Thoughts about Fall photography…
This is not a comprehensive post on photographing all things Fall Color. Rather some thoughts, tips and considerations to use as you head out to take photos. So, how can we make compelling images of what we see and call “Beautiful Fall Color” – If you are like me, you see a beautiful row of trees, a pile of leaves, oranges and yellows, vibrant tree reflections in water etc. The, if you are like me, you say “I want to photograph that!”… Ok great, how?
Here are a few things…
First look around, what do you see? Look up, down, around… Low evening light will warm-up the foliage and make the colors warmer. Sunny days make foliage bright and colorful, which I usually prefer! This photo was taken in early afternoon with a polarizer, which helped make the sky bluer and richer. So time of day is not the most critical, but direction of light is important. Often early afternoon is a great time. Also notice the horizon line here is in the lower 1/3 of the frame allowing for much of the dramatic sky to enhance the contrast of the orange foliage. If there is a lake of river in the foreground a polarizer would need to be used carefully, making sure not to eliminate the wonderful reflection of the foliage in the water. Either way, keep your horizon level. If you see foliage reflections in the water, try putting the water/shoreline toward the top 1/3rd of the frame, zoomed in on the reflection for lovely abstract photo. You can even eliminate the waterline and make your entire frame ‘reflection only’. Remember you need to use higher number F-stops for landscapes with depth. For example this first image at the top left was shot at F/16 so the foreground-tree and rear treeline would all be in focus.
Included interesting elements that can enhance the image. That country road, mostly covered with leafs, leading into an abyss of vivid color foliage. (Exercise caution standing in the middle of roads!). Also a fence row, split rail or other type in the foreground. Color reflection in the water is wonderful.
Fall color can be shown close-up as well as in landscape type photographs. As shown here in this red maple leaf that stands out against the green. Contrasting colors can make a dramatic photograph. So look for small items too. A feather stuck in a browning fern, a pile of leaves with one that just stands out. A pile of acorns a squirrel is gathering. Look for branches or trees to use for framing.
Shallow DOF (DOF = Depth of field, or how much is in focus.)
A shallow DOF will force your subject to be “the focus” of attention and everything else not in focus, because your eye to go to the part of the subject most in focus.
The ‘first fall frost’ is one of my favorite days of the year to photograph. It is usually a photo-trip that requires a very early morning alarm. But more times than not, the first hard frost will melt away shortly after the sun comes out.
A bit about gear
Remember, using a tripod is highly recommended, especially for slower shutter speeds. Which you will have with landscapes when you use higher F-stops. If you have ever talked to me about your photos being blurry, my first question is always “was your camera on a tripod?”. This will enhance the clarity of your photos. I PROMISE! Also, using the Macro setting on your camera will give you a shallow depth of field, so focusing becomes more critical.
A few Fall Color images below..,
That’s my good friend Dale Vronch standing in the river.
*Feel free to ask questions or post comments about any images posted here or general photography questions.
Happy Shooting !!