Shooting Fall Foliage

Shooting Fall Foliage

Yes folks its that time of year when the days get shorter and the summer gives way to Fall.  Cooler temps, occasional rain and most importantly, the changing of color of the leaves on the trees before they drop to the ground.

Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of year to shoot.  Perhaps it’s the scenes that are available in the Fall, or, the fond memories from my childhood it invokes, whatever…… it’s when some of my best shooting and most rewarding shooting is done.

Golden Fall


In the Pacific Northwest, I always, always have a polarizer handy to cut the glare on the foliage caused by the waterfalls, rivers or plentiful rain.  In the Fall, I find I use my polarizer a little more than in other seasons.  Partly because it’s typically raining, partly because there is generally a lot of moisture this time of year and it helps me capture the scene better in camera.

On sunny days I’ll use it to darken the skies a bit and add a little bit of lushness to the colors in the composition.  On a rainy Fall day, I always use it when photographing leaves. When the leaves are wet from rain or fog and if you don’t cut the glare of the water you stand a good chance of losing a lot of saturation and details in your shots.  And as we all know, getting it as good as possible in camera saves a lot of time in post processing.  Also, when shooting close ups of leaves or grape vines, removing the glare of the water helps me bring out the definition of the rain drops so that they are a more prominent element of the composition and bring some added drama to the scene. Drops of Pinot

Blue And Gold

The color palette in your shot can have a dramatic effect on the impact with the viewers. Having complimentary colors in the shot is always pleasing.  Combining blues and golds (or yellows) in a shot mixes two very complimentary colors and can produce a very pleasing shot.

Golden Days

Intimate Scenes

There are great scenes almost everywhere you look.  I especially like to focus on the intimate details of fall.  It’s amazing what you can see if you just look down!  I guess I have a fondness for leaves, either in the trees or after they’ve fallen.

Fall Drops

The above was shot on the sidewalk outside my dads house one rainy day.


A local produce farm provided the setting for this shot

Environmental Conditions

Don’t forget to take advantage of what nature provides.  If you study the weather, or just get lucky, Fall is a great time for fog which can add that extra special element of drama to your photographFoggy Pines

The fog starting to clear out of the forest in Washington

Foggy Vineyard

A foggy morning in the vineyard

Foggy Vista

Fog blanketing the Columbia River during sunrise

Rain Covers

Fall in the Northwest means rain and I don’t let a little rain stop me from shooting.  In fact, that’s when some of the best images can be taken as the water brings out the colors, can add drama or set a mood.  To protect my gear when shooting in the rain, I carry a rain cover in my backpack.

I’ve tried all manner of rain covers from the cheap plastic and elastic to full fledged waterproof nylon ones with view ports and holes for the hands.  Largely you get what you pay for, AND, before you buy one, try and gauge your tolerance for annoyance 🙂  I’ve finally settled on one that I’ve used for the past 5 years with good success and has protected my gear as I need it to.  It’s the Storm Jacket Rain Cover and I purchased it from  Simple to install, easy access to all buttons and dials….it does what I need it to.

Get out and shoot

Fall is a special time that can produce some amazing colors, lots of interesting scenes both large and small as well as it’s a great time to “tell a story” of the changing seasons.  Get on out there and shoot!


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