It’s that time of year. Depending on where you live you might be in the peak of the fall color season. Every year we get lots of email at Photofocus asking about fall color tips so here are a few to get you started.
1. Contact your local state parks and ask officials where the color is. You may think you know the best places near you but color is seasonal and changes depending on weather in the previous summer. Park officials will generally have a better idea than you where to look for and see the best color.
2. Bring a tripod. You will need to do some longer exposures to make good fall color shots. You generally won’t be able to hand hold these shots so bring a tripod. Without it you are severely limited.
3. Bring a circular polarizer. One of the tricks to getting deep color out of the fall leaves is to cut through the reflection on the leaves of the sun. Even indirect sun causes a reflection. Circular polarizers cut through this reflection to let you see the deeper, rich color. There is nothing in post that can duplicate this effect digitally so bring the polarizer.
4. Bring a spray bottle full of water with a little gelatin to spray on dry leaves. Nothing looks worse than a completely dry, dead leaf, even if it’s colorful. So bring some water to apray on the leaves and everything will look better.
5. Try to put leaves in context with backgrounds such as trees, rivers, streams and waterfalls. This always makes things more interesting.
6. Try shooting low to the ground instead of straight down. This will give the viewer a whole new perspective and make for more interesting photographs.
7. Avoid cliches like the light streaming through the leaves from the sun. Instead try making images that tell the whole story of the fall cycle.
Fall is a great time for photographers. The sun is lower in the sky than it is in the summer and the light sweeter. Don’t get stuck on the couch. Go out there and make some great fall color shots.