Autumn photography in the Broads

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Autumn is nearly upon us, and with it the frosty mornings, ripened berries and golden leaves. So it’s time to point your lens and get your finger poised, because the Broads National Park is the perfect place for the perfect shot. So here are some of the top autumnal scenes to catch, in these months of shiny conkers and moody skies…

The Horsey seals

There are few scenes more evocative than a windswept beach in autumn, but even more so when it is awash with seals.  And that is why Horsey Beach is one of the sites that must be visited by all keen photographers. There are plenty of these gentle giants to be found wallowing by the water’s edge.  The combination at Horsey Beach of restless waves, rare sea plants, rolling dunes and washed up driftwood provides all the inspiration you need for the perfect shot with or without a whiskery muse.

Top tip: Make sure you take a zoom (telephoto) lens if you have one so that you don't get too close to the seals and disturb them - Friends of Horsey Seals offer some great guidance for seal watching. But don't worry too much if you can't grab a zoom lens - most modern cameras can take photos at a high enough resolution for you to take a shot from reasonably far away and still be able to crop out the bits you don't want when you get home.

Winterton Seals © Dick Knight (Flickr)
Seals on the beach at Winterton © Dick Knight (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Flowers in the frost

Ok, so there might not be many flowers! But with autumn comes early morning frost and there are few things better for evoking the magic of this golden season than the perfect shot of bejewelled berries and branches. Alternatively morning dew is equally effective, but there are few things more seasonal than those ice-kissed snapshots. For extra brownie points, photograph something seasonal such as teasel heads, toadstools or horse chestnuts.

Top tip: Try and shoot with a wide an aperture as possible (smaller number) to get some strong background blurring and allow your frosty subject to stand out against the backdrop.

Teasel Heads © Big Eagle Owl (Flickr)
Teasel Heads © Big Eagle Owl (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Common Crane

The common crane doesn’t look like a bird that you should see in Britain, and yet some of these migratory fowl have taken to living in the Broads all year round. If you station yourself at Hickling Broad for an autumnal evening you can capture these majestic birds coming in to roost. What better to offset a sunset than an exotic crane sweeping gloriously across it? For photographic juxtaposition this autumn, the common crane provides a striking shot.

Top tip: Head to the Stubb Mill viewpoint at NWT Hickling Broad in late Autumn for the best chance to get a glimpse of this fascinating bird.

Common Cranes © Artur Rydzewski (Flickr)
Common Cranes © Artur Rydzewski (CC BY 2.0)

Big Skies

We know that the Broads National Park is world famous for its ‘big skies’, so why not capture their fleeting autumnal moods? While clouds are symbols of cold and rain to some, for the keen photographer they are an expression of nature’s many faces. The range of weathers traditionally experienced in autumn makes this the perfect time to experiment with capturing the different conditions of one of the Broads’ most revered features.

Top tip: Head out during the 'golden hours' of the day when the sun is either rising or setting as this produces some wonderful colours and soft lighting. Luckily, as the nights start to draw in, this needn't be too early or too late for you to get out at a convenient time and still get that dramatic shot.

Herringfleet Windmill © Mark Seton (Flickr)
Herringfleet Windmill © Mark Seton (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Pink-Footed Goose

The Broads provides one of the perfect environments to spot the pink-footed Icelandic goose. Each September these acorn-coloured birds with their pink feet and lacy feathers descend upon Norfolk in their thousands. They are an emblem of the colder months and an icon of autumn in the Broads. 

Top tip: The River Thurne is a key spot of choice for these migrants, with Horsey and Martham particular hot spots. Come equipped with your camera and plenty of autumnal enthusiasm.

Pink footed goose © Tony Sutton (Flickr)
Pink footed goose © Tony Sutton (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Too often summer is seen as the season to be outdoors and among nature, but there is really no time better to discover the beautiful Broads than in the autumn. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, use our ideas as inspiration to get yourself outdoors, into your wellies, and enjoying the breath-taking landscape.

Please remember that all wildlife photographers are in a position of responsibility and should adhere to the Royal Photographic Society code of conduct.