Make the most of au­tumn with an ab­stract pho­tog­ra­phy ap­proach

Fall for these photo tech­niques. lau­ren scott ex­plores cre­ative meth­ods for cap­tur­ing the essence of the warm-leafed sea­son

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The tran­si­tional pe­riod be­tween sum­mer and win­ter is an out­door photographer’s dream. We all know au­tumn for its vi­brant, warm colours and at­mo­spheric sun­light, which makes it a splen­did sea­son to ex­plore na­ture with your cam­era. Some projects re­quire pre­ci­sion and con­cen­tra­tion, but you can eas­ily com­bine this one with a fam­ily day out. Why not get the kids in­volved too? Rather than nail­ing any tim­ing or cam­era set­tings, they key for suc­cess here is to hone your cre­ative eye and re­ally con­sider the light­ing in the en­vi­ron­ment. We’ll be tak­ing an ab­stract ap­proach, and fo­cus­ing on the golden hues and shapes rather than tak­ing stan­dard wide-an­gle land­scape shots.

To get started, you don’t need any fancy or spe­cific kit. Our 50mm lens al­ways does a fan­tas­tic job when­ever we want to cap­ture some­thing that’s a lit­tle bit out­side the norm. By throw­ing it open to the widest max­i­mum aper­ture of f/1.8, for ex­am­ple, we were able to look up through the leaf canopy and fo­cus man­u­ally some­where in the fo­liage. Work­ing with a fixed fo­cal length gen­er­ally forces you to re­con­sider what makes a good com­po­si­tion, so give it a go if you don’t usu­ally. The di­rec­tion of the light is also key to get­ting stun­ning au­tum­nal cap­tures. For ex­am­ple, back­light­ing en­hances the lu­mi­nant hues of au­tumn leaves, as the sun­light pierces through. For the most brilliant colours, try shoot­ing to­wards the canopy into a bright sky.

As we’ve al­ready men­tioned, this ap­proach is less about get­ting tech­ni­cally per­fect re­sults. One of the big­gest chal­lenges here is throw­ing the idea of what makes a con­ven­tional shot out of the win­dow. Force your­self to slow down and em­brace your in­ner Zen. Why not make use of man­ual fo­cus to pull out dif­fer­ent lay­ers of the leaf?

We also had a play around with some warm­ing fil­ters–the Lee Fil­ters Au­tumn tint set–in our shoot. There were three dif­fer­ent coloured fil­ters to choose from, and these gave our shots an­other level of warmth. The Au­tumn Tint Set makes the most of the rich golds, reds and browns that typ­ify the Au­tumn sea­son, and they can be used as both hard grads and stan­dards in your scenes. Head to page 51 to find out how to use and add these to your Canon lens for a glow­ing re­sult. There’s plenty to keep you busy with this project, so don your boots and a scarf and get out in those crunchy leaves...

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