Nature Notes: selected landscape photography, autumn 2020

Now that winter is upon us, here’s a selection of a few of my favourite images from autumn 2020.

Each year, my photography goes through seasons that mirror the seasons of the natural world. While spring and summer 2020 have been all about wildlife (especially birds), autumn and winter are about refining my personal vision in landscape photography. This year, even though I’ve spent very little time in the mountains, has been no different.

I have previously written about my ongoing learning process as a photographer, from clueless beginner to someone at risk of mistaking the requirements of a work brief for personal style, and finally finding my own meaning (and therefore visual style) in the images I create. This year has been a continuation of that process. Strangely — or perhaps not so strangely — I don’t believe that being separated from the mountains has been that much of a handicap. I see just as much photographic value in the agricultural countryside in which I live. Familiarity has not bred contempt (as far as photography goes, at least).

2020 has been all about the telephoto perspective. In previous years I’ve done a lot more wide-angle photography, because if the subject is right it can be easier to create impactful images that look good in the kind of mountain/outdoor features I publish in magazines, but for my own personal work I prefer the simpler, stronger compositions that a telephoto lens helps you to create.

My most-used lens has been the exceptional Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8, which renders colours beautifully and is by far the best lens of this kind I’ve used. On the Micro 4/3 platform it gives an equivalent focal range of 70-200mm in full-frame terms. I usually use it at full magnification. The excellent Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro has also seen plenty of use. My 300mm f/4 has mostly been on the gear shelf since I stopped focusing exclusively on wildlife, but it’ll be back on my camera again as my most-used lens come March or April.

As far as subject goes, there are very few surprises: hedgerows, autumn leaves, trees, sunrises, light. But I think my familiarity with many of these exact scenes, witnessed in all conditions most days for months on end, has helped to refine my sense of how to create images with them. I’m certainly throwing out a lot more images than I keep these days, which I hope is a good sign.

Overall, it has been a good autumn, albeit a brief one. Most of the trees had lost all their leaves by the last week of November. Now we’re back in the dark, wet, muddy months, although I live in hope that snow, frost and dawn-illuminated mists will bring some light to the winter to come.

All images © Alex Roddie. All Rights Reserved. Please don’t reproduce these images without permission.

By Alex Roddie

Award-winning outdoor and nature writer, editor, author, and photographer.

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