on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Turning a New Leaf

Thinking Differently about capturing autumn colours

Paul Moon

Paul Moon

Paul Moon is a landscape photographer from East Yorkshire and has spent 18 years documenting the Yorkshire Wolds - the UK's most northerly mainland chalk upland. It is known for its steep sided dry chalk dales which spread for miles throughout the area.


Admit it. We’ve all done it at one time or another (and still do!). At the first signs of autumn colour we scamper into woodland as if our lives depended on it.

Of course it’s impossible not to be enthralled by the spectacular changes in deciduous woodland and arboretums around the UK and further afield. For what seems all too brief, the end of October and beginning of November heralds the time that trees withdraw their sap from the green leaves to reveal carotenoids and anthocyanins. After what seems like an eternity the summer greens of chlorophyl are quickly replaced by fiery reds, yellows, oranges, coppers and purples.


We may scoff at fellow photographers brightly coloured photo streams and uploads but we’re all planning the next few week’s activity with clinical precision. A trip to our local woodland. Padley Time! A weekend in the Lakes, a few days in Scotland and for the more adventurous, Norway or Switzerland.

I must admit to being blown away every year at the spectacle of autumn colour, however the season has many other opportunities for photography which can’t be overlooked. This year I made a conscious effort not to get drawn into my local woodland. I’m always a tad disappointed by my efforts when I see the stunning work by some of my peers on social media so I chose to seek out the less popular displays of autumn to photograph in my local patch.

The ice cool blues work really well with the warmer reds of autumn foliage and berries.


Where I live hawthorn trees thrive and the berries that appear can be spectacular. This year the spring saw a distinct lack of blossom so as a result the berries haven’t been nearly as stunning as I’d have liked. Other trees such as rowan can also produce wonderful displays of berries around this time of year as well as wild dog rose.

This year we had some excellent misty and murky conditions that helped reduce the complexity of woodland photography. No so good for vistas although in the right conditions it can create lovely layering of the landscape, and add to that some low sunlight and you have great ingredients for atmospheric images.

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