As the nights draw in and cold days envelop us, it becomes more challenging to shoot nature. Trees lose their leaves, gardens become bare and the skies darken.
At times like this, outdoor photographers need to grab whatever opportunities they can to get out there and shoot, because as the weather gets worse those chances are few and far between. This morning was soggy and unwelcoming, and lunchtime wasn’t looking much better. Should I give up the ghost, stay inside and write, or go out and make pictures?
Part of the job of a photographer is to appreciate the vagaries of light and to seize the moment when it comes. The other part is patience.
So I waited. I monitored the weather forecast and, just for once, it was accurate. The sky began to lift in the early afternoon, diffusing rays like a natural softbox, and by 2.30pm a silver-gauzy sun was gently breaking through.
I grabbed my camera and speed-walked to the local botanic gardens. I decided that the best way to use what little time I had was to approach it as I would, had I been shooting film. Engage the eye. Take few shots. Make them count.
I’m so glad I did. Within one hour I’d made these pictures. The image heading this article is a defocused, lowlight shot of the greenhouse ablaze with halogen lamps, just as the sky was beginning to get dark. It was the golden bokeh, rather than the hard, angular construction of the building, which attracted me to taking the shot in that way.
I hope these images capture the last hurrah, the fading beauty and quietening down of nature into winter’s rest.