Seasonal Symbolism – Avia Venefica. Avia’s article on the meaning of the seasons brought to mind what moves me to photograph nature and landscape subjects with a bit more enthusiasm and excitement during the transitional seasons of fall and spring. In the change of the seasons experienced externally comes also an inward shift for the artist. Avia describes with a high degree of intuitiveness on how seasons exist both internally and externally.
The light comes calling and the creative spirit responds. For me, as a photographer and an artist, autumn has always been much more than just color in the trees. As the sun slips southward balance is regained – at least momentarily – between day and night. Lengthening shadows return to the landscape and air and sky clear for brilliant sunrises and sunsets.
I’m fortunate to live in a place where there are four very distinct seasons. The cycle of life and light through each has established much of the internal rhythm that either pulls me outward or inward with the desire to capture and create with my camera.
I see so many photographers and other artists respond to this cycle of seasons and it always seems that it’s this time of year – autumn in October – that generates the most interest and excitement. To the casual observer the reason must be simple and obvious – the beautiful display of color on the hillsides and in the woodlands. But for the serious nature photographer it is much more. It’s the quality of the light and the texture of old wood at sunrise. The crisp outline of veins in freshly fallen leaves and the ethereal mist that moves through the hollow on cool morning air. The clarity and color of a falling sun slipping between clouds and a westward hilltop and the deep shadows cast by the rising harvest moon. The final dance of light on the landscape before the arrival of winter’s solitude.
More often than not autumn’s true beauty is found in the details – the often overlooked – presented before the photographer only when something more than just his or her eyes is finally opened.
The overwhelming need of the artist photographer to outwardly place him or herself in that seasonal dance, from the place felt within, is inherent to the mystery of the creative process.
In my photography of the autumn landscape I strive to go beyond the “pretty postcard” shot of a hillside covered in red, gold and purple. Sure, I continue to capture those types of images, but almost always it’s what I wasn’t looking for on a fall outing through nature and landscape that becomes the photograph that forges the strongest connected between spirit, artist and viewer. What I discover on the autumn landscape, and how I decide to photograph it, has just as much to do with my internal seasons of fall, winter, spring and summer. Love lost, peace gained, darkness made light and memory that lingers.