Autumn is a time of change and glorious colors. It is a period where the temperatures cool and the days become shorter. It is always a brilliant time for photography. The fall lends itself to trying out new techniques and gear. It is a great time to be artistic. Autumn can accentuate the sensual richness of color in photography and having the right gear is key. The best part is, every year you can focus on something different. This year, most of my autumn photography is macro.
It always begins with the camera. Depending on how you choose to capture images of the fall, having a decent camera is key. If you want to travel light and fast you can carry a camera like the Olympus EP3 or the Sony NEX C3. However, if you are looking for more versatility, you can choose to work with DSLR’s like the Olympus E-5, Pentax K5, Canon 7D, or Nikon D300s. Whatever camera you choose though, you’re going to need a good lens .
No matter what style of photography you choose for autumn , you are going to need a good lens. If you are shooting landscapes, you are going to want something wide like the Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4 G or the Tamron 18-270mm f3.5-6.3 Superzoom Lens if you’re going on a nature hike. If you want to get close up to your subjects, think about a lens like the Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro. Macro photography in the fall is always fantastic and vivid. A macro lens with give you a nice depth of field and intensify the features of a leaf.
Compose the Fall
Take a moment to review. If you took photos last year, look at them and compose something different this time around. Review things like the Golden Spiral Composition Method and the Rule of Thirds. On the other hand, do not think for too long. Autumn is a finite period as the leaves change and descend, with death and beauty are occurring, together.
Find the fall, whether it is on a tree, in the city, or in the deep forest. Consider your point of view and angle, some subjects will look better shot below giving you a unique dynamic and some will look better shot from above which will give you a sense of symmetry. In the fall you would like to capture as much detail as you possibly can so don’t forget to consider depth of field in your composure. The smaller your aperture the more you will have in focus. If you need to, don’t be afraid to use a tripod.
Sometimes when natural light is not enough, light modifiers are needed. Reflectors like a Westcott 14″ Illuminator silver/white reflector panel will help in low light by allowing you to control the natural light available and avoiding using a flash . If you have to use a flash a Gary Fong collapsible light sphere will soften the light and a Rogue Grid for On-Camera Flashes will give a spotlight effect to your subject. To get the best light in your fall photography, think about the times you are shooting. Daybreak or twilight will give you warm light that strengthens natural colors. When shooting leaves, sometimes try to have them backlit, this will emphasize things like the veins of the leaves and other tiny details. Also remember The Dark Art of Metering. If you are doing autumn landscapes, don’t forget to consider the Right Neutral Density Filter for Landscape Photography
Location is Everything
Do not shoot the easy stuff, think of it as low hanging fruit. That unique shot will not be in plain sight. Take a little time to study your environment. If you want to do a little something different, seek out a community garden. They could possibly have species of trees that are out of the ordinary for your area allowing for images that are more distinctive.
Before you go out to shoot in the autumn, check the weather. If you are shooting landscapes you want to make sure you have dramatic skies, so if you can plan on being at a location right after a good rain you will get a dramatic sky. If you are shooting macro, rain will all so leave pleasant water droplets on leave and drama to the shot. If you want a lot of natural light, use the sun.
Seize the Season
Have fun while you can, before the winter comes and the pigments fade. Autumn is a lovely time of year when it comes to the array of colors available. If you can, travel. Try to look at what other people are not. Get out there and shoot. Have fun.
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