Photographing Fallen Leaves
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|Category:||Landscape and Travel|
Fallen Leaves - Make the most of the fallen leaves starting to decorate our landscape.
Photos by Peter Bargh. The left image was a 12 sec exposure at f/6.3. Pete was able to see the photo gradually appear, thanks to Live Time mode found on some Olympus cameras, and mask the sky area first so that area didn't over expose. The mask was then moved down to cover the bank of the river which allowed time for the dark water and swirls of movement to appear.
For this type of autumn photography it's worth packing a polarising filter as one of these will enhance autumn shades and help reduce glare. Then basically, all you need to do is find some autumn leaves, arrange them if you wish then photograph them. Try and get a mix of varieties if you can and if you can wait until the next morning to photograph them, they'll be covered in droplets of morning dew or if you wait until the temperature drops a little more they'll have a dusting of frost, giving you the chance to shoot some abstract Autumnal shots.
Don't have any trees at home? Well you can collect some fallen leaves from the park or venture out early and do your photography there. Look out for scenes where fallen leaves have created interesting patterns without you having to move them or where they’re decorating a particular picturesque scene. A blanket of leaves around the trunks of trees will always make a great shot that really sums up autumn. Look for objects in your garden or around the park that you can use in shots with the leaves you've collected to make a more interesting composition.
Back home, if you have a lightbox you can use it to backlight your leaf so all the detail stands out. If you're using a camera that has Live View it's worth using it to check the overall sharpness of your close up shots. It also comes in handy when you're taking shots where putting your eye to the viewfinder is a little tricky.
If you're working by water where leaves are decorating the land surrounding it or are floating along the surface of the water as it flows downstream, experiment with longer exposure times to blur the water's movement. We say experiment as several factors will effect what length of shutter speeds you'll need to achieve your desired result. If you're an Olympus camera owner you may have the advantage of Live Bulb / Live Time mode which allows you to see the image build on screen in front of you and stop the exposure when you've captured exactly what you want.
Experiment with your camera's white balance settings to find the best colour balance for your shot and if you feel the autumn tones need more depth, use your camera's exposure compensation control and dial a - stop in. You don't need to go too low, a half or one stop should be fine. Having said that, if you shoot in RAW you can always give the colour in your shots a boost when you're back on your computer.