Tip 1: Make a Mirror Reflection
Round Pond, Adirondack State Park, New York
Tripod-mounted K.B. Canham DLC45 view camera with 150mm f/5.6 Rodenstock Apo-Sironar- N lens; 2 sec at f/22 on Fujichrome Velvia 50.
Windless conditions are critical for achieving mirror-like reflections of autumn color in water. But an uninterrupted mirror can create too static a picture. Instead, look for rocks or logs in the water to break up the reflection and to provide a visual anchor to help strengthen your composition.
Another key factor: the angle of the light. I made this photo at sunrise, when first light started to strike the peak autumn color. Plan to be on location for sunrise and sunset to capture moody autumn shots—midday sunny weather won’t provide nearly as much drama.
Don’t worry, though, if you don’t have ideal weather every day. Fall often brings cool and moist conditions— a magical recipe for fog, morning dew, and striking sunsets and sunrises. I love it when so-called bad weather moves in, as unstable weather can often result in the most photogenic conditions.
And don’t stop shooting when peak color fades. Sometimes you can make the best photographs when the trees stand bare and fallen leaves carpet the forest floor. You'll find poignant images in a mostly bare tree with just a few lone leaves still clinging to the branches.
Post-peak also offers a great time for you to look for scenes of streams and waterfalls with rocks covered with leaves.
If an early snow or frost comes your way, you can also show the transition between autumn and winter.