The air is crisp, the leaves are changing color, there are piles of squash outside my grocery store. It is officially fall— even here in San Francisco with the temperatures dipping into the bone-chilling 40s—and fall always reminds me of my mother.
My mother is fall color obsessed. Growing up, she would ‘torture’ my siblings and I by pointing out every instance of fall color as we drove around our California suburb. “Wow! Emily, look out there! Look that that fall color!” “Gorgeous fall color!” “Look that that Japanese maple-— beautiful fall color!” “Those leaves! Fantastic fall color!”. There are a lot of trees in the suburbs and I admired a lot of fall color.
Now, older and wiser, I can admit that my mother was right. Fall is absolutely beautiful because of the red, orange and yellow leaves set against blue skies and green grass. Here are a few tips on how best photograph this dynamic season.
Shoot in the golden hours around sunrise and sunset
Don’t ignore overcast days – the shadows are softer and the mood is different
Don’t forget to bring a tripod! – preserve detail (think ISO 100) and keep photos shake-free when shooting at dusk
Look for color contrasts – yellow leaves on a blue sky or red leaves on green grass
Slightly underexpose your shots so colors aren’t blown out
Shoot camera RAW or play with different white balance settings – sometimes Auto WB isn’t going to cut it
Try a polarizing filter to bump up contrasts between complementary colors
Play with contrast, hue and saturation in Photoshop, iPhoto, Picnik or Piscassa
Now get on it before the landscape looks like this …