Well autumn is here and the leaves are changing. Everywhere you look there are reds, oranges, yellows–both on the trees and on the ground. So today we will look at different ideas and techniques to use to get those awesome beautiful Autumn landscape images.
First lets look at equipment. The majority of my landscape images are taken with a nikon d700 and 16-35mm lens. I also bring along a 70-200mm but i don’t use it as often. You will also need a tripod and a few filters. I use singh ray filters, they have a nice polarizer that gives you both golden and blue hues at variable degrees of color. Also they have ND graduated filters that you can get really nice results with. finally you need a regular ND filter if you want to get those great shots of waterfalls and streams with leaves all over the rocks and shore.
Autumn is a time of year that is very unique, it’s cold, wet, foggy and miserable to be out in the morning. Unfortunately that’s when you can get the best pictures usually. Here i’m going to outline my typical day from leaving my home to getting the images…
I live in Northern NY, so i’ve got the adirondacks and i live close to vermont and new hampshire. All awesome places to get phenominal colors. So i’ll get up and start driving around 9am or so towards my destination. usually i have a general idea of where i’m going so that helps, you really don’t need much of a plan after the first day, i kinda just play it by ear and see where i end up. so much of the first day is spent getting to the destination, lets say i arrive there about 1pm or so. Now the scouting begins, i’ll drive around that area, looking for streams, waterfalls, ponds–anywhere that might have some good fog rising off the water in the morning.
Don’t be afraid to talk to people either, locals know where all the good spots are and they love telling ya about how cool their town is. Typically you need to find older people though because they take their time to see the world and don’t rush from one place to another ignoring their surroundings. A good way to get into a conversation is find a good image, go ask permission if you can take a picture on their land. Go back, say thanks, show them the picture on your LCD and then ask “do you know anywhere else that is really nice?” and then they will open up a lot.. just make sure you get good directions.
I’ve been scouting around for the day, i’ve found a good spot for sunset pictures and i’ve figured out where i’m going to be going for sunrise. This is super important, you will never find that perfect spot for the sunrise image if you leave the hotel and just drive around in the dark hoping you find somewhere good. You really need to be at the spot before the sun comes up so you will have time to get set up.
After i get my sunset images i start looking for a hotel that is as close as possible to where i’ll be going for the sunrise image. Sunrise is around 630-7am in autumn so we don’t have to get up too early luckily. So i crawl out of bed and drive to my location in the dark. I already know where to go, where to park, where to sit.. it’s all planned out and ready. Make sure you sit at your spot and get a few images, the light will change dramatically every 5 mins or so. Be patient and get a few different color images and use different filters too.
So i’ve gotten my first pictures of the day, now i’ve got about an hour left of good light so i look around for some other things and then i usually make my way back to the hotel or find a restaurant for breakfast. You need to learn to eat around your photography schedule so i often am eating in my car with granola bars or whatever it is you like to munch on. Just make sure you eat, if you don’t eat your brain doesn’t work as well and you won’t be as creative.
And now the day starts over again..keep in mind, this is a basic idea of my day to day plan, but it dosn’t always work out that way, i might see some birds or wildlife that will distract me for a few hours, so you have to decide how strict you will be with your timeline.
And get off the main roads. you wont’ find anything good on a highway, if you are going north just make sure you go north on some back roads. it doesn’t even matter what roads you are going on. i often don’t know where i am until the end of the day. Driving blind like that may scare you, but the results you get will make you smile.
Next week’s blog will be an actual log of what i’ve done and where i’ve gone over the weekend, so we’ll see how this plan worked out.
if you read this leave me some comments, i need ideas for new articles too, don’t just read and ignore, tell me what you think, i can’t improve these or anything if you don’t tell me what you think