When the constellation Orion is well above the horizon in the morning sky, I think of seasons changing once again, and the beginning of fall. The sugar maples are turning red along Route 153, a touch of yellow appears among the birches, and I see my breath when I’m outside at dawn. Each is a reminder of how fortunate we are to live here, ‘cause there’s nothing like Autumn in New Hampshire!
Not only do the trees light up in a blaze of reds, yellows, and oranges, but the change in seasons also means sunrise occurs later in the day - great for when you feel like sleeping in. Additionally, the late summer afternoon thunderstorms have the streams and rivers flowing again and those chilly mornings allow for dreamy morning misty fog along the waterways.
Mother Nature does her best painting during this transition time, to create beautiful scenery to capture. Local farms and town fairs provide excellent photo opportunities this time of year as well.
Here are some ideas to consider when packing your gear bag:
1. Use Different Lenses. Use a telephoto to zoom in on a subject and produce bokeh in the
background, where low aperture settings can make the background a colorful blur for your subject.
2. Framing. Use colorful branches/trees to frame your subject.
3. Scene setting. In an intimate landscape image, don’t hesitate to add more color by distributing leaves you’ve scooped up from the forest floor. It’s your art … make it look the way you want!
4. Get up & go! Colder mornings means mist, clouds, and generally much more interesting sunrises.
5. Get to a town fair. Shoot some competitions, and don’t forget the midway at night.
6. Try a local farm. Seasonal produce stands with piles of pumpkins, bales of hay and bushels of apples, a walk in an orchard with children picking apples … a great place for broad views and detailed images.
7. Intentional Camera Movement. Rotate your camera or drag it left, right, up or down … after setting your camera for an evenly exposed image, increase your shutter speed by 3, 4, or 5 stops (multiply the shutter speed by 8, 16, or 32) to produce some very interesting images.
8. Night Time Photography. A personal favorite. Moonlight produces softer tones and more
pastel-like colors. Midnight on the night of the full moon is the best time to be on location. My typical settings: f/2.8; ISO 400; 30 seconds. If you can’t open that wide, use f/4, ISO 800 and you should be able to keep your shutter at 30 seconds.
So charge your batteries, clean your lenses and filters, start making plans and take advantage of what nature has to offer this Fall. Work around the crowds as best you can. Watch the weather forecast; cold mornings with partly cloudy skies can make for great sunrises. Get up to date on the opening/closing times of local farms, and the dates for the town fairs too. The moon will be full September 20th (might be a little too early) and October 20th (might be a little too late). Sun rise for the next month will occur from 6:15 to 6:30 AM, sunset from 6:30 to 6:15 PM. Plan on Golden Hour from 6:30 to 7:30 AM and 5:15 - 6:15 PM.
Most of all ... stay flexible, get creative, and have fun!
Be well and stay safe,