We all love colours and especially in photography, we absolutely adore them. The brighter and more vibrant, the better for us. And needless to say that there is no photographer out there who doesn't wait in anticipation for the Autumn or Fall colours every year.
So, how do we capture those glorious and gorgeous looking colours? What are the best techniques and practices? What do we have to do for best results?
In this article you will find some really good advice, tips and techniques but also some very inspiring autumn colour images that will get you going.
We would like to thank you all for supplying us with images and advice. Unfortunately, we can’t display all the images we received. We had to choose the most suitable ones.
The first thing you need to do is plan your outing. If travelling locally, you have the advantage of visiting the area again and again. If you travel abroad or cross-country, however, then you will need some planning before departure. Usually in every country you can find websites that will inform you of best locations to visit for Autumn colours and the best time within the season.
Another thing you need to remember is the weather. Pointless going anywhere if it is going to rain for the entire day. Also, if you are planning for a sunrise or sunset shoot, you will need to be aware of sunrise and sunset times. Plan your trip carefully and everything will work just fine.
Time of day
There are countless arguments on this subject. You will hear many photographers saying that the best time of day is around sunrise, others prefer sunset. The fact is that the vast majority will visit during the day.
There is no set times or rules for making images with Autumn colours. During the early morning hours, you are more likely to be lucky with mist. During sunset you will probably experience gorgeous side lighting and during the day, light beams in a forest coming from above or stunning diffused light during a cloudy day. The choice is yours to be there on whatever time you wish. One thing is certain, choose the location carefully and you are in for a big surprise.
You do not need an expensive camera and lens, just the one you own will do the job nicely. Our recommendation would be to use some of the following equipment:
- Tripod: If in the woods, you are more likely to experience slow shutter speeds in which case, a tripod will be a necessity. Is that the only reason? Of course not. A tripod will slow you down and this in return, will greatly help with your compositions. Slow down and think about your compositions and take your time to make sure they are all spot on.
- Circular Polarizing Filter: This is the best filter you will need for capturing Autumn colours. It will not only supply your images with vibrant colours, it will also take away any glare from wet surfaces.
- Umbrella: This will come in handy not just in case it rains but also in the case you need to diffuse the light off a small area.
- Padded mat: Remember that you might have to spend time on your knees, this will offer some comfort and extend shooting times.
- Macro Lens: If you own one, it can come in very handy as there is plenty of close up photography to be had.
- Lunch: You can't function with an empty belly now, can you?
What to shoot and what to look for:
Here we have added a list of things to look for, accompanied with some lovely images.
Compose so that the surrounding areas / background are darker and/or dissimilar colors, so that the autumn colors really stand out.
Aspens And Other Trees
A stand of Aspens is always a delight to photograph, especially when they are bathed with golden early morning or late evening light. Also, Aspen leaves offer one of the most stunning colour in nature's palette.
Solitary or stand alone trees can be a superb subject as they provide you with an almost blank canvas full of colour. Make sure you allow for enough breathing space around the tree in the frame. Their colour works well in combination with green grass and blue sky.
Keep an eye on these sudden stormy patterns in weather. They do not only bring rain but also mood, stunning light changes, rainbows and many more surprises.
Hit The Floor
Get down low and put that ultra wide angle lens to test and of course, why not try a strange angle by using a fisheye lens?
Move closer or zoom in on those beautiful details. Combine colours, contrast, textures and patterns.
Get Closer, Use A Macro Lens
Use that macro lens you have in your bag and hasn't been used for ages. Get in close and isolate your subject. Create a beautiful design and use shallow depth of field to emphasise details.
No Need To Go Far
Remember that some times, you do not have to go far to catch the Autumns colours, they can also be found in your house. We need to remember that many of us for any reason, can't get out or not fully mobile. For all those people we have one word to say, improvise, create your own Autumn colours. You can pick up a leaf or two from the garden or even a bunch of things from the veg basket.
A Walk In The Park
Some times your local park can be a great source of inspiration as there is more than you think all around, all you need to do is open your eyes and start looking for various subjects like: Trees in a row, scattered leaves on the ground and so on.
Many parks, woods, little forests or even out in the grand open spaces include some sort of pool, little lake or any other water feature. We should not forget the importance of water in Autumn colour photography and the amount of creativity it can offer. Even colour reflected can create stunning images, without the foliage being even seen.
Visit A Vineyard
Many of us live in countries that produce grapes and wine. Don't forget to visit a vineyard near by, Autumn is the season for grape picking and human activity and colours are the order of the day.
And finally, we shouldn't forget the grand vistas, the ones that every landscape photographer dreams and constantly talks about. Approach them with the same care that you would any other time of year.
Keep all this advice in mind, get out there and have fun.