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Autumn Foliage
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Autumn Foliage

Autumn foliage is one of the few subjects that can make even the most casual snapshot attractive. To photograph nature's annual fireworks show effectively, though, requires time to think about compositions. Most important, try not to be so overwhelmed by the glory of it all that you miss the leaves for the trees or the trees for the forest.

Pay particular attention to lighting. Because the colors of the leaves are so brilliant, they photograph well in a variety of lighting conditions. On sunny days, work early and late, when the sun, backlighting the leaves, creates a translucent glow. Cloudy days can be good, too, because they create a muted color spectrum, but avoid getting too much gray sky, which will appear as a blank space in a print.

You can often intensify the warmth of autumn colors by choosing a "warming" white balance setting (see your camera manual for instructions on how to change this setting). If you set the white balance to "cloudy day" or "open shade" instead of the normal sunlight mode, for example, the camera will add warmth to the colors because it's trying to compensate for the excessive blue light found on cloudy days or in the shade.

Finally, colors will intensify when wet, so shooting after a gentle rain produces very saturated colors. Use a polarizing filter to remove surface reflection from wet leaves and to darken blues skies.

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