​Tips for autumn photography

​Tips for autumn photography

In colorful autumn, I like to swim in nature and take pictures more or less every day. The leaves were definitely my focus, canvas prints but over the years I've come to the conclusion that you have to go into the nearby woodlands and shoot more intimate scenes. Shooting in the woods opens up a whole new world and opens up a myriad of compositions and possibilities. However, when you first enter the woods, you will find that the woods are a chaotic and chaotic place for photography, and it is difficult to find and shoot a good composition. What's worse, an elaborate forest scene needs some human elements to tell a story to the audience and make it more adaptable to the fast-paced social media that is always available! Fortunately, this did not become the reason for me to give up forest photography, I have been studying and shooting, and finally mastered some techniques to make the forest image eye-catching, here to share with you, I hope to love autumn photography, can provide some help.

The best equipment for autumn forest photography

Shooting outdoors means that your camera and lens will be exposed to severe weather (please don't say bad weather and not go outside to shoot). Ordinary entry-level cameras and lenses are not adequate for rain, fog, canvas prints online and frost. If you want to shoot smoothly all the time without worrying about damaging the equipment, you need professional-grade equipment. My advice here is not that you can't shoot with entry-level gear, but that you need to keep an eye on the weather. You also need to do careful research in advance to prevent severe weather. So before heading to the woods, make sure you have the right gear.

The basic kit list I was filming:

Camera body: I use the Nikon D800, but more importantly its accessories and the functionality behind them. Wide-angle lens: it is the main character in most landscape photographers' bag, and most photographers carry a wide-angle lens. Telephoto lenses: In conventional landscape photography, a wide-angle lens is probably the most popular lens, large canvas prints but in the woods, things change. Most of my successful woodland images were shot with a focal length of 50mm or above, and I found Sigma 70-200mm F / 2.8 performed well when shot in the woods. Macro lenses: It depends on whether you like macro photography or not, but if you do (as I do), woodland environments offer plenty of opportunities for those who like to shoot up close. Tripod: It is recommended to use a tripod when shooting in the woods, especially in thick scenes, tripod is very important. Under a tree, the light is not ideal even on a clear day, so a tripod must be used if long exposures are to be made to avoid shaking the camera. Circular polarizer: Using a polarizer not only reduces the glare caused by moisture on the plants, but also makes the colors of the trees more popular and adds important color contrast to the scene.

Preparation for shooting autumn woods

With the right shooting equipment, you can't go into the woods right away to shoot, but you need to observe and understand the scene in advance to be targeted.

1. Evaluate the scenario

You need to train yourself to see everything: the deep dark shadows on the trees on one side when it rains, the blinding light on the leaves, the branches on the floor, a branch sticking out on the left side, the trees, etc. Look around the scene in front of you so that you fully understand the underlying composition. Evaluate every little detail and find a way to solve the "problem".

2. Reduce clutter

Use a telephoto lens: The woods are mostly cluttered, but there are a number of tricks that can help you clean up the scene. The first is a telephoto lens. Shooting with it compresses the picture and allows you to zoom in to include some basic elements in the composition. Helps you "visually" stack the trees together and also gives you a sense of depth in your shot. Telephoto lenses are my best friend in the woods, and 75% of my photos of the woods are taken with them. However, it depends on the specific scene of the forest. If the fog is too thick, I stick to a wide-angle lens. Choose your shooting Angle: The second technique that can help you clear out visual clutter in the woods is your shooting Angle. If you can't always see a suitable scene, move around the area before shooting, as even moving a few centimeters can sometimes change the composition. Therefore, I recommend taking some time to find the best Angle, and you can skip the tripod for a while. Sometimes, finding a higher or lower point of view will greatly help block out the clutter without distracting the viewer. Use portrait shots: You can also clean up the scene by selecting portrait shots. Vertical composition may be just what you need to emphasize the shape of a group of tree trunks in the chaos of the forest floor. Choosing a vertical screen is more challenging because it means that the image will include a distracting sky (due to its brightness resulting in a high light ratio).

Good weather conditions for shooting trees

Weather conditions are especially important when shooting in the woods. Most people think that the ideal weather is sunny, but this is the worst choice for forest photography. Forest photography requires soft scattering of light to avoid adding to visual confusion. The following weather or time periods are most suitable for shooting:

1. Prime time

"Prime time" low-angle light is usually most popular in woodland photography. At this point, the trees block most of the incoming sunlight, leaving a beam of light to reach the ground through the branches. Warm light juxtaposed cool shade tones with yellow sunlight. If you're lucky enough to encounter fog rolling through the trees, the effect is unparalleled.

2. Cloudy weather

A cloudy sky is ideal for shooting in the woods. The light is soft and there is not much shadow. It is the ideal weather for shooting. At this point, the clouds are like a studio softbox. They can soften the harsh light, lighten the shadows and have the right light, making it the perfect moment to shoot in the woods. The sharp contrast caused by the sun disappears and the pattern of bushes, trunks, branches and leaves becomes more distinct. It's far from perfect grandeur, but the trees beneath the clouds are perfect.

3. It's sunny noon time

At midday, the sun's rays through the trees contrast sharply with the cool shadows. Whether or not to shoot in such a light environment depends on your shooting needs.

4, Rainy weather

I also like to take photos on rainy days, which will make the colors of the woods become deeper and saturated, which can increase the charm of forest photography. In this case, I also use a polarizer to avoid the glare on the leaves.

5. Misty weather

As we discussed above, the main reason people have trouble with forest photography is that the scene is too cluttered. The woods are an area of life, and where there is life, there is always chaos. The chaotic environment makes it difficult for photographers trying to create a simple composition, but fog can change that. Fog helps to simplify the chaotic woodland scene, making it easier to capture the atmosphere and mystery. The mist covers part of the forest, helps you simplify the structure and adds atmosphere to the lens. Therefore, fog is a very popular element in any scene photography, as it can completely change the environment as it floats over a wooded area. If you expect a foggy morning, be sure to get up early so you don't miss the opportunity to shoot.

04 autumn forest photography camera Settings

The fall forest photography will vary depending on the weather or time of day and camera Settings.

1. In the warm light of "prime time"

At this point, the correct camera Settings will be very different from normal. I tend to constantly change the shutter speed and aperture depending on the effect I want to capture. For hand-held shots in the woods, keep the shutter speed around 1/60 of a second or faster, especially with a telephoto lens. Using an aperture of around F / 8 usually produces a clear image while maintaining a pleasant depth of field.

2. In dim light

The light is usually dim in the woods, and a very high ISO and very long shutter speeds, or a wide aperture resulting in a shallow depth of field, are often used for correct exposures. Ideally, you want to set a very low ISO to avoid noise, use a small aperture to achieve a large depth of field, and a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement of branches and leaves. But in most cases, using such a setup is not practical. In dim light you will need to use long exposures and high ISO shots, even starting at F / 2.8 aperture values and shooting at ISO 1600 for 3 or 4 seconds. Adjust shutter speed or ISO upwards or downwards (using maximum aperture) and adjust the exposure triangle values reasonably until you have captured the desired exposure.

In the woods, bright highlights and dark shadows can make accurate exposures difficult, and while histograms can be helpful, you don't really know if the exposure is accurate until you see it on a computer screen. Sometimes using a focus stack or enclosing exposures is an effective way to solve this problem.

Tips for autumn forest photography composition

1. Find order in chaos

Finding a sense of order in the chaos of twisted trees and low-hanging branches is crucial to forest photography. The forest has a very chaotic environment, rich in plants, animals and water compared to the surrounding area. This allowed more animals and vegetation to appear in the area, forming a biosphere of diverse species. Although this is fantastic for nature, it can be very difficult for a photographer. Since photography is an art of subtraction, it is challenging to photograph a simple and aesthetically pleasing forest.

It takes practice to hone this skill, and if you learn to find points of interest and elements of order in a cluttered forest, you can improve your forest photography. You can use a telephoto lens to isolate simple subjects, please choose to include the surrounding chaos and draw attention to the otherwise chaotic world.

Tip: Try not to include the sky in your composition. Usually, the sky can be seen through the gaps between the leaves, but the huge difference in brightness means they end up as ugly bright spots. Please exclude them as much as possible when shooting.

2. Use the guide line

The path through the trees provides the perfect guide line to draw the viewer into the image. Many woods have a path through them that works well when trying to capture the audience's attention and bring out the perfect subject. You can use the path through the trees as a focus and lead line, and you can often simplify the scene as well. But it is not just roads that can be used as guidelines. If you shoot in prime time, the trees are beautifully elongated shadows created by the low Angle of the sun, which is also perfect as a guide line to the focus.

3. Depth is key

Elongated shadows in the morning light enhance the depth and atmosphere of the autumn woods. Photography is about bringing the viewer into the frame and making them feel like they are in the scene being shot.

One of the best techniques for making all forms of photography look perfect is to enhance the depth of the image. This is especially true for forest photography. The clutter of trees and lack of focus often make the image look rather bland.

There are some tricks we can use to solve this problem. For example, try using a longer focal length and a larger aperture to deflect the background from focus, or you can use environmental factors, such as the longer shadows mentioned above, or morning mist.

4. Look for comparisons

Looking for contrast in the woods is one of the key ways to create focus, and this is a good technique if you want to keep your attention focused. For example, a small patch of sunlit woodland can be contrasted with the surrounding dark forest. In addition to light and shade contrast, color contrast is also a very important aspect.

The theory of color is too complex to go into depth here, but you need to understand the principle of the color wheel, which can help you with composition.

Similar colors: Colors that are adjacent to each other on the hue wheel, such as green and yellow. If they are used side by side in an image, they will have a harmonious feeling. This can be very useful, but in a chaotic forest environment, we need more contrast. Complementary colors: Complementary colors are the colors that are opposite each other on the hue wheel, such as red and green. These colors can complement each other, but to a certain extent, these contrasting colors can also become a point of interest for the audience. Autumn woods are full of reds, oranges, and yellows, and with less green, it's hard to find a contrast. But the blue sky is a very complementary background.

Tips for autumn photography

06 autumn forest photography to pay attention to a few issues

In addition to the above mentioned techniques for shooting trees, we should also pay attention to the following questions:

1. Depth and aperture

Before shooting, consider the depth and aperture. Do you want to capture the entire landscape or highlight the details? For example, to create more depth and focus on one element, use a larger aperture (such as F / 2.8) to make the photo more interesting and to create a loose background. Also, use a smaller aperture (narrow aperture) to get a clear picture of the whole scene.

2. Low light conditions

When you're shooting in a dark forest, it can be difficult to shoot clearly and maintain a certain amount of brightness. You could raise the ISO to 800 or higher to increase the brightness of the picture, but this would create too much noise. At this point, use a tripod and increase the aperture. This will stabilize the camera and ensure a sharp image, even if the shutter speed is slowed. If you are still not satisfied with the light, use manual mode to adjust the shutter speed.

3. About depth of field

In terms of depth of field, I sometimes use the focus stack technique, but based on my shooting experience, it has to be used with caution. Because photos aren't always perfect, they can make branches and leaves look weird. Of course, there are some solutions, but I would point out that even, flat clarity reduces the depth of the work. I've found that having a clear foreground and main elements is enough; in fact, blurry edge elements are more conducive to composition.

4. The influence of the wind

There's another thing to consider in a forest shoot, and that's wind. When I take pictures in the woods, I really don't like the wind, because if you focus on the leaves, the breeze causes the twigs to shake, which makes the image look strange. I choose an aperture of about F8-16 and use the fastest shutter speed possible, depending on the wind.

5. Include people or wild animals

If you are interested in more than just forest landscapes, you can add human or animal elements to your forest photography. This will make the work more dynamic and full of stories. Use a long zoom lens (if any) for this type of shot. Remote filming does not disturb them. It's a good idea to use a tripod again. Because the more you zoom in on a scene, the harder it is to keep the camera steady and take sharp, sharp pictures.

6. Try black and white forest photography

The forest photography is perfectly converted to black and white, creating a striking contrast between the tree trunks and the shadows and dark background.

In the woods, learn to spend some time looking. We usually see the world in color, and determining how to display a color scene in black and white is challenging and requires a lot of practice. Here are some tips:

Look for contrast: Scenes with bright and dark colors tend to convert well to black and white. Use backlight: Light coming from behind the subject may be difficult to use in color photography, but it's very effective in the black-and-white contrast world. Embrace shadows: Metering the bright parts of the scene usually turns the dark shadows nearly black. This helps you remove distracting elements from the picture.

Post processing of autumn forest photography

Please pay attention to thousands of light and shadow, photography road with you

I don't use batch post processing for forest images. As with all of my other types of photography, I'm going to do it one photo at a time. However, there are some similarities in post-processing. My post-photography experience of forest photography is as follows:

Noise rarely represents a major problem. Sharpening should be done with care to avoid artifacts. Contrast and sharpness must also be used with caution as it is easy to create unnatural effects. I often end up with sharpness down to about -5, while contrast usually stays at 0. Be very careful to adjust the color, including hue, saturation, floating frames canvas prints and brightness. Pay special attention to green and yellow, and try different color balances. I always use a single exposure to shoot scenes, but sometimes I try to use techniques like panoramic stitching, perspective mixing, focus stacking and even focal length stacking, and while the forest scene and all its lines and details will be nice, it can be a little difficult to integrate them. If I want to remove some useless details (such as strange branches and bright spots in the sky), I find that the speck repair tool in Photoshop usually does a good job. If not, try using the Clay-stamp tool.

18th Nov 2020

Recent Posts