Photography Tip: Capturing Fall Color

Photography Tip: Capturing Fall Color

By J. Michael McBride

Get out and explore fall's beautiful foliage and snap an image worth hanging on your wall!


Image of Lake Zorinsky by J. Michael McBride

Some of the nicest light for landscape and fall scenes is early day and late day. The angle of light is lower and tones and hues are usually more subdued. Do not be sad if it is a hazy or overcast day, either. The lower contrast makes for softer blending of color and a subtle mood.

On bright sunny days, photograph at an angle with the sun over your shoulder. Then, if possible, switch to the other side and capture the same scene with backlighting. The final results will have their own impact values.


Experiment with lenses

Image of leaves by J. Michael McBride

Use variations of lens angle from wide-angle to telephoto. Truly use your eye to compose and design for a better perspective. Falls colors, leaves, and textures are a great subject for macro photography as well!


Setting the right camera mode

Image of a lake by J. Michael McBride

If you can, set your camera to landscape scene mode. This will usually give you a little more richness of color. I personally set my cameras to "Cloudy White Balance" as well--even in sunny conditions. This will add a little more amber or warmth to the image! This is simply a suggestion--you might like the result and you might not. Experiment!


Select the right accessories

Image of Autumn colored trees by J. Michael McBride

A circular polarizing filter is a very useful accessory. The strong contrast of light reflections on leaves and other surfaces can be controlled to a reasonable degree with a circular polarizer. Also, circular polarizers help colors and contrast be made richer.

While not necessary, using a monopod or tripod can help with support and stabilizing your camera, particularly when using long heavy lenses or long zoom ranges.

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