It is no secret that the fall / autumn season attracts many photographers to the most scenic locations of the world. Photographing fall foliage is a rewarding experience, as it presents very unique opportunities when capturing the transformation of otherwise boring locations into stunning displays of color. I have been photographing fall colors for many years now and I have been fortunate to acquire some knowledge on what specific tools and photography techniques work best in the field. Having just come back from a fall photography workshop in southwest Colorado, where I had a chance to spend time with some amazing photographers from all over the US, I wanted to share a few tips with our readers on how to best capture fall foliage.
We are excited to announce our 2016 Colorado Fall Colors Workshops taking place in one of the most picturesque locations in the world, in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado! This is the workshop that we have been conducting every year for the past 5 years and we are happy to do it again this fall. Just like last year, we will have two different groups, one from September 23-26 and one from September 28-October 1, both spanning a total of 4 days. Get ready to learn a lot, shoot a lot and enjoy quality time with like-minded people that share your passion! The workshops are limited to a total of 10 spots per group and since it usually sells out within 24 hours, we would recommend to register as soon as possible!
UPDATE: Only 2 spots left!
Sincere apologies that this isn’t a gear review or announcement; undoubtedly one of those will be along shortly. In fact, in keeping with most of my articles, this probably won’t educate or inform you. But I’m hoping it will do something far more important than that. I’m hoping it will encourage you to take leave of your daily toil and do some actual photography.
I am currently in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of Colorado, getting ready to conduct my annual Colorado Fall Workshops. Although some of the areas have not turned in their full fall color glory yet, it is just a matter of days at this point to witness the stunning transformation of the scenery before winter rolls its cold in. A breathtaking visual spectacle; something I love indulging myself in, together with some of the most amazing people from all over the world – our readers who will be arriving later this week to join the workshops. As I was trying to catch up with work earlier today, I realized that I was about 30 minutes away from sunset. I looked outside and was disappointed to see a bunch of thick clouds covering the sky. At first, I thought I would just stay and work, but then the thought of potentially losing a sunset opportunity crossed my mind, so I grabbed the Sony A7R II (which I am currently testing) and off I went to quickly get to the first overlook of the glorious Mt Sneffels.
As the maximum temperatures slowly drop below 40 F (6 C), the ephemeral autumn silently gives way to a long winter in New England; but not before weaving its colorful magic yet again. This year, I was fortunate to witness this magic from up close during a weekend camping trip in Acadia National Park in Maine. Colors in Acadia usually peak around mid-October, which roughly coincided with my trip and I found the foliage in good shape: either peaking or just past peak. Moreover, the forecast called for cloudy skies and occasional rain with breaks both in morning and evenings, which meant I can photograph all day: golden light at the fringes and soft, overcast light in between. My equipment was a Nikon D610 and a Nikon F100 (loaded with Velvia 50) along with the a host of Nikkor lenses (with polarizers): Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI, Nikon 24-120 f/4G VR, Nikon 18-35mm, Nikon 50mm f/1.2 AIs, Nikon 85mm f/1.8G and Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR.
Here in California, we do not have the autumn hues to rival New Hampshire or Colorado. Nevertheless, the Sierra Nevada mountain range attracts a good number of photographers and seekers of fall colors every autumn. Yosemite Valley, situated on the western slopes of the Sierras has its own display, thanks to the Black Oaks, Maple, Cottonwoods and Dogwoods, which flourish here. Apart from these, there is the famous Elm tree in Cook’s meadow, which in peak color offers a memorable light show at sunrise and I believe it to be the most photographed Elm in the world.
This is a guest post by one of our Landscape Photography Workshop participants, Emily Fagan (check out her excellent RV blog), who sent me the article along with some pictures, after attending our workshop earlier this year. She sent it to me a while ago, but after getting swamped with too much work and trying to balance things at home with a new baby in our house, my mailbox eventually got flooded with emails and I did not have a chance to get to it for a long time. I hope you enjoy this guest post and get to participate in our future workshops!
I have been so busy during the last couple of months, that I have not had a chance to work on any of the images from my recent trips. October is always a busy month for me, because I try to travel as much as I can in Colorado and Wyoming to capture the fall colors. This year was different than the previous several years, because we got some heavy snow in the mountains right when the leaves started changing colors. Because of this, many of the areas lost a lot of leaves very quickly. The window of opportunity to capture the beauty was only about 5-7 days and unfortunately, I was a little late (but more on that later).
After a crazy work and travel schedule, we are now back! San Juan mountains were breathtaking, I cannot believe that I have not been there before, although I have lived in Colorado for over 12 years now. The colors were beautiful and vivid, but the skies were too clear without a single cloud…
The summer is over and I’m putting together a plan to photograph the fall colors of Colorado. The whole transition from green to yellow, then from yellow to red before the leaves fall off from aspens happens in a very short window of time, lasting 2-3 weeks maximum. If it gets rainy or windy, the leaves fall off even quicker, leaving very little time to photograph the magic of the fall.