Get Ready for Fall, Photographers. Here Are 5 Photo Tips for Autumn.

The frost is on the pumpkin, folks, and that means it’s time to get ready for fall. Here are five things to have in mind as we slip from Daylight Saving Time into the long nights and short days of winter.

“When the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder’s in the shock,” sorry – but every time I start to read that poem I crack up. No offense intended to James Whitcomb Riley, “The Hoosier Poet;” hell, I’m from Indiana, too. But I think Jim Bob was funnin’ us, and if you read the rest of the poem, you’ll probably agree.

1. Oh, Give me a Home Where Didymium Roam
Didymium (it’s pronounced just like it sounds) is a transparent material which contains praseodymium and neodymium and is used by glassblowers and welders to protect their eyes from harmful work-related radiation. You can use it to add that extra snap to pictures of fall foliage. Hoya and other filter makers offer didymium filters in various sizes and usually label them as “Intensifier” filters or some name akin to that. Polarizers are useful, too, but if you haven’t tried didymium, you’re not getting your minimum daily requirement of rare earth elements.


2. Get Your Bearings
Great shots of autumn leaves are more about when to go than where to go. You probably already have your favorite spots; it’s just a question of whether or not the trees are ripe. Our friends at publish a great map that takes the guesswork out of the equation. See it here. In addition to a national map they offer regional sections, too.


3. Sunrise, Sunset!
I enjoy sharing this tip because it’s useful year round. What time does the sun rise? When, exactly, does it set? The US Navy knows, and they maintain a website to share the information. And by the way, Daylight Saving Time ends on 06-NOV this year, so take that into account when studying their charts.

4. But Baby it’s Cold Outside
Keeping your fingers warm when taking pictures in the winter can be a challenge. Keep a hokaron in your pocket and you’ll be so cozy that people will wonder what you’re up to. Hokaron are single-use chemical hand warmers that originated in Japan. You can order Lotte brand hokaron from Amazon for about $1.69 each in packs of ten. For the more adventurous among you, adhesive-backed hokaron allegedly can be stuck to undergarments and other inconspicuous areas that need warmth.

Farmers Markets are a good source for fall colors and textures. ©2016 Jon Sienkiewicz

5. Get Your Bokeh On
Because of the intense colors and naturally abstract nature of fall foliage, it’s a good time to play with bokeh by using telephoto lenses to isolate a leaf or two against a mottled background. The shot illustrated at the top of this story was taken with a 25mm f/0.95 lens at close range. The depth of field is so shallow that it produced a pleasant bokeh effect. This image also reminds you that it’s not necessary to shoot a whole tree to capture some fall color.

Do you have some fall photography wisdom to share? Please leave it in a comment.

—Jon Sienkiewicz

azsaowens's picture

As usual, Jon Sienkiewicz, brings his photography expertise into focus with practical examples that even a novice such as myself can understand. Love his play on words. I'm a Hoosier who now lives in the Sonoran desert; in Tucson, our autumn colors begin late in November or early December.