First and foremost you’re NOT going to see any backed-off, wide-angle views, of a forrest of fall colors from me. I’ve always found those views pretty, but photographically boring. They’re what the amateurs do with their fixed lens point-n-shoot cameras—usually at the “scenic view” pull-out along side the road!
I do what photography does best—narrow the view and reveal stunning detail. And, you do that with lenses leaning in the telephoto region of focal length.
That being said, lets move on to lighting.
Back-Lighting for intense detail…
f7.1 @ 1/800 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 280mm
With this pair of small leaves 200mm was not enough so I installed my 1.4X extender on my 70-200mm f2.8 lens. The large lens hood with careful framing avoided flare (I HATE detail robbing flare!) in the intense backlight here.
Here I used backlighting for mood…
f7.1 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 400, Lens @ 98mm
With my lens at nearly 100mm I’m still only showing a part of this weeping willow tree; I rarely even photograph a whole single tree. In this image I wanted the juxtaposition of the hanging willow leaves over those interesting red bushes—that have lost their leaves.
Front Lighting can be Tricky….
|f6.3 @ 1/800 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 175mm|
Direct Sun can easily ruin an image if you’re not very careful with your exposure. Those yellow leaves are prone to Clipping—blowing out your highlights—a loss of detail.
Two things made this image work:
- I did this at 5:04pm in November—the sun set at 5:20pm and I chose leaves that had Crossing Light from the left side. That directional light picked-up really nice detail.
- In Addition, I used my camera’s meter in Spot Mode—where I usually keep it—measuring the brightest surfaces of my subjects.
Or Front Lighting can be Easy…
f7.1 @ 1/160th sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
Top lighting here from an overcast sky is super easy to expose. It also creates nice soft colors. If the sun came out in this situation those wet leaves would have clipped like crazy. I cheated with this image and spritzed these leaves with my spray bottle mister until they dripped water—hey What can I say—it wasn’t raining when I needed wet leaves! Besides I don’t like doing photography in the rain.
Fall Colors in Flat Light…
f8.0 @ 1/160th sec., ISO 800; Lens @ 150mm
This was done in full shade under this tree’s canopy. Since flat light can rob a scene of it’s contrast it’s important to pick a scene with lots of contrast. Here I had some great colors against that black tree trunk, which made these leaves glow with color. I did have to go to 800 ISO to capture this hand-held, but my Canon 5D MKII has no problem at that ISO.
I guess this proves that you can create great fall images in most lighting situations. You just have to pick subjects appropriate for the lighting and be careful with your exposures.
Well, ‘till next week…I’m here if you have questions….
Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training Site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client Site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com