42nd Street Photo’s Fall Foliage Photography Tips

We have had unseasonably warm weather this Fall but for a photographer this is a great time to shoot beautiful photos. These times of year usually start in September but depending on the weather and part of the country you are in can last into December. 42nd Street Photo is going to give you a few tips that will help you have a very successful Fall foliage shoot.

In the days of film an “enhancing” filter was used to intensify colors. Enhancing filters are doped with rare earth elements such as Didymmium which have selective absorption bands in the visible spectrum. For an extra effect, enhancing filters are sometimes used in conjunction with a polarizer. If you’re shooting film I certainly wouldn’t take every shot with an enhancing filter. Sometimes they can be effective, but they can also sometimes result in an overall red/magenta color cast.

So are enhancing filters still necessary? They could be used, but really aren’t necessary since you can use an image editor to selectively enhance reds, yellows and browns. If you used an enhancing filter and automatic white balance you actually might not see much of an effect since the auto balance may well try to negate the effect of the filter. You’d be better off setting a fixed or custom white balance when using a filter.

Good lighting for foliage is probably a lightly overcast sky, which produces a soft, uniform illumination. Direct sunlight is often too much. If you have to shoot in direct sunlight, you might want to dial down the contrast setting on your digital camera.

Here are a few other tips to consider as well.

• Catch the light in the mornings and evening. Direct sunlight in the middle of the day gives overly harsh, high contrast images.
• The air is clearest in the morning and after rain, so these can be really good times to shoot.
• Look for color contrasts, such as bright red trees against an evergreen background.
• Don’t be afraid to use a telephoto lens to pick out detail in the landscape as well as wide angle lenses when there is a lot of color
• Try the effects of the polarizer, but be careful if you’re using a wide angle lens and the sky is blue.
• If the sky is grey and overcast you can still get good foliage shots, but you may want to minimize the amount of sky you show. Zoom in on the trees and save the sky shots for days which have clear blue skies.

Hope this helps you out and good luck!


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