My friends in Alaska tell me that fall is in full swing up north, hard to believe sitting on the front range of Colorado in the heat. But I did just drive through the Black Hills, and noticed some shades of yellow in the trees. Fall will soon be showing its colors across the country. I’ve been teaching fall landscape workshops for a long time, so I thought I would share a couple of fall photography tips.
-timing is everything; check the state fall color forecast and condition reports, almost every state has one. This will help you plan your road trip for the right time.
-bring a polarizer. A great way to saturate colors with foliage is using a polarizer. On a sunny day this is obvious, but try using a polarizer after a shower on a cloudy day. You will be amazed at how the filter reduces water glare and saturates those beautiful stands of aspen.
-shoot backlit leafs all day. While the beautiful warm light at sunrise and sunset looks great on big scenes, you can shoot all day long using backlighting. Find a nice clean set of leaves, position yourself so the background is deep shade or clean blue sky, and start shooting.
-go super wide. I love to wander into an aspen grove, put on my 14-24mm, and lean against a tree trunk and shoot straight up. A great fresh perspective, and also one you can shoot all day long. Try adding a sunstar by clipping the sun with a tree trunk. Remember small apertures like F22 creates the best sun stars.
-go out no matter what. One year I was in Ouray and our weather was constantly raining or cloudy. But we went out anyway, and for brief moments of time, the sun came out and I got some of the best fall images I have ever taken. The image above was after a fresh snow, and the snow melted about 30 minutes after the sun came up. You can sleep in at home! Go out and shoot!
-try shakies. For some creative abstracts, try shaking your camera up and down during a 1 second exposure. Use a low ISO and F22 to get a slow shutter speed.
-look for eddies. Eddies are recirculating water currents in streams. The water spins back upstream before hitting the main current and going back downstream. This circular motion is fantastic when the fall leaves are in the current. Try shooting at slow shutter speeds to capture the colorful circular patterns the leaves make.
The best advice is just make time one day to go out and shoot. Fall is one of my favorite seasons for photography, I just wish it lasted longer!