Falling softly

Fall is in full swing around here and the colours are just about to peak in the area. If you are out and about in the coming week or two, here are a few tips to maximize your shooting opportunities:

Catch the colours at the right time to take advantage of the entire colour array

1- Do your research

Like many things in life, luck favours the prepared mind. Photography is no different. It is always a good idea to monitor fall colour progression reports on the net before you head out on a shoot. Most weather forecast websites will have one, and I encourage you to use it. There is no sense traveling across the country only to realize colours have yet to peak, or worse, are past their prime. If you are shooting in your area, it is also always a good idea to pre-scout a week or two beforehand to get a better sense of where your best opportunities will be. To illustrate how important this can be, here is a little anecdote from this past week. Amanda and I are preparing for a shoot idea this fall that involved bringing models to a couple of favourite waterfalls. Lo and behold, on our scouting trip we discovered that both waterfalls are completely dried up this season, forcing us to change our plans. Had we not pre-scouted, it could have made for some embarrassing moments with our models (and a wasted shoot).

2- Reflections

When most people concentrate on shooting foliage and trees directly, one of my favourite subjects to photograph in the fall is reflections of fall colours on water. There are endless ways to do this, but to add interest to your scene include rocks or other objects (tree trunks) in your images.

You've got to love reflections with such amazing colours

Find a tree stump, then OWN IT :)

3- Get close

With the explosion of colour characteristic of our region, it is easy to get dazed and confused. There is so much to look at and work with that it is hard to concentrate on a subject, leading to somewhat ineffective compositions at times. One easy way to avoid this is simply by concentrating on smaller, intimate areas. Bring out your telephotos or macro lenses and hone in on specific details. Make the image just about the colour by focusing on one or two leaves, on or two trees.

Get close and focus on small elements of the scene

Get even closer

4- Take advantage of fall weather

One of the main characteristics of fall is the juxtaposition of warm days and cool nights. The direct effect of this is the frequent presence of fog or mist early in the morning. Watch the weather forecast and make sure you get up early on cool humid mornings following a warmer day. Take advantage of the soft contrast provided by the fog, then watch it burn off as the sun rises above, leading to some extraordinary light conditions.


Yeah, awesome. That's what I said

5- Camera shake

As nature/landscape photographers I am sure you have all been told time and again to steady your camera to nth degree. Well, sometimes you want to just forget about that, take your camera off the tripod and shoot handheld. Find yourself a bunch of tall dark trees or a nice grove of aspens, make sure you’ve got some gorgeous fall colours as a backdrop, then move your camera up and down as you take your exposure. This will result some lovely abstract photographs with a nice impressionist touch.

I like to move it move it!

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5 Responses to Falling softly

  1. hasnaa says:

    I don’t knwo any thing about photography but i really adore your work the colors the positions oooow kolchiii wsafiii :p keep going brother and i’m watching you :)

  2. Russ Bishop says:

    Great tips and superb images Younes!

  3. Jason Fournier says:

    Very nice Younes. Great post.

  4. Younes says:

    Thank you very much, all!

  5. Amanda says:

    mmm, fall-y goodness! good advice as usual, Younes!