A good place to start is the Web site: yankeefoliage.com, which Yankee Magazine hosts and maintains. Its peak foliage forecast map shows how the color progresses from early to late, working its way from northern Maine to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island in the south. The Web site also provides detailed maps of specific routes where the color is spectacular and a list of the best fall foliage towns.
If you only have a weekend for digital photography of New England’s fall foliage, then you may have to drive a bit more to “chase” the colors to where they are peaking. An optimum plan is to select an area to visit or vacation for a week and arrive a day or two before peak color is predicted. You’ll have a few days to scout locations, as you also enjoy the New England countryside and its hospitality, and then have the remainder of the week to photograph that countryside at peak color.
As with so much landscape and nature photography, shooting during early morning and late evening will offer images magically transposed by the low light and thickening atmosphere that you can’t find during the middle of the day.
Make sure you bring the proper outerwear, boots, raingear, etc., so you’re able to trudge cross-country to find great images that can’t be photographed from your parked car on the side of the road. If you see an excellent shooting location, but it appears to be on private property, then simply drive to the farmhouse or home down the road and ask permission to enter the property. Offer to send the homeowner a print of your photo of his or her property, or view from the property.
In your fall foliage compositions, follow the lead of the great landscape photographers and position you and your camera where can include a foreground object that balances and creates contrast with the broad expanse of the background. In the New England countryside, this shouldn’t be difficult. You’ll find old fences or a single fence post, maybe a farm implement or a small outbuilding. Look for a puddle in the foreground filled with a colorful mosaic of fallen leaves.
If you have the opportunity to photograph a particular area for a number of days, then consider selecting a single tree and shoot images of it everyday, creating a series that shows the color changing.
No doubt, the colorful landscape will be so overwhelming that you’ll feel compelled to photograph great, panoramic pictures. Certainly, take some of these photos and use your camera’s panorama mode if it has one. Try to clear your mind of the wonderful landscape for a moment, however, and think of capturing the fall foliage at a close-up, or even macro, level. On that single tree suggested in #6 above, also photograph a close-up of a single leaf for a number of days to show its changing color.
Fall in the U.S. is excellent season for some of your best digital photography. The highlight for many is the mantle of color, from bright yellows to deep reds, which Nature paints across the enormous expanses of deciduous trees throughout the northern latitudes of the country. New Englanders will argue, and with good reason, that no section of the country can rival the spectacular colors of the leaves in their Northeastern states.
It’s a digital photography adventure that you should experience as often as possible; but to put you and your camera in the best locations at the right times takes a bit of planning. Plan early, however, and you won’t miss the best images available.
It’s important to know that predicting peak color in a specific location is an inexact science because temperature and moisture are a bit different every year. In general, the leaves in northern Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire are just beginning to turn during the second week of September. Suddenly, by the third week, virtually all the leaves in the New England states are starting to lose their green color. Northern Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire are in the mid-range of color. By the fourth week of September, these northern latitudes have reached peak season. The middle weeks of October are when most of New England is at peak color, with the northern New England states in the late stage.
Digital photography of New England’s fall foliage is both a great learning experience and an opportunity to relax. Concentrate your photography to the early morning and late evening hours and you’ll have all day to explore the villages and culture of New England…but keep your camera ready!
You’ll be even better prepared to capture spectacular images of New England’s fall foliage with the tips and techniques you’ll find when you click here.
Photo copyright PhotographyTalk member Gary
People who read this PhotographyTalk.com article also liked:
Your feedback is important to thousands of PhotographyTalk.com fans and us. If this article is helpful, then please click the Like and Re-Tweet buttons at the top left of this article.