Autumn is the season with perhaps the most variety — if you want to have some tips how to caputre it’s unique atmosphere, read on.
Autumn is a very special season. It brings the most dramatic changes — days are getting shorter rapidly, it starts with hot, bright summer and ends in the cold and dark winter, with many stages between. It’s beautiful colors and special lights makes it a very appealing theme for photography. Below you will find some examples how to exploit the wonderful opportunities it offers.
Of course, some things written here could be applied to spring, too. There is one major difference: the beginning of autumn is much nicer than the beginning of spring. Spring starts much slower than autumn — one day the trees are almost bare, the other they are bursting with fresh leaves. Autumn happens much more slowly.
If you photograph a lot outdoors, you may have experienced that direct sunlight can be extremely bright. Fall is a wonderful season not only because it offers beautiful colors, but the sunlight is much gentler. It is still bright enough to use low-sensitivity (ISO 100, 200) film, which very suitable for capturing bright colors and great contrast, but shadows will also become much less dark.
The other factor that helps a lot in outdoor photography is that the Sun does not climb so high in the sky. It means that the angle of sunlight is much smaller than during th summer — which creates longer shadows, and reflects more Into the shadows — filling them with light.
For the same reason, doing outdoor portraiture during the fall is much more easier. In portraiture, you most probably do not want light coming just above your model — the shadows are not really flattening. During the summer, you get the right lights only at the beginning and at the end of the day. During the fall, you have a much larger (and usually, much more convenient) time frame when you can make your shoot. You can have good side lighting or beautiful highlights almost every day. And you do not have to worry about the fill lights (which sometimes can be a real pain during the summer).
The weather being a bit cooler is also an important factor — you do not have to worry about the model’s skin shining with sweat. Of course, during the summer it may be exactly what you are looking for — however, gentler weather is usually easier to work with.
The most obvious thing you can capture at fall are the colors. Trees start to turn brown, leaves are yellow. If you want to capture the mood, try to get as many colors in one picture as possible. Photographing during sunny days also help to echance them. What is paticularly beautiful is the autumn sky. Because of the gentler sunlight, it has a lighter shade of blue, showing a very fine contrast with the clouds. If you can capture it on your picture, you can have the really authentic autumn feel. Even more than on a gloomy day: clouds can cover the sky in each and every season, but the autumn sky (contrasting with the browning-yellowing trees) is really unique.
Fall’s own special mood is melancholy. We see the nature go to sleep; we, on the other hand, go back to work and school. We are spending more and more time indorros — which means that some places (like playgrounds and summer resorts) are more and more deserted. If you go back to these places during the fall, you can have some really touching photos. Going to a beach can work very well, and the usage of pinhole techniques also helped me a great deal a few times.