We are on the cusp of fall colors appearing on our trees and bushes. So this is the time to scout out the best places and times to capture that color. Photography is not always about capturing a moment that you happen to stumble on. But with a little observation and planning you can create a better photograph that is worthy of a matte and frame for a place on the wall. No matter if you are creating a photograph with a professional camera or your phone, it is not the camera that makes the photograph it is you.
Things to consider:
Time of day can make or break a photograph. Typically people will a photograph when the sun is high in the sky. This can create heavy shadows and colors can tend to be washed out leaving your viewer unmoved by the photograph. Instead consider creating your photograph at dawn or dusk which is known as the golden hours. This is the time when the light is not as powerful but enough so that colors will tend to pop. Thus creating a mood that can impact you viewer and isn’t it that what you are trying to do? My suggestion is to get up early and go out at dawn. Dawn is the time of day you are most likely to encounter fog that hangs low to the ground. This gives the photograph that little extra to the image that makes it one of a kind.
Look for ponds, lakes and slow flowing rivers that, when still, reflect the trees. That reflection of color can create an impact to the viewer they may want a copy for their wall. Sometimes just the reflection of the color in the trees on the water can be the subject alone. Fallen leaves or leaf in a still pool of water can be just as powerful as a whole tree.
Explore your subject:
Once the color has come out don’t just shoot one photograph and be done, instead walk around the subject to see other potential photographs you can create. The big misconception is that a professional photographer will just go out, find the subject and shoot one or two photographs and they are done for the day. That is far from the truth. You must grab the photographs you planned for then explore the surroundings for any opportunity you might miss.
Things to take:
First and foremost is to be open to the possibilities that may be in front of you.Open eyes and looking at your subject from many angles will yield a better photograph. For anyone taking a digital SLR be sure to take a tripod and a cable release to help steady your shot. Most DSLRs have a fast enough ISO rating to take a hand held shot, but why? To help make a better noise free photograph, lower the ISO to 100 or 200. This will slow down the shutter speeds but you will get a better quality photograph.For those who have phone cameras anything else that is not a DSLR then you will have to be innovative when it comes to stabilizing your camera. Suggestions would be to use your car if you can, fence post, tree anything that will help you hold your camera still. Once you have taken the photograph and before you walk away, zoom in to the photograph to make sure you have a sharp image. I would think it would be mading to go home, look over your photos on the computer and find that all are blurred because of camera shake.
So remember to scout for a subject and look for all the possibilities of photographs you can create. Don’t forget about reflective surfaces to add that something to the photograph. Get up early or if you are not an early riser maybe look for the trees that look best at dusk. But if you miss the early morning fog you may be kicking yourself later. Take a tripod or something to stabilize the camera. Hate to have a great shot only to see that you have a fuzzy image due to camera shake. Most of all, have fun and explore the outside because soon the snow will fly, temperatures will drop and you will be stuck inside.
Can’t wait to see your photographs. Have Fun!