Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Spirit of Autumn

Returning to Poland was the plan for today's blog, but instead we have what is called a change at the 11th hour. Yesterday was one of the most magical 'golden hours' I have ever known, no exaggeration. My new wife and I were coming back from shopping (and who said marriage wouldn't be fun!) when we drove past this church and were both in awe of how great the scenery, coupled with the autumn sunset was. This wasn't a normal sunset though. And this is why photography is special. Because however was the position of the clouds and the sun, it cooked up a strange colour in the sky, a shade of blue that I have never seen in the sky before, mixed with a golden yellow glow. So upon seeing this I had a dilemma. I'm 3 minutes from home, I have no camera with me and I know these moments don't just hang around. My first naive thought was to remind myself to come back to this location same time tomorrow, but of course it doesn't work like that. I've mentioned it before, but Ian Cameron's book 'Transient Light' is all about this. The special kind of light that sometimes occurs that is both unique and rare. You can't just expect it to come again tomorrow, you're lucky if it lasts 10 minutes.

So I decided to race drive carefully home, pick up my camera, and return to the scene, whilst hoping the light still remains. I had more than 1 option as well. Driving further down the road presented a circus that was in town, which would have also been a great subject and was nearer to my new apartment. Having picked up my camera, I began driving back towards the church. Being very aware that this light was not going to last much longer, I decided to drive past the circus and keep going towards the church. The idea of the circus was good, but when I remembered how the church scene looked, I knew it was that or nothing. I got there as the light was still fading and whilst fumbling about with settings in the rush that I was in, managed to fire off a few bracketed shots, of which the HDR scene you see above is the best result I got.

This is St. Mary's church in Thatcham. It is not the same St. Mary's church in Newbury I pictured a couple of months ago at sunset, and I was quite disappointed to learn that the 2 churches, whilst being fairly close to each other, had the same name. But oh well there you go, this one I'm led to believe goes much further back in history, as far back in fact as the Norman times. I should pop down more often actually, it's a great location and only about 3 minutes away. Proof again that you don't have to travel far for photographic inspiration.


  1. Lovely picture Pete. Cracking sunset and the autumnal tree blends in nicely.

    I think we commented that evening how red the glow was as the sun set. Unfortunately I wasn't as prepared as you were to capture anything!

  2. Nice picture. You are correct, the core of the Church, the Nave and the main doorway are Norman, but the rest of the church is later. If you want to know any more of the history of anything in Thatcham, just give me a shout.

    1. Thanks for the comment Nick! Haven't met many like-minded photographer's with a keen interest in history as well, so delighted to see you visit the site. Great website you have as well. Will definitely be in touch for local history clarifications!

  3. Great capture, Pete. Lovely sunset and a nice glow on the stonework of the church.

  4. Very nice capture and well worth the effort Pete. The colours are beautiful in this scene with a lovely warm glow.

  5. Thank you to all of you for the very kind comments, you know it's appreciated.