Fall is such a beautiful time of the year, when the bright green leaves of summer turn to red and gold. Rows of trees seem to be colored various shades of sunbeams and the bright blue sky is the perfect backdrop. Autumn is the season for taking breathtaking scenic images and here are some golden guidelines to capture the spirit of the season:
1. Use filters – polarizing filters are fantastic for reducing atmospheric haze and boosting the vividness of colors. Skies become bluer and the autumn colors really become enhanced. If you don’t have one, try placing polarized sunglasses over the camera lens as a simple alternative. You can also use warming filters to make the scene appear to have a golden tint. The quick way out if you don’t have one is to add it in post processing. Most photo editing programs have photo filter options you can use to mimic the effect.
2. Take pictures at dawn or dusk – these are called the ‘golden hours’ or ‘magic hours’, when the sun is near the horizon and it’s rays appear golden as they shine on the scene. The light is more diffused and warm during the first and last hour of sunlight, and it is the perfect time for getting those stunning autumn shots since the lighting adds to the mood.
3. Take pictures with overcast skies – when the sun is behind a cloud, it is a good time to take out your camera, not keep it. Overcast days mean indirect and diffused sunlight, less harsh shadows, and you can still capture the various shades of yellow, orange and red in the trees and fields that fall images are known for.
4. Use contrasting colors – if you want to put emphasis on a certain subject or area in the frame, an effective way to do so is to use color contrasts or light contrasts. For example, red contrasts with green so a red leaf would really stand out against green grass or a green leafy background. Another example is yellow contrasts with blue. You can take advantage of the blue sky as the perfect background to a row of golden trees.
5. Adjust your white balance setting – this setting affects the color temperature of the image, and you can tweak it to make a scene appear warmer or cooler. Instead of leaving the white balance setting at ‘auto’ mode, choose an appropriate setting that would boost the effect you intend. Since we want warm tones to portray that autumn atmosphere, use the ‘cloudy’ setting to add a warm tone to the shot. Just be careful, though, because sometimes the scene may be already golden and adding a warm tone might be too much.
6. Have variety – the beauty of autumn is found not only in the vast glorious landscapes but also in a single leaf. You can shoot in macro and capture the veined details of a leaf that is changing color or take a picture of a lone tree on a hill or a panoramic shot of a field with rows of red gold trees in the distance. You can also include foreground interest such as a person or a structure.
7. Don’t forget the holidays – autumn covers a span of approximately three months which vary depending what hemisphere you are in. During this time, holidays and other special occasions may be celebrated which you can take advantage of as subject matter for your shots. For instance, both Halloween and Thanksgiving are celebrated during this season in the northern hemisphere. There are hundreds of photo opportunities to be grabbed during these times so take care not to miss them.
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