Tips On Shooting Autumn Landscapes
Photo by David Clapp
When To Take Your Shots
Early morning or the end of the day is perfect for autumnal photography as the warm colour temperatures of the setting or rising sun boosts the autumnal shades. The end of the day tends to be warmer than early morning too which is good news for those stuck in offices all day. Keep an eye on the weather forecast for the evening before you plan on heading out as a cool night helps the autumn shades develop.
Another advantage of heading out of the door early in the morning or later in the evening is the light is more diffused which means the difference between light and shadow areas isn’t as extreme. It’s still worth keeping an eye on your histogram, something which can be done in Live View on many cameras which means you can see the histogram display change as the scene in front of you alters or as you make tweaks to the exposure. This not only saves times but is a lot easier than making changes, taking a shot then checking the histogram.
If the sky’s proving to be a problem as it’s too light, fit an ND filter to your lens to balance the exposure. Of course, if you’re not an early riser and don’t fancy heading out after your tea you can use editing software to boost the autumn colours in your shots too.
Where To Go
The Lakes, Peak District and Brecon Beacons look particularly impressive during autumn but really you just need to go somewhere that gives you a little bit of height and a few breath-taking views.
Switch from auto to cloudy or shade to add an extra level of warmth to your shots that really boosts the autumn shades.
Look For Contrast
If you’re shooting sweeping shots of a forest canopy from a hillside have a look for spots where the oranges and yellows are broken up with greens. Lower down, shoot at the forest’s edge, using the shades of a field to contrast with the orange tones of the forest.
Golden coloured leaves pack some punch when framed against a blue sky but don’t dismiss dark skies either as overcast days can give you moody, richer looking images. Rain clouds look great on the horizon and once the rain has passed, colours naturally become more saturated. If there’s a breeze blowing have a go at using slower shutter speeds to capture the movement of leaves and branches as they blow in the wind to give your images a more abstract feel.
Photo by David Clapp
For sweeping scenic shots it’s important to have foreground detail to add depth and to fill what can be a big empty space in front of the lens. It can also add a sense of scale to a shot but don’t fill it too much as your shot will end up looking too busy and it’ll be hard for the viewer of your shot to find a single point of focus on.
Large rocks and tree stumps work well as foreground interest or you could try setting up your composition with an object that can lead the eye from the front to the back of the shot. Paths created by walkers, streams, walls, fences and bridges all work well. Just remember to use a small aperture (bigger f number) such as f/11 to keep front to back sharpness.
If you don’t want to shoot wide pick up the telephoto lens and use it to focus on a particular point of interest, using its pulling power to isolate your subject.
Remember: Get out of bed early or be prepared to stay out later if mornings aren’t your thing, use foreground interest, keep it simple and think about composition before hitting the shutter button.