For many landscape and nature photographers, autumn is their favourite time of the year. The colours are stunning, dewdrops make for magical macro photos, the nights are colder and this increases the chances of fog & sun rays and the light is getting softer and warmer.
Now that autumn has started it lures photographers back to the forests, waterfalls, landscapes and moors. If you could do with a little autumn inspiration, I have 10 fall photography ideas for you.
1. Fungi! Take pictures of fungi a little bit earlier in autumn when the fallen leaves are not yet hiding them from sight. You can use either a macro lens or a telephoto lens. Try to pay attention to the background. Most of the time it is best to have some distance between the mushroom and the background, so you can throw the background out of focus. Also make sure your mushroom does not merge with another object in the background and make sure you compose in a way that the background does not look chaotic. Choose an aperture that will have your main subject in focus and which is wide enough to blur the background. Of course you can also opt to take picture os mushrooms with a wide angle lens that can focus at close distance. This will then be a picture of a mushroom in its surrounding, but from an unusual viewpoint. This requires a relatively tidy scene though.
2. Paths and roads...Paths can look magical in autumn, especially if there are different kinds of trees in one path. I particularly like to take pictures of alleys in this time of the year, because the fallen leaves hide the asphalt and give it a much more natural look.
3. Colour Contrast...This is the best time of the year if you like high colour contrast. Red or orange leaves against a blue foggy background, yellow leaves floating in water that looks blue, berries against evergreen colours. Keep in mind that over-exposing washes colours out and slightly under exposing will saturate colours more
4. Colourful landscapes...Landscapes can turn into colourful quilts in autumn. The warm light around sunrise and sunset makes these colours even richer. If there is a lot of glare after the rain, you can use a polarising filter to get rid of it. This will also saturate the colours more.
5. Fog...The nights are getting colder and this means that the chances for fog are increased. Look for the dew point and humidity levels. When the temperature reaches the dew point during the night and the humidity levels are high, there is a great chance on fog
6. Sun Rays...When the trees still have their leaves and the humidity levels are high in the early morning, the sun might form amazing sun rays if you are lucky. Don't give up too soon, sometimes a cloud covers the sun and you could miss out on a wonderful light show if you walk away too soon. Read more about capturing sun rays in this blog post
7. Water...Fall colours reflect brilliantly in still lakes; fallen (floating) leaves make great points of interest in waterfall images; leaves in shallow puddles are great abstract subjects...
8. Beautiful Light... The light is warmer and softer in this time of the year. Take advantage of the light around sunrise and sunset and look for opportunities to backlight autumn leaves which will make them look like sparkling gemstones.
9. Stormy skies...Autumn means more storms and this means that you can expect more dramatic skies. If you want to emphasise the drama of the clouds opt for a short shutter speed to freeze the shapes of them. A long shutter speed will take the drama out of it.
10. Dark and moody pictures (spiderwebs, dew drops, dark misty woods) Fog can be incredibly dense in autumn and sometimes it is extremely dark in the forest because of it. These are great conditions for dark and moody pictures. Make sure you use a tripod in the forest, check for wind and adjust your shutter speed and iso accordingly ( if you want to learn all about this, I can highly recommend my Masterclass eBook The Magic Of Forest Photography ).Usually there is not much wind in dense fog, but I have photographed in dense fog in a mountain forest with a lot of wind and this meant I had to opt for fast shutter speeds and higher iso's that I would usually have opted for. If you want to read more about mood in photography, I can recommend this blog post
If you want to learn how to capture the magic of forests in all seasons, check out my beautiful Masterclass eBook The Magic Of Forest Photography