Golden light greets me when I open the curtains first thing in the morning, the low sun casting long shadows and lighting the edges of the trees. Glorious soundtrack of birdsong as the dawn paints the aircraft contrails pink in a sky studded with stars and a glowing moon. Two robins gardens apart compete to be most tuneful, a neurotic blackbird chitters in alarm as a crow utters a harsh tenor note or four.Every morning I shoot the same shot from the same spot
A golden glow suffuses the bedroom and lights the edges of the increasingly wind stripped trees outside. Here the autumn colours show briefly as the blustering sea winds eagerly wrap their breath around the branches and whirl the dyeing leaves away across garden fences. The golden light reflects off windows down into the garden, sometimes sending its beams like searchlights into the studio as if examining the work on the walls for itself. The sunbeams reach deeply into the house, the low sun pushing long shadows ahead as it arcs through its planetary path.Strong shadow patterns everywhere
I set out with the camera eager to catch the autumn colours. I know where to go, having seen glorious richness in the twittern I walk down on my way into town. Alas some vandal has been down with a chain saw cutting everything back ‘for the elf’ no doubt, but the creation of physical safety robs the spirit of nourishment as it so often does.
In gardens spots of gold and red stand alongside strong patterns of shadow on brick or flint, and the haws of roses glisten. There are plenty of berries around and country lore has it that this means a hard winter – difficult to see when we are enjoying such a warm and so far quite gentle autumn. In Seaford I don’t think we have even had a frost yet and only one evening has even scented like autumn – and the Sussex bonfire season, celebrating our Christian martyrs, is in full flow.
I shall blow the disappointment caused by the elf away today with a dash of surf from the seafront. I haven’t seen good waves for ages – not that they haven’t been there but for one reason or another I haven’t plodded the shingle for a few weeks. The breeze and the ozone clean my lungs, exhilarating, as the froth and tumble of the seawater rushes and shushes the shingle.
Yesterday I found colour in Newhaven adding to my stock of imagery of harbours, again the low sun giving opportunity to capture the glow of colours, adding drama with long shadows and strong reflections. The fishing boats with their nets and flags enrich the grey harbour side, far more interesting than the ‘tupperware’ in the Marina, tupperware a term Norwegians apply to any boat under 30 feet, as they are usually made of plastic.
I walk the line of fishermen’s docks to their own fish market, buying some fresh mackerel fillets for my lunch. There boats and nets are a broad palette of colours and will provide rich nourishment for a winter hiding in the studio. Reds and greens, black and golds, subtle blues greys and browns all cry out to be tested one against another in images both photographic and painted, manipulated and drawn.
The final boat is burned out – a trawler black and rusting moored against a solitary mooring, her name in rusty letters conjuring up stories of mutiny perhaps. The burned-out wheelhouse with blackened windows burst out by flames which obviously reached up the nets into the sheer legs. I register her name, the Bounty! Newhaven as the new Pitcairn?
At days end again the golden light glows on the reverse side of trees and through a window as the setting sun sinks even lower in the sky, casting its rays piercingly into the living room, sometimes declining in a bed of rich ruby colour. Autumn beauty. Joyous.