Photo walks are probably something you associate with summer, however with autumn shades decorating our countryside and lights getting switched on sooner in cities, you can capture just as interesting shots at this time of year.
Where you walk and how long for really depends on how long you have and what you want to capture but here are a few tips you'll find useful no matter where you walk.
If you're using a DSLR it can be tempting to take various lenses, however if you can pack a zoom that covers various focal lengths, you won't be as weighed down with gear. It makes your walk more of a challenge too, making you work closer to subjects and thinking slightly more out of the box. If you do spot something you really can't capture with your zoom you can always revisit the location on another night / day.
A tripod or monopod will be useful, particularly when you're using longer shutter speeds at night or capturing the movement of autumn trees.
A sling style bag is great for city shoots as they make accessing gear quick and easy. If you're planning an autumnal walk that'll last a few hours or even all day a rucksack would probably be better as you'll be able to pack other supplies and weight will be distributed evenly across your back.
Check The Weather
If a clear night is forecast you should plan an early start as frost will be decorating fields and leaves. Closer to home, look for cobwebs and if it's really cold, ice forming on ponds or puddles if it's rained the night before.
Misty sun rises work well as do snowy landscapes and shots of wet streets after the sun's set and lights are switching on.
Dress For The Weather
By taking the time to check the weather forecast you'll have a good idea on what clothing you'll need for your walk. Sticking your head out of the door is also a good idea as weather forecasters aren't guaranteed to get it right every time! For cold days, wear lightweight layers rather than a couple of thick bulky items as you can always remove layers if you're too warm or add more if you need them. A good pair of boots or shoes that support your ankles, have a good sole and are ideally waterproof are also essential.
Have A Route
A quick, short route that circles back on itself will be fine. Taking a path through woods is good at this time of year and shouldn't be too strenuous. It's also the season when towns begin putting up and switching on Christmas lights so a quick route around your town's streets should also give you plenty of opportunities to capture some interesting night-themed shots.
What To Look For
In towns, get up high to stop problems with converging verticals, plus it'll give you the opportunity to capture some cityscapes. Don't be afraid of getting in close to capture some abstract shots of buildings and capture unique perspectives by changing your angle.
Always tell someone where you're going, how long you'll be and give them an idea of the route you are going to take. This is particularly important at this time of year when cold and icy conditions can make routes harder to navigate. Even if you are only going for a walk around your town, it's still a good idea to let someone know where you'll be, especially when heading out after the sun sets. In fact, if possible, take someone with you on the walk.
Be Aware Of What And Who Is Around You
Traffic in towns, crowds on busy shopping streets and ice at the side of rivers are just some of the dangers you need to keep an eye out for. It's easy to get carried away when you have your eye stuck to a viewfinder, and you can soon be falling over something because you took too many steps forward while you had your eye glued to the camera. This is another good reason for taking someone, especially if they are a non-photographer, with you as they'll be an extra pair of eyes looking out for hazards on your route.
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