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.
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!