The Current Issue
Nikon Owner Issue 20
The Four Seasons - Autumn by Gillian Greenwood
Photographs by Adrian Cochrane
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"
In this issue we launch a brand new series called The Four Seasons, which will feature images taken by Nikon Owner readers evoking particular aspects of seasonal photography. Each season has very distinct imagery, and a photographer is often inspired by the differences of colour, composition, sharpness of light and depth of shadow that comes with the changing seasons. We start this new series with Autumn.
Seeds like helicopter blades spinning in circles and falling to earth. The dull thud of conkers as they hit the ground. Treasures spilling from the torn edge of a garden sack: a hoard of glittering foliage, emerald, amber, topaz, ruby, soon to become leaf-mould or a bonfire of summer vanities, the pungent odour of burning leaves, bracken and mingled dampness, its smoke drifting upwards like mist in a thick haze. The long warm days of summer are over, and in the orchards and gardens, fruit is ripening ready for the plucking.
Autumn is upon us and the ancient deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere are preparing for a spectacular performance, a breathtaking final act as leaves cling momentarily to the boughs they are fixed upon and then spiral downwards, swathes of colour - green, yellow-ocre, crimson, scarlet. From beneath the undergrowth in the woods, the first batches of wild mushrooms are urgently pushing upward, thin-rimmed delicate heads and translucent white stems, their smell earthy and moist, their season brief. The shortening days of autumn trigger changes in its thriving population of tiny inhabitants as well as in the trees and the land. The small creatures of the wood and the field have to get ready for winter too. Everywhere there is a flurry of activity and industry in the undergrowth as badgers, hedgehogs, dormice and tiny shrews prepare themselves for hibernation. It is a symbiotic struggle against the increasingly shorter periods of sunshine, animals and plants working together in unison against the common foe of colder days and longer nights. Acorns fall and are collected from the ancient oaks, leaf litter is amassed, bedding organized, burrows and nests are made ready. Even here, order and husbandry prevail.
Like the fields and the hedgerows, the autumn skies are full of sound and movement. With the arrival of dusk, many small migratory birds are starting to take their long journeys south, navigating from the position of the setting sun and the plane of polarized light caused by it, en route to a final destination in exotic lands in some distant southern latitude, flying in formation against a darkening sky.
As children crunch the drifts of dry leaves beneath their feet in the park, or gather twigs and branches from the woods in readiness for Bonfire Night, we look around at the pageant of colour about us, the harvest of berries and fruit, the crops of grain. Autumn is the season of plenty, unstinting in its gifts, and we are reminded that the balance between man and nature is an age-old equilibrium, an unspoken pact that needs to remain unbroken.