Who loves photography in the fall? I do! And I can imagine you do too. It’s one of my absolute favorite times of year to capture Mother Nature at her finest. Join me this year in one of the most scenic locations for fall photography (as noted by MSN.com!) in the spectacular Ogden Valley. Click on the image for workshop details, and I hope to see you there!
Fall is quite possibly my favorite season. Perhaps it’s because the change in the air is so dramatic. Color, crispness, cooler temps–it’s allllll good. Fall pushes photographers everywhere to dig out both their camera and their personal commitment to creating meaningful imagery. It’s exciting to see the lanscape change so drastically, and quite honestly–there’s beauty in nearly every direction. Nothing fuels a photographer’s fire like gorgeous subject matter at a stone’s throw from nearly every canyon drive.
I’ve had opportunity to get out quite a bit with several workshop students and shoot some of fall’s finest here in northern Utah. The weather, however, has been challenging for the most part, with clear skies and warm temperatures. It has forced us to get creative and really search for meaningful shots without dramatic skies. We did luck out one morning with fantastic storm clouds, and we took full advantage, knowing it was a gift.
While gorgeous in their own right, colorful leaves don’t themselves a memorable image make. I imagine you, just as countless others, have come home from your fall photography forays only to find your images were flat and struggled to convey the sense of grandeur that you witnessed in person. The challenge, is depth. Conveying depth in our fall images is what really helps to take the viewer “there”. A flat mountainside with pretty leaves just won’t cut it. Sure, it’s pretty. But does it have impact? Probably not. Read below for a couple of tips on creating fall images with depth.
1. Establish compositional zones. Find foregrounds, middle grounds and backgrounds for your images. Longer lens shots fall images here in the Wasatch are particularly well suited to this, with intersecting ridge lines and areas of strong color.
2. Search out broken light. Spotty clouds cast spotty or broken light. This random placement of lit and shaded areas carries viewers through the frame and creates that near/far perspective that helps to convey three dimensionality.
3. Use a polarizing filter. Even better, know where and how to use it most effectively. A polarizer will help to reveal full color in the foliage, by removing the natural sheen or reflection. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly (especially on those boring, crystal clear days), a polarizer will deepen skies, helping to add depth and interest to your fall photos. A polarizer is most effective when shot at 90 degrees to the sun–find those compositions that help the polarizer help you!
4. Change your angle to the sun. Fall color takes on a completely different look, depending on your angle to the sun. Front lit aspens can appear dull and washed out, but as soon as place that light source behind them, they glow with life. This is a technique you can use to capture stunning imagery even into the mid-day hours.
5. Use Grad ND Filters. Not sure what they are? Search this blog or get on the Google. I use Singh Ray filters–the best! There’s absolutely no better tool out there for balancing difficult dynamic ranges and allowing you to capture dramatic skies.
6. Get out there. The golden rule of landscape photography. Simply being there will allow you to make magic. It’s too easy to stay home and wait for what you think might be the perfect conditions to capture that five-star fall keeper. How do you know that you haven’t already missed it? Nothing helps to get the creative juices flowing like being out in nature. You’re sure to find something that floats your boat, and then some. Forget the boring weather forecasts or lackluster color-get out there and find a way to excel behind the lens.
Interested in putting this into practice in the field with yours truly? Check out my workshop page for details.
Day three marked the end of my 2009 Fall Foliage workshop. We made the bumpy drive yet one more time over Guardsman Pass and to the Alpine Loop. Arriving with plenty of time to spare, we set up our tripods overlooking intense groupings of red and orange leaves. The maples and oaks were on fire with color! One of the most serene moments of the workshop was watching the dawn glow fade to grey, soon welcoming the rising sun. All was quiet, except for the clicking of shutters, and the subtle grunts of approval as five-star images appeared on everyone’s LCD displays. In addition to the exciting field sessions, we were also able to spend ample time in the classroom, discussing composition, exposure, use of Grad ND filters and numerous other topics pertinent to capturing memorable and meaningful imagery. Many thanks to Cliff Velinga, Todd Smith, Lewie Edwards, Kit Smith, Jon Sheppard and Guy Moore for a fantastic weekend of photography, and maybe just a little bit of fun too…
Day 2 of the ABP Fall Foliage workshop is officially in the bag, and I can say that I am completely and totally spent. In a good way. Despite clear and uninteresting skies, the color this year is absolutely off the charts. The back side of the Wasatch is as good as I’ve ever seen it, and the front side is shaping up nicely. We shot sunrise above Cascade Springs, looking towards Mt. Timpanogos and Cascade Peak. The students are all loving their newfound knowledge of how to implement Singh Ray Grad ND filters into their creative and technical workflow. Finally they are capturing the image in camera as their eyes see it! Delicious late light was in full supply at Willow Lake for tonight’s evening shoot. One more early rise tomorrow, and then the planning begins for next year’s workshop(s). Hope to see you there!
The ABP Fall Foliage Workshop began today to beautiful weather and stunning Wasatch color. I’ve got a great group this year, and it appears the timing for the workshop is perfect as lifesaver colors are vibrant as ever across the Wasatch front and back. The workshop began this afternoon with some classroom discussion on basic photography fundamentals. Additionally, we had an in depth tutorial on using Grad ND filters in scenic photography. The day was capped off by an evening shoot at Cascade Springs. Clear skies made for more challenging shooting than usual, but the dusk glow was epic. Full day tomorrow! Gotta be ready to jet for our sunrise shoot at 5:20 am. Looking forward to updating you with the events of day 2!
We still have several spots open for the 2009 Fall Foliage of the Wasatch Photography Workshop! I’m extending a special offer until Saturday, August 29 at midnight, MST. For each person paying in full, you can bring a spouse/friend/cousin/secret crush/fellow photo enthusiast/whomever you want for 1/2 price. That means two people attending the 3-day workshop for $1,420.00. Screaming deal!!
Last year’s fall photography workshop churned out some stellar imagery, and we hit the nail on the head for peak color. I’m looking forward to yet another fantastic year.
Send an email to adam(at)adambarkerphotography.com if you’d like to take advantage of this offer.