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A Late Autumn Scene

I would love to be able to paint, and am deeply envious of those who can while I am obliged to make do with a camera. There are occasions though when one comes upon a scene such as this that allows one to create an image in painterly style. And so it was on this short stretch of lane not far from the village of Wartling, in East Sussex, which I came upon just after sunrise on a cold grey December morning.

The flat, vaguely silvery light, together with the muted earth tones and the touch of frost on the hedgerows gave this scene something of the quality of an old oil painting or a hand-tinted Victorian etching – or so it appeared to me when I pedalled into it. When I paused to look back down the lane along which I’d just ridden, my painterly longings arose. I liked the old-fashioned late-autumn feel to the scene, the palpable chill in the air, and the touch of seasonal melancholy, with autumn’s last withered bronze leaves still clinging to one of the oaks. And so I dismounted, set up my tripod and camera and composed this image, into which I pedalled my bicycle.

I had hoped to find such a scene as this when I set out in the morning – it wasn’t purely by chance that I happened to be pedalling along this lane – and so I dressed appropriately for the image I had in mind. No bright colours, just an old drab-black cycling jacket and to give a subtle dash of colour and to define my head against the dark-grey backdrop of hedgerows, a burgundy cycling cap. I carry several caps, in different colours  for just such occasions. Now if only I could learn to paint like this…