Shorter days and cooler nights… Fresh brewed apple cider… Children running through the night dressed as princesses and super heroes… Autumn is upon us along with the perfect chance to capture some amazing photographs. Foliage, in scientific terms, refers to all leaves, but is more colloquially used to describe the color transitions deciduous trees and shrubs make before shedding their leaves for frozen winters. Forests and mountain rages that were once various shades of green explode with bursts of orange, red, and yellow.
But what’s the best way to plan for a fall foliage shoot?
For the answer we reached out to our friend and Olympus Visionary extraordinaire, Anne Day. Anne is a photojournalist, portrait, wedding and architecture photographer and writer based in New York City and Connecticut. You may have seen her work in publications like TIME, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fortune, Vogue and others. Basically, when Anne offers up advice or tips, it’s in your best interest to jot down some notes.
So without further ado, here’s Anne’s Five Tips for Capturing Stunning Fall Foliage. Please note: all images have been provided courtesy of, and are copyrighted to, Anne Day.
Don’t wait until Fall is “peaking” to get your best autumn pictures. Often by the time the leaves are peaking you’ve lost the color in your grass and other ambient colors. This picture was shot just at the beginning of fall just as the leaves stated changing still giving us the rich green grass and the dark green background which helps the changing color in the trees to pop out.
A sunny day is not necessary to capture the drama of fall colors. sometimes a dark, stormy sky will really add to the drama of the deep reds and oranges in autumn. I watched this storm come in and the closer it got the darker the sky got, the more exciting the colors got. I managed to fire off about a dozen images before the skies broke open and the drama was lost.
But even in the pouring rain you can make a good fall picture -especially from the comfort of your car. I love that some of the leaves are sharp and the moving car headlights coming towards me are twinkling through the raindrops on my windshield. I was parked when I made this picture I would not advise shooting while driving. This was shot with the EM1 12-40 1/125, f2.8.
Then again, sometimes a sunny day is just what you need — see how the blue sky makes these gorgeously orange leaves glow. The leaves are backlit which helps give the sense that they are really glowing from inside.
The Harvest Moon is in mid-October. I’ve tried to photograph the giant orange moon as it rises and had some success if I have the right context. In this case I had better luck when the moon was setting. This shot was made at dawn just as the sun was rising in the east so I had enough ambient light to capture my surroundings while the giant orange moon was setting in the west. I used the EM1 at ISO 400 with the 40-250 1/400 second at f6.3.
The abstraction of this image is made much stronger because of the black trees behind the leaf in focus. After a good rain the bark on the trees gets black and it’s a perfect time to photograph foliage.
Palmer back again. Thanks again to Olympus Visionary Anne Day for her amazing tips on how you can capture stunning fall foliage. If you’d like to learn more about Anne’s work, please check out her website, annedayphotographry.com. Cheers and best of luck with your fall photo shots. Don’t forget to pop over to our Facebook page or Photo of the Day Contest to share what you capture!