Crispness is in the air and leaves are starting to fall and change colors here in the Midwest signals fall is here. One question that I get quite a bit is how can I really show fall color in my photographs? Great question and I would like to offer up these tips from my experience with fall color.
First off plan. Using online resources like the Fall Foliage Map is a great starting point to determine when, according to weather and global climate, colors will peak in your state. It allows you to target the date to help you plan your trip. Now, I will say that even with the best of planning, Mother Nature can have other ideas so this tool is not 100% accurate and is just a predictor. Nonetheless, a good starting point.
The other tips that I have are with the light. Watch the ever changing light patterns on the trees. Trees that are backlit make the colors pop and if you stop down you can even get the starburst. I like to do this when the skies have no clouds or is overcast.
This tip is great advice that I was given while on a photo workshop and that is to use a polarizer. Traditional use is to remove glare or reflections, but in the case of fall color, it is more to remove the blueish cast from the sky reflecting off the leaves.
Here is the polarizer at work. Rotated to make the tree line, the water and the foreground their natural looking color while leaving the sky alone. Fall color is just beginning to spread through the trees.
Here is the original picture. The difference are subtle, but important none the less. Look at the grass and how the foreground is bright. This distracted the eye as it will always look for the brightest part of the image first. Notice how the polarizer brought in the subtleties of the clouds and the color in the tree line with the blue cast from the sky as well. So is this to by used always, no, but having this tool works really well when needed.
Fall color is descending upon us quickly, so get out and enjoy the fall colors the nature has to offer and I hope you will be rewarded.
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