If you're a photographer yourself it probably won't come as much of a surprise to hear that I love autumn. With it's cool misty mornings, low afternoon sunlight and of course the colours it is probably my favourite time of year. Actually, truth be told I get excited by the start of every new season so you may well see a post in a few weeks, probably following the first sign of frost, when I'll be talking about winter being my favourite time of year and then again when the world turns green in spring, but I digress.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year but with shorter days and a full time job to contend with, it can be a frustrating time. A time when weekend weather always seems to be drab and grey while the view from the office window always seems to be bathed in warm autumnal light and the best opportunities come and go with me sat behind a desk.
This year however I had been tasked with the job of capturing the autumn colours at a handful of the National Trust's properties here in East Anglia so I couldn't afford to miss a thing.
The places on my list were Anglesey Abbey, with it's avenues of trees, colourful gardens and riverside walks and Wicken Fen, the National Trust's oldest nature reserve a huge wetland home to thousands of species of wildlife. Both of these were in Cambridgeshire, while in Norfolk there was Felbrigg Hall with it's rolling landscape park including a lake and 520 acres of woodland and Sheringham Park, stunning views across 1000 acres of woodland and parkland with footpaths that take you all the way to the cliff tops of the Norfolk coast.
If you have ever visited any or all of these places (and if you haven't you should) you'll know that there's a lot of ground to cover. Maps needed to be studied, sun angles looked at, footpaths explored and plans formulated. Lots of early starts and long days shooting were followed by late nights processing images
Who am I kidding? I'm not going to lie to you, although a lot of effort did go into the project it never once felt like work, it was a dream job and I loved every minute spent 'getting mud on my boots' (as David Noton would say). Apart from time spent exploring and photographing some beautiful locations, there were other benefits.
I often used to struggle to decide where to visit each weekend but immersing yourself in a project like this, whether for a client or yourself, takes away that problem leaving you to focus on the photography. Once the obvious shots are safely in the bag you can explore the subject further and see where it leads, hopefully taking your photography to new places or at the very least building a more interesting collection of photos and with a new long-term project already started at least deciding what to photograph isn't going to be an issue for some time.