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Tips for Taking Fall Images

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Tips for Taking Fall Images by Dana Bowden Tips for Taking Fall Images by Dana BowdenDuring the Fall, there are plenty of great photo ops with trees, mountains, skyscapes, and lots of other subjects.  Washington DC DPA Instructor Dana Bowden offers some tips to make the most of your Fall images.

Hot air balloons are a photographers dream. They provide an abundance of color and shapes, and, they are usually set up at sunrise, when the light is perfect for photographs.  For this shot, I positioned myself so the sun backlit the red balloon, and waited for the other balloons to come into the frame.  By holding a polarizing filter over the lens, it helped darken the sky, allowing the color of the balloons to come out more saturated.

101 Take Flight dana bowden hot air balloons sky color
Take Flight © 2007 Dana Bowden
I saw this rider on horseback approaching at a high rate of speed, so I knew I would only be able to get off a few frames. I quickly positioned myself low to the ground to get more of the trees, and less of the road in the shot.  As the rider came within range, I started shooting while physically moving the camera from right to left.  Because the light was at his backside, I knew the shutter would be slower, thus blurring the image.  By panning the camera with the rider during the exposure, it gave the background a lateral motion effect by blurring the trees more than the rider.
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Horsing Around © 2007 Dana Bowden

I shot this image while driving in the mountains.  I looked for a good vantage point that would include all the different elements of the landscape, including the sky, rocky mountains, and different types of trees.  Including the one lone aspen tree on the edge of the frame helped to give the photograph a sense of scale and depth.  I was shooting with the lens fully zoomed in, so I steadied the camera on the hood of the car to prevent any blur from camera movement.

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Maroon Bells © 2007 Dana Bowden

While driving on the road and looking at the aspen trees from a distance, they appeared somewhat more dense than they really are up close.  I decided to park the car and walk into the middle of the trees to get a different perspective.  To make the shot more exaggerated, I laid on the ground looking skyward. (I get some of my best images crawling around on the ground).  The early morning light provided a deeply saturated blue sky, and the nice cross light on the trees gave them great separation from the sky.

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Aspens Reaching © 2007 Dana Bowden

While walking through the zoo one evening with my wife and son, the October sky did it’s magic rather unexpectedly.  I found a place where I could include the horizon without too many distractions such as buildings, fences, power wires, etc.  I didn’t want to have to shoot from a low angle, which can be unflattering for people.  I set my camera to fill flash to allow proper exposure of the clouds.  By backing away from the subjects while zooming the lens in closer, it helped to soften the flash on them while narrowing the view of the background, eliminating unwanted clutter on the sides of the frame.

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A Walk in the Park © 2007 Dana Bowden

This was shot while standing on a crate looking straight down on the pumpkins.  They were actually “dwarf” pumpkins.  By cropping in on just the pumpkins, it fills the frame with just the details of the pumpkins themselves, and eliminates anything other information that would distract the viewer, such as scale or position.  I turned the flash off, to give the image better contrast between the pumpkins for depth.

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Box of Pumpkins © 2007 Dana Bowden

This image appealed to me because of this perfect pumpkin sitting upright, as if someone had considered it, yet rejected it.  The low sun presented the ideal “warm” lighting across the pumpkin patch.  I usually try to avoid shooting with the sun directly at my back, however in this instance, while careful not to let my shadow cast on the subject, it worked to perfectly illuminate the whole pumpkin.  By moving closer to the pumpkin with the camera lens set at the widest setting, it allowed the pumpkin to appear larger than the rest, while seeing more of the other pumpkins in the background.

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Pumpkin Waiting © 2007 Dana Bowden

With blues, greens, and yellows, all around me, all that was needed for the perfect fall shot was “Red”. As I drove on, there it was, sitting at the side of the road while it’s driver was taking pictures of the trees.  It sometimes pays off to be aware of what’s moving around, and how it can change a landscape shot.  I used a polarizer over the lens to darken the sky, add contrast, and, cut down the reflections in the sheet metal of the car. By coming in very close, and shooting straight on, it gave just the right amount of distortion to make it seem larger than life.

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55 Jag © 2007 Dana Bowden

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