Autumn's on its way which means the chance to capture sweeping landscapes full of autumnal shades is most definitely on the cards. However, before you go running for the door with your wide-angle lens, have a think about the close-up Autumn detail you'll be able to find in your garden or at the park.
- Macro Lens for getting in close.
- If you don't have a DSLR, a compact with a close focus distance around 10cm is fine for macro work.
- A tripods handy when creating low-level compositions and it makes indoor, still life photography easier as you don't have to juggle a camera while you're tweaking and adjusting your composition.
Trees And Leaves
Instead of framing your shot with a wide-angle lens so the whole forest is in the picture, use a macro lens to get closer to bark detail or a single leaf.
As the sun is low in the sky, you can backlight a leaf with the sun to emphasise detail and to create a rim light that'll make your subject 'pop' from the frame. Back home, you can use several leaves from your garden to create interesting close-up compositions you can shoot indoors. Focus on shapes, patterns and symmetry when doing this to create more striking shots.
If you have leaves scattered across your lawn, get up early when you know a frost will be covering the ground and photograph close up shots of the ice-etched foliage. Use a small aperture to make sure more of your image is sharp but if you're working with a leaf that's still on a tree, try using a wider aperture to throw the background out of focus, isolating the leaf in the process.
While you're looking at branches look for frost covered berries as the reds contrast well with the white coloured frost. Don't forget your tripod, macro lens and reflector when you're heading outside, especially if you're working in the shade where frost will last longer but extra light will need to be bounced into your shot. This will help remove the blue cast which can appear when working in shade and allow the frost to sparkle, as you expect it to do.
Look out for vegetables such as pumpkins, squash and marrow which can be used to create interesting still life images. You can shoot these indoors too which means you don't have to head out into the cold! Once you have your props, don't rush setting the scene, take your time to make sure it looks right, moving objects around until you can get the best composition you can. Try to use items that differ in size, colour and add different textures to your shot. To keep things simple, use plain, crease-free backgrounds which can be added to later if needs be and don't forget you can move your camera and tripod to change the composition slightly if changing the position of your props isn't working.
Fungi will be starting to appear in woodland areas soon so next time you're headed for the woods, take a sheet of waterproof material you can kneel on and move in close to the various species of mushrooms the UK has with your macro lens. Learn more about fungi photography here: How To Photograph Fungi