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Great Fall Photos

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

Fall Color Tricks And Tips

With autumn here already (where, exactly, did summer go?), we’ve been getting lots of requests for fall color tips. So, when you venture out this season to grab some brightly colored autumn imagery, keep this in mind:

1. Shoot during good light — we’ve been talking about his for the last couple weeks, so I’m not going to get too detailed. Suffice to say that the warm colors of sunrise / sunset really enhance the already “warm” colors of the leaves. Plus, you can’t beat sunrise light on a frosty fall morning. For more on shooting in the right light, refer to this link.

2. Get a polarizer — A few months back, we discussed the use of a polarizer filter. This filter removes reflections from shiny surfaces (like leaves).

See, although they don’t look it, leaves always seem to have a bit of a shine to them. This shine masks the color. When you slap on a polarizer, it eliminates a lot of this reflection and allows the true color of the leaves to dazzle your CMOS sensor (not to mention it produces ridiculously blue skies). That’s how the pros do it 😉 For more on polarizers, click here.

3. Keep an eye on the color — This is really the biggest factor. Keep an eye on how the color is coming along in your area—you want to shoot during peak color and that generally only lasts for a few days. Try to keep a flexible schedule when you know it’s getting close so you’ll have time to go out and grab some of that great color for yourself.

4. Include interesting subjects – A lot of folks just shoot colorful trees this time of year. I like to try and find an interesting subject and include it in the photograph. You know, a waterfall, barn, deer, the ranger from the park telling you not to drive your truck through that protected field—whatever. Try using the fall color to enhance what’s already an interesting composition.

5. Single out color – If a colorful tree (or group of trees) is your main subject, try to single it out in the composition. Try to crop and compose in such a way that it’s obvious to your viewer what the subject is. I see far too many fall photos of trees off in the distance. The better you can see the leaves, the better the picture. Heck, even a photo of a single leaf can be impressive if done right.

6. Keep a camera in the car — This time of year, a great photo can be found anywhere. I keep a camera in the car with me so I can stop and take a quick shot when I see the opportunity. Sure, it backs up traffic a few miles on the highway at times, but aren’t good photos worth it? :-)

Whew, I think that’s it. Just remember, your window of opportunity is limited this time of year—if you see a cool scene shoot first and ask questions later :-) And of course, have fun!

~ Steve

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