I love fall and all the wonderful feelings that it brings. The warmth of a fire on a chilly evening; warm beverages, spiced desserts, soft blankets, and sweaters… all these wonderful things that come along with a wonderful time of year. The world outside starts to get so colorful in some places, and it begs to be photographed. Living in southern California, I don’t get to see as much fall color as I once did while living in the Midwest. It was something of a tradition to track when the trees would start to change and when things would “peak”, and pack a camera bag and go find some bright trees!
I still do my best to find as many “fall” landscapes as I can. Visiting a forest will almost always provide a good opportunity to see some color. Even in an urban landscape, leaves can be seen blowing down most sidewalks and the bright colors can be spotted!
Depending on where you live, you might have an autumn wonderland right in your yard or a nearby park. Or you might have to hit the road to go find it. Either way, there are more than a few ways to capture this beautiful season, but here are some tips and ideas that I’ve enjoyed over time!
Get Low- Nikon F100, Kodak Ektar
One of my favorite aspects of autumn is the colorful and crunchy leaves that start to show off and carpet the ground. Walking through crunchy leaves is something reminiscent of my childhood and I’ve just never stopped enjoying that sound. When the ground is carpeted in all that color, some of the best angles are right down low next to the leaves. Get low and see how differently you can see things!
Remove the Color -Canon AE-1 with 50mm 1.8, Ilford HP5
Fall leaves can be absolutely stunning in black and white. The textures are beautiful but might be hidden under the bright colors. Take away the color, with a roll of high contrast black and white film, and the texture might just surprise you.
Time It Well - Nikon F100, Kodak Ektar
That last hour of sunlight each day, often known as the “Golden Hour” or “Magic Hour”, seems to get a little more magical at this time of year. The colors get even more saturated and golden, and the sun really adds some pop to the overall look of the scene.
Find A Backlight -Nikon D300S, Nikon 28-105mm
If you get out on a sunny day, try to aim for a leaf or a tree that is backlit by the sun. The colors will pop, and so will the detail of the leaves. All the little lines and detailed edges really show themselves when you look through the leaf, towards the bright sun.
Don’t Ignore A Cloudy Day- Nikon F100, Kodak Ektar
Sometimes an overcast day is a great opportunity to make some moody and interestingly lit photos. A grey day can change the white balance of your photos, changing the look from warm to cool. It can cool the colors down and completely change the tone of the scene. The grey sky also provides smooth light, which can make shadows mostly disappear. Composing an image tightly, without the sky, can even further enhance the eye-catching trees and colors.
Get Close -Nikon N80, Kodak Ektar
Getting close to the autumn landscape can open an entire world of tiny details. I just recently ordered a macro lens from KEH, and am enjoying putting it to work at this time of the year. A leaf up close can have so many little details that are just stunning on film. See what else you can find by also getting low, and you might just find some amazing little worlds waiting for your eye to see!
My ideas for creative autumn photography are some things I’ve had fun with over the years. Fall is a good time to take a breath, and can really spark a burst of creativity. From the fall landscapes to the family time, to the crunchy sidewalks and beautiful sunsets… there is so much to enjoy through a lens at this time of the year!
Do you have good ideas for making unique fall photos? Or have you been to a place that is just breath-taking at this time of the year? Let us know!