Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photographing Fall Colors

Fall colors are spectacular right now. This past weekend we were able to spend some time shooting close to home.

This image taken from top of Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga National Park. We arrived just before sunrise, and Varina used a wide angle lens to capture the color in the sky before it faded. She bracketed the shot in order to capture the entire dynamic range, and then used our manual iHDR technique to combine three images.

Overcast skies are common this time of year, and they provide soft, even lighting - which is ideal for back-lighting fall leaves. Soft directional lighting lets the leaves glow without leaving them overexposed. Jay took this photograph off-trail at Liberty Park.

While enjoying the fall colors, don't forget to notice the small details. Jay took this shot of water droplets on a leaf early in the morning. He used a translucent silk scarf to diffuse the light and prevent harsh shadows and highlights.

We try to make the most of reflections at any time of year, but in the fall, they can be particularly beautiful. In this photograph from last year, Jay used the calm waters of Maroon Lake in Colorado to capture the reflection of the fall colors on the mountains. Jay choose NOT to use his circular polarizer filter because it would have minimized the reflections of the mountains and clouds.

And finally, make the most of Autumn's stormy weather. Passing storms can mean great light. When the clouds open up, make sure you are ready to capture incredible fall color juxtaposed beside dramatic skies!

Tips for Photographing Falls Colors
  • Fall colors are easiest to photograph under a thin, even cloud cover. This provides soft overcast light that helps balance out the highlight and shadows.
  • Don't forget to notice the details - pay attention to water droplets on leaves, and the texture of bark on the trees.
  • Use a circular polarizer to reduce scattered light and enhance Fall colors. This is especially effective when you are photographing wet leaves.
  • When necessary, use a GND filter to balance the light. This will bring out the details in every part of the image.
  • Look for reflections to enhance the colors of the fall images. Don't use a circular polarizer when you are trying to capture reflections.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay and Varina, this seems like a most rewarding autumn outdoor experience. Calm and yet great images of energy and life.

Varina, loved that Brandywine Falls image.
Jay, the water droplets on the leaf is wonderful.

Best regards
Seung Kye

October 28, 2009 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger Varina Patel said...

Thanks, Seung Kye. We've had fantastic color this year - and mild weather has made shooting a real pleasure. It's a perfect combination.

Thanks for taking the time to comment! It's great to hear from you again!

I took some time to look at your website again - you have some beautiful new images!

All the best,

October 28, 2009 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Jay Patel said...

Thanks for the comments, Seung Kye.


October 29, 2009 at 8:21 AM  

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