Seasoning our creativity
I often wonder about the ebbs and flows of each season and what difference that makes to me, both as a person and as a photographer.
Winter brings its own physical, mental and emotional challenges to the photographer with its cold, damp days. Practically, the weather can affect your choice of where to go. Keeping yourself properly protected is, of course, paramount too. Photographic equipment needs protecting, especially your power supplies - you have probably discovered that batteries don’t last as well if they are cold!
There is, despite all the necessary preparations, that beautiful stillness that a crisp, winter day can bring. Even a foggy morning can be an absolute joy. Striking images, such as the skeleton of the trees standing upright, strong and proud, are available to the photographer. The trees may have lost their leaves as nature takes a rest but their goodness is not lost. It will be found next season for all to see. So make sure you look up into the sky and closely at ground level for all the compositions and images to be found, and take a few winter pictures, grateful for all that is offered to you. Low temperatures can even bring a numbing freshness which can be exhilarating (a cooked breakfast beforehand definitely helps things along!).
Getting out in winter is very worthwhile despite the environment you are coping with.
Spring is such a hopeful time with its returning life, bringing the joys of small delightful flowers, buds and leaves on the trees. There is a dancing light in spring, with clouds and rays of light streaming through the woodland. The air is softer. After winter, we are again able to expand on the colour palette which is more concentrated than in summer, with renewed growth. There is an intensity of colour found in so many spring scenes - like a carpet of bluebells or wild garlic in a woodland clearing. Each season brings different images, ideas and even energy to me. I see things in a new light. I gain fresh inspiration. Throughout the summer we have the longer hours of daylight and reduced rainfall (especially this summer!). It is a time of year when things mature - plants, animals and trees are at their height, and gardens are often beautiful. It is also a sociable, busy time when we want to explore and enjoy the good weather. I am aware of the tides, the sea. You have to chase the water which seems to be far off, shimmering in the haze. The light is sharply contrasted, with deep shadows and starker sunlight bringing both challenges and opportunities for photography which is less nuanced at this time of year.
For me, many of the greatest paintings I have seen are painted in the summer. Think Cezanne, Monet and Van Gogh. Artists enjoy painting ‘en plein air’, and the finer weather is kinder to easels and canvasses.
While there are elements I enjoy about all the seasons, one of the best things about summer is that it leads into my favourite season of all: Autumn.
It’s the freshness of autumn that I love, the mildness of the atmosphere. That softer wind brings moisture unlike the hard, hard rain of winter. I don’t have to protect myself against the sun or the rain. I can cocoon myself in suitable lightweight layers which don’t restrict my movement or flow as I move around with my camera. It’s a softer light in autumn, making it easier to capture texture. The storytelling seems more romantic to me, as nature prepares to rest.
Early man didn’t have clocks, calendars or Outlook timetables, but only the seasons. As someone who enjoys solitude, peace and gentle light, early autumn (before the frenetic race to Christmas creeps in) remains a special time for me.
Personally, I enjoy elements of all the seasons. Each in their own way affects my view of the external landscape and the world I am so blessed to live in.