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
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...