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Field Notes/Blog

Autumn - the shortest season

Autumn starts in the north east of Scotland and over two to three weeks works it way to the southwest of England. By the time the trees of Cornwall are bejewelled with gold, those in northeastern Scotland are shedding them like tears.

01M-1690 Autumn Leaf on Fungi UK.


I always feel autumn is our shortest season and somehow between the vagaries of the weather, the patchy nature of local conditions and the need to be in the right place at the right time, I always try to manage at least a few days photography in our native woodlands. If the light is good I photograph the colours and the wider landscape, if poor I focus on the smaller details, if lucky I even get to photograph wildlife.

When George Eliot (Mary-Anne Evans) wrote:

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

I always like to think she was actually sitting in a woodland glade looking up at golden leaves trembling in the breeze when she wrote it.

Earlier this week sitting on a rock, camera cast aside, such were my idle thoughts. Photography done for the day, coffee in hand, I tried to find a form of words to describe the sights, sounds and smells of the first flush of autumn. The only trouble was I became preoccupied by the very things I was seeking to describe - the colour of leaves as the sun broke through, the sound of the river sliding by like silk at my feet, even the damp earthy smell of fallen leaves - all of them distractions which thankfully conspired against too much thinking. In the end just two words, ephemeral and spiritual, seemed the most appropriate.

01M-4639 East Gill Lower Falls Meeting the River Swale in Autumn Yorkshire Dales UK.
Catrake Force and the River Swale

01M-4344 Autumn Colours at Wain Wath Force on the River Swale Swaledale Yorkshire Dales UK
Wain Wath Force


The changing seasons also mark the start of another autumnal event and across the UK some woodlands, valleys and high mountain glens will reverberate with the roar of deer and the clash of antler as the annual rut begins.

03D-8783 Fallow Deer Stag Dama Dama Surrounded by Bracken in Autumn
Keep your eyes open you never know who is watching you.

Autumn really is a truly transient time and the next few weeks will be the last opportunity to experience the beauty of our woodlands before the trees return to their skeletal forms and winter winds roar through their tops.

Don't leave it too long before you head to the woods this autumn.

Text images copyright David Forster www.bluestoneimages.com