturale.

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series Autumn In London: A Photo Series

Autumn In London: A Photo Series

I’ve been reading this book on photography lately where the author encourages finding a type of photography you enjoy the most and devoting the majority of your study to that particular niche. I’ll admit, when I read that, I freaked out a little. I mean, my photography is all over the place – I photograph everything. But I believe the reason behind that has more to do with our lifestyle than a genuine desire to actually photograph all of these things. When you get right down to it, my favorite thing to photograph is the same thing it’s been since the very beginning – I love to photograph the little details in nature. I think it has a lot to do with patience required. Nowhere else in my life am I the least bit patient, but standing in the same spot for almost half an hour, waiting for the wind to do exactly what I need it to do – that I can do. And I actually really like it.

Even though we don’t live in a location particularly geared towards nature photography, there are quite a few places, even within walking distance from us, that make the perfect setting for me to practice in. The first of these photos were captured in the community garden behind our block of flats. The tree in the second photo turns an unusually bold shade of red every autumn – it’s take-your-breath-away beautiful, but it’s also fleeting. One day I’ll look out the window and see it just beginning to turn, two weeks later, the branches will be completely bare. (Insert thoughtful analogy about the painful impermanence of beauty and youth.)

The rest of this series is from the road beside our flat that leads to Chiswick Gardens, and from inside the gardens. Chiswick Gardens is, quite likely, my favorite spot in all of London. I found it shortly after we moved here when I was searching for a place to run that wouldn’t involve continual people-dodging or breathing in car exhaust. When I’m running through the trails, listening to the birds, and smiling at dogs as they ecstatically break free from their leashes and run willy-nilly through the lake  – I’m in my happy place. Chiswick Gardens is a fraction of the size of Hyde Park and other large London parks, but it has so much character. I see film crews there often; once I believe I even stumbled onto the set of something big – the Edwardian costumes and scale of the production lead me to think Downton Abbey, maybe? I can see why they’d choose a setting like this – it’s my sanctuary, too.

Now it’s the middle of November and, if last weekend is any indicator, the weather is finally beginning to align itself in a usual pattern which means we’ve probably only got a few more weeks before it starts to feel like winter around these parts. We even turned on our radiators yesterday for the first time in over six months – anyone else actually like that smell when they first start up after a long break? That’s probably just me. We didn’t get a single flake of snow last winter, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for this year. We’ve only two winters left here and at least one of them needs to provide enough snow for a proper city snowball fight!

Share this post:

  • Emmymom
    November 19, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Stunning! All stunning! You truly are a great photographer with such a great eye. You photograph things I would never think to, but man they are perfect

  • Irina Akgul
    November 17, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    amazing photos!!

  • Katrin
    November 16, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Your neighborhood is lovely! And you are such a fantastic photographer. I love all the colors and of course I love the pigeon and the dog! :) Thanks for always sharing your great pictures! Hope you are enjoying fall, even when it is not your favorite season.

  • Sara Louise
    November 15, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    I only like fall if sunny, blue skies are involved so that means that for my six years in Dublin, I was miserable for three months of the year, but fall is Provence was all sunny, blue and crisp air. It was lovely! But confession time; I too do not like the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I feel the blogger police may be coming to get us any moment now! :) x

  • Annie Montgomery
    November 15, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    oh, you know. just a few gorgeous photos, unedited, nbd ;) soooo pretty! and, i hear ya on the not liking the cold part ;)

  • rorybore
    November 15, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    I only love Fall for the except reasons you stated: the colours. Which works very well for me because I live in Canada and our foliage is GORGEOUS! But for only about a week. And then Fall is mud, and dirty browns, and wind and rain and chilled to the bone! Nature is not at her best. Not until that first fresh snowfall carpets over all that brown ugly. While I hate shoveling snow, it definitely makes for a most romantic photo setting.
    I don’t think I have a photography niche either — unless it is that fence I am obsessed with. I suppose I would be more Nature/Landscape.

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      It’s sort of the same here – because it rains so much this time of year, everything just gets soggy and mushy. But on the rare days when it’s crisp and dry, I love it! I just wish we got snow like you guys do.

      I think you have a natural talent for nature photography. I love your photos!

      • rorybore
        November 16, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        Thank you! seeing all your pictures is a big inspiration!

  • Miwa
    November 15, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Your photos are breathtakingly gorgeous!! I can almost hear the leaves crunching beneath your feet. As you may or may not know by now through my blog, I’m a total sucker for Fall, but I HATE being cold too!! So I completely understand where you’re coming from ;) And anyway, I think the color palette is the best part of this season as well, so at least you’ve got that to enjoy! Thanks for sharing ;)

  • Kelly @ A Lovely Life, Indeed
    November 15, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    These photos are gorgeous! What kind of a camera do you use? Spectacular!

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 16, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      Thank you! I use a Canon 6D, and the lens on it for these shots was the 24-105mm f/4L.

  • Mrs. Match
    November 15, 2014 at 3:14 AM

    I can’t believe you don’t like fall! It’s just so beautiful, and like everyone else said, you captured it so well. I love that picture of the single leaf. That’s incredible! I love being cold and hate being hot. I think we need to trade climates!! ;-)

  • Diana Hoyos
    November 14, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Sara! I love these pictures, it made me remember the Autumn in California when I lived there.

    Nice post.

  • topchelseagirl
    November 14, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    I don’t like Autumn or Winter either, I feel the cold way too much. x

  • Natalie
    November 14, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Aww no love for fall? I love fall…but not winter! But in East TN the colors are amazing!

  • Sammy @ Days Like This
    November 14, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    I hope it snows this year (or early next year too!) The weather is definitely changing and feeling more wintery. You know, I never really counted Autumn as a real season before I moved to London. We don’t really get ‘fall’ in Australia. I just like all the big piles of leaves – makes me want to throw them up in the air! x

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    November 14, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Welcome to the world of the Autumnal-ites, it’s a great place to see Autumn. But if you ever get the chance, the Lake District takes it to an entirely new level!
    Stunning, stunning images!

  • Jess {JessOnThames}
    November 14, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    These are BEAUTIFUL! Kind of funny that for someone who doesn’t like Fall, you’ve managed to capture some of the most beautiful pictures of autumn in London. That pigeon shot and the leaves. Bravo! I need to get down to Chiswick Gardens!

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    November 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    For someone who doesn’t like Fall, you captured it well!! =) As always, love your photos!! Love that waterfall shot!! I, on the other hand, do not have the patience to wait for something for a half hour to happen! My hubby does though, so I let him get those shots while I go on up ahead! ;)
    I think I need to come check out your gardens. It sounds like a beautiful escape.