When most people think of autumn color, they think of heading out of state. But when you photograph close to home, you are able to become intimate with the progression of change as the foliage responds to the season. Montana mountains offer a beautiful color palette with brilliant yellow and gold intermixed with evergreen foliage. In Bozeman, Lindley Park maple leaves turn deep red. Over by Missoula and up at Seely Lake, the Larch trees become golden. In your own backyard? It depends on what you have growing.
You can capture any and all of it with your point and shoot camera. Go to color settings and set your camera on “vivid” or “saturate.” Think about where to best position yourself for a shot -- up close or far away. To photograph the range of color in a forest, get up high so that you can look down on the scene. To photograph an intriguing detail, move in close.
Get confident in shooting macro photos. If you haven’t done that before, practice in your own back yard. Essentially, macro means “close up” and it’s what you want to use when you are ready to create a leaf-portrait. (Look up my Macro Photography article at: http://www.distinctlymontana.com/blog/macro-photography to learn more).
It can be difficult to see the screen on the camera for composition,depending on the light you are in and whether you remembered your baseball cap or not. If you shoot in difficult lighting situations often, consider a magnifier/hood to make it easier to get the picture you want.
Pay attention to weather. A shot taken on a sunny day tells a different story than one taken under clouds or in a light drizzle. For instance, sun gives you more vibrant colors and offers starker contrasts. Keep the sun at your back, though. You want to plan the time of the day for your shot so you know where the sun will be in the sky. To enhance natural light, use a small Promaster SystemPro ReflectaDisc, available at full service photography stores. Use one to bounce more light on to a particular leaf or to fill in shadows with light.
Pursue a particular color, creating a series of images that tell a very particular color story. For instance, how many natural reds can you find as the season progresses? How does the changing light affect the vibrancy of the color?
The glory of digital photography is the ability to take lots of photographs and to easily delete what you don’t want. Play. Experiment. The most important rule of all? There are no rules.You may surprise yourself with what you capture.
Learn more about autumn photography at: http://f11photo.com/autumn-photography.html