Time for more Fall Color images from my secret location in Wisconsin. Bob Adams and I planned on this several weeks ago, and with some excellent weather in place, we took a chance by going a bit earlier than I usually do. We were also not sure what we would find in this drought year (although Bob’s wife had been in the target area a few days prior, and said there was some color). As it turned out, I think we did ok. Well, I guess you’ll be the judge of that!
Our first photo deployment yielded this. It was a good start. I like the dichotomy of the bare tree and its vivid red/orange friend. A better image would have avoided the other trees on the bottom, but that wasn’t possible here.
This was also taken on our first stop. I wanted a deep depth of field so I stopped my lens down to F/14. Bob and I had to deal with a multitude of prickly vegetation to secure this shot. I was quite vocal each time I was hit. Hey, it hurt!
Still at the same spot, I saw this old, monolithic tree trunk, and felt it required some attention. I wish it had more colors in the background. The sky is a deep blue because I polarized the living snot out of this shot. I tend to over-use my polarizer filter, and that is very evident in these images.
After lunch and now on a new deployment, I ended up with this shot after some additional cropping during post-processing. This was not the original composition.
This image took some time. The sun was behind the clouds so I impatiently waited. I was gone so long Bob must have thought I was taking a crap (or I was eaten by a bear). Anyway, the end result was worth it, methinks.
I took 2 different images here; one portrait (vertical) and one landscape (horizontal). The portrait version worked better; mostly because the trees themselves run vertically. That’s why most of these shots are that orientation.
A decent mixture of colors. It’s not a calendar shot but worth showing. Speaking of calendars, Bob’s eclipse shot back in May was selected for a 2013 space images calendar! Cool!
Always a good idea to get some close-ups. I used a wide aperture (with a corresponding high shutter speed) for a narrow depth of field to help blow out the background.
Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 17-55mm F/2.8G ED lens shot at F/5.6 and a 1/160 of a second shutter speed. ISO 100. Focal length: 17mm.
Another mixture of colors shot. I prefer sunshine versus overcast for Fall colors, as the former really lights them up. Bob got to witness that first hand. You do want some clouds, if possible, to add interest to the sky, but get me sun on my trees!
The angled white tree trunks make this image. It wouldn’t be very interesting without them. Luckily, my secret area (and method) has an assortment of these trees.
Don’t be afraid to get in close and try some underside images, especially of yellows. They turn out pretty cool, like this shot here (that red/orange one from earlier was all right, too).
I had to toss this failure image in here. Bob and I were both grabbed by this scene but we really could not make it work; there was no way to get above the corn. We worked hard to make this work but failed anyway. Sometimes that happens, and that’s why this is here.
I took this exact same shot several years ago, and didn’t realize that until after I got home. The intersecting black tree trunks against the bright colors worked then, and works now.
To get that almost “white illumination” effect, I over-exposed this by a bit on purpose. Do not over-expose too much, or you’ll wash it out (however, if you shoot in RAW you can always correct it).
A local lake gave us this scene. It also shows the area was about 50% to full color saturation. There were plenty of stretches of no color at all, but we managed to find some good pockets of it. The polarizer really helped here.
I used my Tokina ultra-wide Soupcan Stan lens for this shot. Note Bob’s car in the lower right; MISTAKE! I missed that when I shot this. Normally you would not want it in there. It’s easy to miss those things when using an ultra-wide. I still like the shot.
Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 17-55mm F/2.8G ED lens shot at F/6.3 and a 1/125 of a second shutter speed. ISO 100. Focal length: 18mm.
What’s missing from this shot is the jet that passed by, with a very short lived contrail. A prolonged contrail would have ruined the image. Another item of note is wind. If it’s blowing and you take your shot, the leafs will be fuzzy. Be patient and wait for it to stop before you click the shutter button.
Bob spotted what he called “Big Red” and we decided to have a go at it. We had to traverse a field of rather high grass to get this. Bob wanted the classic individual tree and he got it with this. As was the theme, I super-polarized it, but also took one with minimal polarization, as shown here:
Which one do you prefer? I like a saturated, deep blue sky, so I like the first one. Another item about this scene is to make sure to look at different angles when you’re doing Fall colors. This tree looked way different from say, 45 degrees away from where I took this. Bob and I approached it from many angles (all with our cameras on a tripod, I might add).
Another shot of “Big Red”…not so red now, is it? What did I just say about changing your angle? See. I wasn’t kidding, was I?
So, how did we do? Looks to me to be the high-contrast color shots you expect from Blue Light Pix. I haven’t seen Bob’s images but he reported being pleased with them. My secret area comes through again (I have sworn Bob to secrecy as to the exact locations we took our shots at). However, my secret method I’ll share with you; stray from the beaten path. Make sure to wear the proper clothing (shorts are out unless you want to get your legs cut up) and watch out for possible moose!
If you liked these and want to see more Fall Colors, take a look at some of my past shots (from the digital era), by clicking this link HERE!
all images © Scott Woelm – September 2012