The past few months I’ve been visiting the same site each weekend – Kings Wood, near Challock in Kent. There are many Kings Woods and many Kents. This one is in the South East of England.
Ordinarily I’ve picked dawn as the time to arrive. As we barrel into the colder months, the sun rises ever later and the light changes its characteristics slightly too, never really getting high in the sky. The last few weeks and I daresay the next, I’ve been focussed on catching the spread of orange through the woodland. I’ve always loved autumn with its crisp mornings and glowing hues. The etymology of fall goes further back than autumn and indeed the colonisation of the Americas, so yes fall is the original, but I’m British goddammit so I’m going to be fickle and use both.
US fall on TV has always looked far more impressive with its huge swathes of Aspen and Acer turning to blankets of warmth across the extensive over scaled landscape. Here in my corner of England, autumn seems to spread across one tree at a time, with a more painterly impressionistic approach to altering hue.
It’s not all trees though. This is a particularly excellent time for foraging for mushrooms, and indeed we’re lucky in the UK to have a lot of edible ones, though I personally leave them be, preferring to photograph them and move on. Shrooms, the fruiting bodies of fungi beneath the soil’s surface, come in a variety of shapes and colours. I was astonished yesterday to find magpie inkcaps, a variety I’ve not seen before. Shaggy inkcaps are found locally to me, growing in the surrounding greens and in fact next to my local supermarket. Shaggy ones, white, are edible, magpie ones, dark brown, not so much. In fact WildFoodUK list their effect as, “poisonous causing alarming symptoms!”
With winter charging towards us, it’s tempting to finally buy a flashgun and fashion a diffuser. I often find beautiful mushrooms are in the locations with the most boring light.
These photographic opportunities, aside from being great practice and actually genuinely a nice morning out, afford me a break from the monotony of the media barrage surrounding Covid 19 and here, closer to France than central London, Brexit. 2020 ladies and gentleman – what a charmer he is.
Here’s to a beautiful autumn or fall!