Capturing Fall

10 tips for Photographing Fall Colors

It’s officially fall and that means gorgeous colors are all over the Heber Valley! Here are some tips to capturing great photos of the spectacular colors this autumn.

Location. Location. Location!

With so many accessible places in the Heber Valley, here is a list of my favorite spots to photograph fall colors with super results.
Up the road from Currant Creek (via Lake Creek) to Strawberry Reservoir there are a couple of patches of rare maverick red aspens. These vibrant red and orange aspens are right on the side of the road and are best photographed in the morning light.
Go above Cascade Springs (including Deer Creek Overlook) and take the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway.
Drive through Wasatch State Park to Guardsman Pass and up Snake Creek Canyon.

Time.

Colors are changing earlier this year, so you need to get out there as soon as possible. Usually by the second week in October they are past peak.

Light.

Use the light to your advantage and avoid the harsh contrast light of midday that strips the leaves of their color. Try to capture your images during the golden hours (right after sunrise and before sunset) when soft, warm magical images can happen.

Back lighting.

On a clear day, you can take advantage of the light by positioning yourself to shoot into the sun. Backlit leaves will become translucent, revealing their most vivid colors.

Filter.

Shoot with a polarizing filter to maximize the colors and eliminate reflections. Polarizer filters work best when at a 90-degree angle to the sun with the sun behind you.

Rain.

Shoot fall colors after a rain storm, as the rain adds a vivid new dimension to the leaves.

Close-ups.

Shoot fall colors super-duper close up, using a macro lens if you have one. Fill the viewfinder.

Reflections.

Look for opportunities to use reflections of fall leaves in ponds, rivers and lakes.

Exposure.

Use the lowest ISO setting your camera will allow (to avoid grainy images) and underexpose slightly for rich color. If its windy the leaves will look out of focus, so use your camera’s auto ISO feature and set your shutter speed to a range between 1/50 and 1/100 to stop the windy action. It works like a charm.

Be creative.

Try creating a kaleidoscope eddy by floating a few colorful leaves on water. Set your camera on a tripod and use a long exposure (several seconds), then stir the leaves in a circular pattern with a stick and activate the trigger.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and have fun capturing the beauty of fall in the Heber Valley!