Simona D'Auria

A magic day of light before the dark winter comes

It's a cold November in Sweden, time to get warm and cozy and enjoy a magic day of light before the long, dark, cold season kicks in

Hello my friends!

Hope you are doing fine! With this post I’d like to share a little story about a magic day of light in the forest. 🤍

November is almost over, and the dark season is definitely on its way here in Sweden, perhaps earlier than usual. We have already had some very dark days forcing us to turn the light on at lunch already, or better candles, as we like to do; and today we had the first snow too ❄

But we are still having some rare, blessed mornings, when the sun shines through the mist, like the unforgettable one I have lived a few days ago.

A bending road among the dark forest heading to the misty horizon at dawn
Blue hour in the forest

It was early in the forest that morning, too early and too dark to take good quality pictures with my f4 lens. I knew that, but I had other reasons to be out so early anyway…

On the one hand, I wanted to enjoy a walk in the dark forest without the artistic tension, so that I could just live the moment and the magical atmosphere. On the other hand, I had a mission…

The morning before, while I was driving on my way to the same forest, I saw something moving in the darkness among the trees on the side of the road. I slowed down and realized that it was an extraordinarily giant moose! I was so overwhelmed by it that I just stopped the car in the middle of the road and watched it in awe, without thinking about filming the scene or trying to take a picture.

The morning after, I wanted to try and find it again.

Eventually, I didn’t. But I wasn’t too disappointed. As a landscape/wildlife photographer you learn that no matter how much you plan your day ahead, there are no certainties, only opportunities! I thought I would just enjoy being in the forest without any planned intention or actual purpose. Pure freedom!

But after a little while, I spotted a faint, magic light deep down in the forest. As usual, I couldn’t help but follow it, and it led me to a luminous clearing.

In the distance, I could see the sun rising in the foggy sky. It had a perfectly round shape, and it was so soft, subdued and pale that at the beginning I thought it was the moon, and that actually it was sunset time instead of sunrise … Was I dreaming? No, I was just looking at the sun without rays…

I stood there transfixed for a long while … There was something superlunary about it, and for a moment I felt like I was sleepwalking in a dreamy world. All around me everything was so still and quiet, not a breath of wind, not a leaf falling on the ground … even the birds were still sleeping …

Eventually, I woke up and I took out my camera …

A gorgeous sun without rays rising behind a foggy forest
Superlunary sunrise in the forest

Later in the morning, the sun came out fiercely, making its way through the fog …. It didn’t last long, but it was so beautifully ethereal that it felt almost otherworldly.

The light was almost blinding, so I had to use a neutral density filter to be able to take a picture. The shutter speed got very slow as a consequence, almost 30s between each shot that I took to focus stack the image later. A long process.

But I wasn’t bothered at all, I was in no hurry, quite the opposite. That scene had casted a spell on me. I just wanted to sit there in total peace and contemplation.

Being in nature can be a sort of meditation experience. Your mind is cleared from any thoughts, your body feels lighter than ever, your stress hormones level gets to zero. You simply exist there in the moment. If you get to stay in nature long enough, you’ll reach that condition, even if you don’t pay attention to it.

However, some days are particularly blessed with a special energy. Some days are magic. Some days, you can see that energy with your own eyes. You can feel you are part of something bigger than the little world we are living. I think it’s called enlightenment.

Some days, nature fills you with such a sense of connection and joy that is almost overwhelming.

I was living one of those days ✨

Eventually, I ended up lingering in the forest almost till sunset, even though sunset nowadays means very early afternoon.

The sun had disappeared, and the fog had taken over again … But the magic was very much still there, it had just changed its shades and tones.

I felt like the forest was still inviting me to stay, still had some stories to tell before I left …

On my way to the car, I was attracted by a mossy stone lying among berry bushes and moss in a beautiful corner of the forest. It was surrounded by very tall pine trees, standing there like guardians to a sacred place.

I stepped into that place with initial hesitation, did not want to invade. But I didn’t spot any sign of being unwanted, so I reached the magic stone, I sat on the ground, my back leaning against it, and I lingered there for a good while. I remained in total silence and awe, just listening to the sound of the forest and the tales she was telling… That place was filled with such a strong energy, so much magic, that I’d expected some creature of the woods could come out any time.

I could have stayed there forever, didn’t really want to leave … until I was forced to …

It would have become very dark soon, I was an hour away from my car and I had left my headlamp home. It would have been very hard to find my way back without it.

Also, I had to get back to reality and all the work that was expecting me home and in my studio. But it was fine, a day like the one I had lived gives you such an incredible amount of good energy and focus that will last you for days! I was immensely grateful for that day. It had been such a precious experience, both as a human being and as a photographer, one of those I will remember forever.

As a human being, it helped me remember that there is always magic in this world, notwithstanding its awful realities. Magic is all around us, but it hides at the most inconvenient times, in the most unexpected places. You just need to get yourself out and start walking …

It’s not something that you can look for, you just have to feel it, and follow that feeling wherever it takes you. I promise you; it can even get better than your favorite fantasy movie!

As a photographer, it confirmed again that there really is no bad time or condition to find a worthy subject. You just have to relax, be in the moment, enjoy the experience, give it a go when you feel it and you’ll definitely be rewarded.

Live one of those days and you’ll never be the same again!


Hope you’ve enjoyed reading!


Till next time … remember to take good care of you!

Simona 🤍🌹🤍

A white stone covered with colorful moss among tall pine trees in a Swedish dark forest with magic mood.
Colourful forest details emerging from the fog

Simona D'Auria

Hi! My name is Simona and I am a photographer and an illustrator in love with the natural world.

I live in Sweden in a small village on the forest hills, where I moved a few years ago leaving behind the busy city of London to pursue my artistic activity. ​This has been a long time dream that I eventually managed to fulfil. I have never regretted it!​​

Nature is my only place to be, hiking my way to explore it and photography is one of the means I use to record the fantastic stories I am so lucky to witness during my excursions. Many of these stories also turn into graphics or illustrations.