Obligatory fall foliage post

Like pretty much all photographers, I’m out with the camera a lot this time of year. Sometimes more than I feel inclined to. Is it weird that I sometimes feel pressured to get out and take pictures even though there isn’t anyone standing there with crossed arms and a tapping foot? Like I’m a dancing monkey or something.

I do love it and it is an incredible time to be outside, but it somehow feels a bit like work and I tried really hard to get my head out of that mindset this year. Am I the only one or do you feel like that a little sometimes? It’s stupid, unproductive and just false. No one is making me go out and I have no obligation to do so. But it still feels like a relief to have some fall photographs each year. That I’ve done my duty and been a good photographer. None are jaw-dropping, but damn if I don’t love some direct sun in golden leaves. And the smell out there! It really is wonderful and I wish I could bottle it for that dreary, frozen mud and sticks time of year. Oh wait…I can.

Too much or not enough


Between worlds

Look at how different it was back in September!

Greening into gold

I don’t cheat too much with processing when it comes to these kinds of shots, but I do tweak things to help bring out the qualities I want to emphasize. In the one just above, I used to color sliders and nudged the yellow toward orange, green got a little cooler and the oranges got a little bump in saturation. That last to make the trail a bit more distinct. I also slide the highlights down a tad and lighten the shadows a little. It’s sort of a fake HDR, but closer to how your eye will naturally adjust within a scene with drastically different light values. I draw the line at making it look fake, but I do want it to look magical.

Light flux

Shadows still have to look like shadows and a slight wind will make things a little soft, but I don’t mind. The softness is something I’ve been emphasizing in these kinds of light-filled shots. Even though it’s direct sunlight and can be harsh, the effect through the leaves reminds me of stained glass and overall I want a peaceful feeling. The brush tool and the graduated filter in Lightroom help me achieve this with selective clarity settings.

Riding on the light

I also do a little lens correction when it comes to distortion – reducing that bubble look of my very wide angle and putting the trees at an angle that looks more natural.

For all of these I used a tripod and a polarizer. The polarizer will reduce reflection on the leaves and really bring up the color.

So I’m going to stop beating myself up about what a proper photographer should be doing and just enjoy myself and being out there.

18 thoughts on “Obligatory fall foliage post

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  1. Very wise. Though I think of you as a proper photographer, I understand those kinds of doubts all too well. The best thing we can do is capture the things we love.

  2. Because life and nature is evanescent, the need to do, to produce, is there – like it or not! In the end, you are glad you went. Doing is always better than just thinking about doing, and so much more satisfactory.

    1. Yup. Absolutely. Like right now I’m thinking about going downstairs to lift weights and the longer I put it off the worse I feel. After a lifting session, I feel great, so duh, putting it off does nothing good. Oh and I found a new place to explore next week and I think there will still be lots of color since it’s down south.

      1. Enjoy the weight lifting. I’m going to dig out my summer garden in a bit. Then an errand, and then some painting. Looking forward to seeing your fall pictures – I sure miss the seasonal leaf shows!

  3. We’re in Spain now and it’s been quite hot so we’re missing the leaves changing colors. For us – fall is a pretty perfect time of year and your lovely photos make us green (changing colors) with envy.

  4. I do get out and take a lot of fall color photos too. Usually, the weather is nice and it’s not really work – well maybe if it’s macro stuff on the ground. There is a sense of urgency since once the fall color is done things get kind of boring.

  5. Pingback: Fallison Lake –

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