November sun can be bright and strong creating highlighted patches, long dark shadows, and strong contrasts that are visually stunning but difficult to photograph. These are some of my attempts to capture the light effects on yesterday afternoon’s walk in the Dorset countryside.
The countryside is always changing. Not only with the natural seasonal variations but also with the cyclical nature of arable farming. In late October on Charlton Down when the trees and hedges were fast losing their leaves, some fields still bore rows of stubble from a late harvest of crops while others were vibrant green with new growth from an early autumn sowing of cereals.
Everyone likes crisp autumn days with sun shining and vibrant colours of changing leaves and ripening fruits everywhere. Often it is just not like that. Damp and muggy. Dull overcast skies. Dead, diseased, and dying reminders of the passage of time. It can be difficult to find something to brighten the scene, lighten the mood, a reason to be cheerful. It was like that yesterday as I walked around the village with my camera. This is what I recorded before completing my circuit, feeling better for the exercise and fresh air regardless of the dull and dismal day.
The countryside around Charlton Down this April is a landscape of rolling hills covered by a brightly coloured patchwork of flowering oilseed rape fields contrasting with spring wheat, each patch separated from the next by boundaries of ancient field hedgerows and trees with branches just springing into life.
I’ve been recording the changes that come with season and weather as I walk along the Cerne Valley Trail in Dorset, England. The horse chestnut tree by the stile in these photographs is a convenient marker to illustrate the transition from bare branches of winter to full foliage in summer. Already, by September, the leaves are turning brown getting ready to fall. It is not only the tree that shows the changes but the ground cover vegetation, and the crops in the fields.
Everything looks different on a country walk seen in late evening light. Budding horse chestnut trees with fast-opening sticky buds and crumpled new leaves are silhouetted against the clear moonlit sky. White blackthorn blossoms in the hedgerows and rows of cut maize stubble reflect the last rays of the sun. Blue-green shoots of spring wheat can still be made out in the fields as the sun disappears; and trees by the stream retain a faint glow when the sun finally goes down. In the quiet of the dusk, the burbling of the river mingles with birdsong and the dark surface water riffles and eddies over beds of water crowfoot as it makes its way downstream.