Notes on lighting
Another area that can pose a potential
stumbling block for fall photography is light-
ing. Photographing fall color during sunny
midday light often results in colors that are
washed out or simply lost in a sea of dark
shadows and bright highlights. One of the
easiest ways to capture rich colors is to shoot
on mostly cloudy or even bright overcast
days. Rather than making the photos dark, as
you might expect, overcast conditions can
actually greatly increase the vibrancy and
color saturation of your pictures.
If you do try photographing leaves on a
sunny day, try shooting early or late in the
day, when the sun is lower in the sky, and
experiment with backlighting, in which you
shoot toward the general direction of the sun;
this can cause the semi-transparent autumn
leaves to literally glow with color. Or, if your
goal is to capture autumn colors against a vivid
blue sky, try photographing with the sun
behind you (called “front lighting”).
Create fall backgrounds
Pro photographers enjoy photographing
autumn leaves, of course, but they also know
that one of the best uses for fall colors is not
necessarily to make them the star of the
photo, but to utilize them as a background for
other great subjects. Portraits of your friends,
family and pets can all benefit from colorful
foliage in the background.
You don’t have to place your subject right
up close to the leaves for this to work; in fact, in
many cases it’s better to place your subject a fair
distance away from the background of leaves.
When you do this, the emphasis will be on the
main subject, and the colorful leaves will
become a slightly blurred accent. Try it—it
really works! C
Daniel Johnson ( foxhillphoto.com) is a professional pet photographer and the author of
several animal and photography books.
for great color
YOU CAN LIKELY find fall colors of
some kind in most areas, but if you’d like
to travel to a specific color-splashed spot,
here are a few ideas. Remember to
research and inquire about the status
of the year’s current crop of color, as
the exact time period and extent of the
show changes from year to year.—DJ
• The northern Midwest: Michigan,
Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc.
• The northern New England area:
Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, etc.
• Rocky Mountain states: Wyoming,
Colorado, Montana, etc.
Color-rich national parks:
• Great Smoky Mountains National Park
in Tennessee and North Carolina
• Rocky Mountain National Park
• Acadia National Park in Maine
• Yosemite National Park in California
• Shenandoah National Park
• Denali National Park in Alaska
(remember that autumn comes
a bit earlier in Alaska)
• Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
• Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio
Don’t overlook the possibility
of using the color as a background for other subjects like
friends, family and pets to add
an extra dimension.
Be on the lookout for
bright, overcast days. In this
image, the overcast conditions
helped boost color saturation and
kept harsh shadows to a minimum.
Re;ections = color x 2! A lake during very calm
conditions (perhaps early in the morning) can
allow for a mirrored re;ection of fall color.
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to watch a video with Dan
Johnson providing fall photography tips.
(See page 13 for details.)