Autumn is a capricious season, with shortening days cloaked in gold, rust and greytone. Some days dance lightly, soft and still, cloaked in a gentle warm haze, lulling us that summer’s still close by. Others lurk darkly, oppressive and leaden, lumbering irrecovably on towards winter.
“Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms.
So doth the Woodbine the sweet Honeysuckle
For me, 2012 was a year of upheaval and transformation and in many ways quite a challenging year, leaving my beloved Ridgeway behind in Oxfordshire to start a new life here in Norfolk.
The changes it brought now see me based in a new, yet familiar, part of the world. One that I am rapidly growing to love, as indeed I knew I could, and one that has led me to form solid foundations from which I can build my new home and new life. I’m very much looking forward to putting down my roots and establishing my new life here in Norfolk
It seems that the theme of change and transformation will certainly be continuing with me into 2013, for the first quarter at the very least, with work to renovate and transform my new home set to begin soon and coinciding with the launch of my new photography business.
I certainly will not be bored!
As the seasons are finally turning things are changing in my life too. I am finally taking my first steps into photography tutoring and its a wonderful reminder of the creativity that taking up photography as a hobby can unlock in people. It put me in mind of the period when I was still very much on the steep part of my learning curve and was starting to experiment with my camera. This was a shot taken in Scotland trying to evoke the essence of autumn.
Red Deer rut in the month of October, and there are many very accessible places you can witness this natural spectacle. I went for the first time with my husband John Stuart-Clarke to Bushy Park in London. The best time is at first light, before the park becomes busy with humans going about their daily activities.
We arrived shortly before sunrise after a chilly clear night which had created a dense fog. As we walked into the park grounds visibility was only a few feet, and I started to hear the bellows of the rutting stags.
The sound echoed in the fog and seemed to come from all sides. It was an eerie, atmospheric experience. Then gradually the fog thinned and I started to make out shadowy figures of the stags. As the mist cleared I witnessed more of the Stags’ rutting behaviour – staring and snarling, licking their lips, tossing their antlers in bracken and charging each other. Within couple of hoursthe sun had risen, the park was filling with people and all the action had subsided and the deer settled down to rest. As we left it was funny to think that these joggers, dog walkers and parents with prams were using the park totally oblivious to the drama that had unfolded at first light.
Note: Please take care if you decide to visit a deer park during the rutting season. Even in parks such as Richmond, Bushy or Bradgate, where they are semi-habituated to humans, deer become extremely aggressive at this time of year. Several people are killed each year trying to approach too close to rutting deer.
Please exercise caution and common sense at all times and bear in mind the following hints and tips for watching the deer rut safely without disturbing the animals:
Keep a respectful and healthy distance away at all times when observing deer and be watchful for any sign of response to your presence or disturbance. Retreat calmly straight away if you find any deer starting to stare, pull back its lips or show teeth – they are warning you you’re too close and they could charge. Always move slowly and steadily and avoid sudden, unpredictable movements. Keep your arms and tripods low. Never wave or try to attract their attention. Always avoid a deer’s path and move out of its route if one approaches you. Be aware of you position in the herd and avoid getting between a stag and his hareem of females or a mother and young, which could trigger an attack. Never approach a deer directly, head on or or from behind -antlers are daunting but they can buck and kick too.Photo of the Month October – Stag Silhouetted In Fog
Taken: Bushy Park, London