Fall is in the Air…Photographing the Beauty of Fall Colors
For those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere, fall is upon us and with it comes the incredible beauty of the fall colors as the leaves change colors. For those of us who live near areas that have lots of trees and an abundance of fall color, autumn is a great time for landscape photography.
As the leaves change colors and the trees and hills come alive with color there are so many opportunities to capture some great photos.
In this month’s issue of Capturing Life’s Memories I will share with you a few tips on photographing fall colors.
Tips for Photographing Fall Colors
1-Plan the photo. As with other types of photos some advanced planning can help us capture great fall color pictures. This begins with knowing where and when to shoot the colors. In many areas the “peak” time for fall colors can be a relatively short time frame. In these areas just a few days can make a big difference because once the leaves start falling from the trees that beautiful hillside full of color can quickly start showing some barren trees and less color in just the matter of a few days. Having some ideas of the best places to capture those stunning fall color photos from will also help you be prepared when the time is right.
2—Understanding the Light. Like almost all types of landscape photography some of the best time to photograph fall colors is during the golden hours. That is the time just before and just after sunrise or sunset. At this time the low angle of the sun produces a “warmer” light that can enhance the fall colors and really help “spotlight” the beautiful colors. Another good type of light for taking fall color photos is the diffused light of an overcast day. Even though you miss out on the dramatic skies, an overcast sky brings out a different softer quality light to the fall colors and is a good time for taking pictures. Still another time that is great for taking photos of fall colors is right after a rain. After a rain the air is normally very clear making the colors are often more vibrant.
3--Using a filter. Two types of filters can help you improve your fall color photos. The first is a polarizing filter which can help reduce glare as well as increase the saturation of the colors. Polarizing filters work the best when the light is at a 90 degree angle but are worth trying even with different lighting conditions to see what if any affect they have on the image. The second type of filter that can be helpful is the UV filter. This type of filter can help reduce some of the haze in the sky and make for a better photo.
4--Adjust your white balance. Small adjustments to your white balance can make a big difference in how your photos of fall colors turn out. While the auto white balance settings normally tend to do a good job in most situations, experiment with your white balance settings especially on an overcast days when the light tends to have a cool, blue cast to it. Try to see if a simple white balance adjustment does not bring out more color in the photo. Even during the golden hours taking your camera off of auto white balance and using a daylight setting can help retain the “warm” colors the light at that time has. Of course you can also adjust your white balance after fact in most digital photo editing programs, but getting it right in camera is much better.
5--Remember that stunning fall colors are only one part of a great autumn image. Don’t become so enthralled with the beautiful colors that you ignore other things like composition, etc. It is easy for me to find myself so caught up with the beauty around me that I almost go into “snapshot mode” where I start taking picture after picture with not enough thought towards how I might be able to compose the image better. When I find myself starting to do this I need to remind myself to slow down really observe all there is before me. Then I can start “seeing” the photos and making small changes that can have a dramatic effect on the quality of my photo.
Until Next Month
To find out more information on when the peak time is for fall colors in your area you can do an internet search for the best times and location for taking fall photos in your area. Many state governments and tourism groups have pages that cover this subject.
Remember the best time to photograph fall colors is anytime you can. Even though we talked about different lighting conditions you can get good fall color photos in the middle of a bright sunny day as well. If you live in an area that does not have large numbers of trees look for different types of fall color photos. For example a single tree can be enough, you just need to explore it from different angles and take a different type of photo than the scenic vista full of fall colors.
The colors of fall also make a great time for taking portraits. Autumn is a good time to get out and explore. It presents a lot of opportunities for taking great pictures.
I hope you capture many great photos and special memories this fall.
Until next month.