- The Complete Guide to Nature Photography: Professional Techniques for Capturing Digital Images of Nature and Wildlife
- Nature Photography Photo Workshop
- National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs
- Digital Wildlife Photography
- David Busch's Close-Up and Macro Photography Compact Field Guide
- Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques
As we move through October, depending on where you live, the weather has begun to cool and dry out, leaves are slowing drifting off the trees, and the colors are changing into wonderful hues of yellow, orange, and red - whether in pumpkins or maple leaves-fall is everywhere. Here are a few tips toward better autumn photography:
#1) Easier or quicker usually doesn't mean better
When you happen upon a nice fall landscape, don't just settle for a photo from the spot you first noticed it. Move around to find a great foreground, search for that best angle, locate that optimal place to set your tripod down, wait for better light - as
we say in the industry, work the scene. Subtle changes with light and location in your colorful compositions can make a huge difference.
#2) Exposure and Flash creates saturated color
If you underexpose red, it will become a deep maroon red - overexpose red and it will become pink. The same goes for colors like orange and yellow. If you don't understand your meter and miss exposures on these colors, you will lose a big part of your autumn
scene. Learn how to expose scenes like this and your autumn landscapes will improve. Another trick is using your strobe in shady situations. Light adds color, so if you capture wonderful warm autumn hues in the cool light of shade, these colors tend to cancel
each other out - add flash to these scenes and the direct specular light brings that color back.
#3) Make those colors pop
If you've ever scene a color wheel, you begin to understand the relationship of various hues and why they may or may not pop off an image. Red is close to being the opposite of green, yellow is the opposite of blue, and orange sits somewhere between -
closer to cyan. If you are able to find subject matter to emphasize these differences, you can produce a fall image where the color jumps off the screen - it's why a red tree among a row of evergreens, or a mix of fall colored-leaves lying in a puddle with
the reflection of the blue sky has so much impact.
#4) Use the weather and the season to your advantage
When the season changes, so does the weather, and consequently the environment as well. As leaves fall from trees, they begin to thin out and new views emerge, nonexistent when the tree was full during summer months. New scenery opening up like this can
create window-light framing for backgrounds. If the wrong weather rolls in covering a blue sky, consider shooting scenes that don't include it. Snow-fed rivers once raging during spring and early summer months have less water passing through them, allowing
you to capture still water moments or crisp reflections. When working with translucent subjects like leaves, consider backlighting them in order for the light to shine through - this brings out those wonderful tones and intricate shapes and details.
But the best tip I could give is to simply make the effort to get out there with your camera - the beauty of nature is powerful, and the changing of a season is magical.
Sean teaches Nature and Landscape Photography