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Fall: an awakening when all goes to sleep

Fall. A word with a slightly negative connotation, often associated with the fall of leaves from their branches, and a time of dullness and degradation. Nevertheless, there is nothing boring and depressing in the autumn time and here is the evidence.

Can you smell it? The fresh odor of humus floating in the chilly air of October is rampant on the countryside and indicates that a large amount of organic matter is being decomposed. Sleep or death for some, thriving and foraging for others! Fall is very often mistaken for being the season of annihilation because it namely corresponds to the logical transition from a living to a dormancy phase in the life cycle of many organisms in temperate climates. Some animals prepare for some difficult months ahead by building shelters and burrows, while deciduous vegetation lose their foliage. As the rhythm of days and their activity slow down, many other unsuspected creatures take over for a short period of time: the decomposers. Many invertebrates, bacteria, fungi and protozoa depend on this time of year for foraging and reproduction. The humid and still lukewarm conditions help them turn the freshly fallen leafy organic layer - humus, into mineral dirt and soil, which is the essential step that boucles the loop in the recycling of organic matter, permitting plants to grow back in the next spring.

Don't barricade yourself inside! Go out, taste, smell, breathe in. Fall is a heaven for the senses. You will see hues and colors that you cannot see in nature the rest of the year. You will also be able to hear and peek at some wild game, also in the process of activating themselves into finding a mate. Fall is also the perfect season for mushroom picking. If you have never tasted fresh chanterelles or ceps, buy a guide book and hit the forest for a fun mycologic adventure! Here is a little collection of fun-looking mushrooms that carpet the woods at this season:

As you also might have noticed, Fall is an excellent season for taking a stroll at night. Nightfalls usually offer very good star gazing conditions and a good chance to contemplate the milky way. If you go out with your camera, take your precautions and take plenty of blankets, but most of all, a means of warming your camera up, especially if you are staying out for hours. It all has to do with something called due point. As the outside temperature cools during the course of the night, it can reach the due point temperature (temperature for which the air is saturated with water) where water vapor condensate into tiny droplets, a.k.a. fog. It is the rule of condensation! The same happens to your camera. As it is pointing up towards the sky, the camera and lens progressively lose heat. If the camera's temperature is cool enough to reach the due point temperature, you will certainly be distraught by watching your glass getting fogged up, ruining your shots. I countered the problem by depositing a hand-warmer on top of the lens (at the very end) throughout my time-lapses. Its heating properties give the lens the few necessary degrees to keep it from the bothering due.

As we go deeper into the autumn, I decided to make a short film to make my case: Fall is definitely not dull and boring! I shot and produced the movie using many snippets from different scenes and moods that ought to remind us of Fall in the beautiful region of southern Scandinavia. Most sequences are shot in Odsherred, Denmark, while some were shot near Olofström, Sweden. Fall is the perfect season for astrophotography and our galaxy, the milky way, also puts on its best show as it progressively sets on the south-western horizon throughout the crystal clear night. Of course, a cloudless night sky can also be the occasion to witness the majestic aurora borealis produced by solar storms, which somehow got very strong and recurrent this season. To me, the aurora is at its best when it gets reflected by water and southern Scandinavia offers a myriad of beaches or lakes for us to enjoy while gazing at the green and purple beams. One could also witness a beautiful penumbral partial lunar eclipse at the start of the season, which is visible in a short time-lapse sequence in the video.

Perhaps the most beautiful part of autumn is just to contemplate the green, yellow, orange, red and purple leaves delicately wiggling down from the canopy while inhaling the smell of damp humus that freshly carpets the forest floor... All shots were taken with Sony alpha 7rII and Canon 6D.


-Sony 28mm f/2

-Canon 50 mm f/1.8

-Canon 100mm f/2.8

-Samyang 24mm f/1.4

-Sigma 150-500mm f/4.5-6.3

Picture post-processing was done in Lr and Capture one Pro 9, while the film was made with Final Cut Pro 10.


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