Autumn Colors in Photographs
Capture Fall in Photographic Images
Fall is one of my favorite seasons! I love the leaves changing colors, the crisp air and the rich aromas of autumn baking.
Each autumn, I take my SLR digital camera out and go for a drive in the gorgeous Oregon forests that are just 10 minutes away from my home. Capturing the fall colors on trees and shrubs is one of my most cherished past times.
Autumn sunlight is less intense than during the summer, as the sun has sunk lower on the horizon. Light streams through brilliant orange, red and yellow leaves, adding dimension and depth to the colors. While its nice to take photographs on sunny afternoons, I also love to experiment with other lights. Fall leaves through rain showers can create images that look almost like watercolors. Early morning hours and at dusk, the dim light add a quiet, calm feeling.
All photographs in this hub are the property of Stephanie Hicks. Please contact me for permission to use.
Composing Fall Photographs
Composing fall photographs is fairly easy. Consider what you want your viewers' eyes to see - a swath of color, individual leaves, a nature scene, or perhaps an illustration of the changing seasons (a leaf falling from the tree, or settling into the water)?
When you look through your view-finder, crop out distracting items like street lamps, directional signs, vehicles and buildings. Some structures may work in photographs, however, like covered bridges, walkways or old fences.
Fall foliage may be the subject of your photographs, or perhaps create a lovely backdrop. My favorite photographs include water features, contrasting evergreens and rock formations.
If you are working with a digital camera, take multiple frames of the same shot, adjusting the angle, bringing in the focus, and experimenting with settings (speed, ISO, aperture). Don't worry about how many images you make. You can always delete extra photographs.
Where Can You Find Fall Foliage?
Because leaves turn colors when they are exposed to fewer hours of sunlight and colder overnight temperatures, you'll find the best, most brilliant fall foliage in northern areas of the United States, Canada and Europe.
Although I have explored many reaches of the Pacific Northwest, in Oregon and my original home of Washington State, with a few excursions into British Columbia, Canada, the maples of the Northeastern region of the U.S. are but a dream for me. I would love to spend October in New England someday!
If you live elsewhere in the world with beautiful fall colors, please vote, and share your location in the comments below!
Why Do Leaves Change Colors in Fall?
Deciduous plants lose their leaves each fall and then bud out again in the springtime.
Unlike evergreens, leafy trees and shrubs use a green chemical called chlorophyll to aid with photosynthesis - the means by which these plants absorb water and CO2 and turn them into glucose for energy, with oxygen as a by-product. In this way, trees are literally the lungs of the planet.
When the days get shorter at the end of summer, it's a signal to plants to prepare for the shorter, colder winter months. Photosynthesis shuts down and the green chlorophyll, which hides the yellows and orange colors that are always present in leaves, fades away.
Brilliant reds and purple colors in fall foliage comes from glucose remaining in the leaves after photosynthesis turns off. Cooler temperatures that arrive in autumn cause the leaves with trapped glucose to turn bright colors.
What fall color do you enjoy best?
Any Camera Will Do
You don't need an expensive camera to take gorgeous fall photographs. Any camera will do. Even a cell phone camera - heck, many of them are pretty high resolution these days.
Digital cameras are pretty much the norm these days, with fewer and fewer people taking film photographs. Whether you want a large, professional SLR (single lens reflex) camera, or a point and shoot, today's camera features make it pretty hard to make a mistake.
For the crispest, cleanest shots, use a steady hand while focusing. Most cameras come with auto-focus, but even a slight wiggle will reduce the sharpness of your shot. Try bracing your shoulder against a building or tree and hold your elbows into your body to minimize shake. Ideally, use a tripod if you have one.
Want or need new camera equipment? With new camera models coming on the market frequently, you can often get amazing deals on eBay.
Where I Found Fall Colors
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