Tip 5: Create Fall Abstracts
Tree trunks, Adirondack State Park
Handheld Canon EOS 5D with Sigma 50–500mm f/4.5–6.3 DG OS lens and polarizer; 1/2 sec at f/32, ISO 50.
This season is a great time for making impressionistic motion-blurred images. Although wind often creates problems when photographing autumn foliage, you can use it to your advantage. So if it starts to blow too hard for sharp shots, switch gears and go for motion blur.
Look to take photos of wind-blown foliage using long exposures of 1/2 sec or more. Such images usually work best if some portion of the scene remains stationary, such as a solid tree trunk surrounded by wind-blown autumn foliage. Use a tripod to ensure that stationary objects are rendered sharp in your photo during the long exposure.
No wind? Try creating your own motion blur by moving the camera during a long exposure to create interesting abstract blurs, as I did in the image above, where I swiped my camera vertically. This technique works well when photographing forest scenes with lots of color. About 1/2 sec to 2 sec of exposure time usually works best with this technique.
Great Places to Shoot
Green Mountains, VT: This pleasant mix of quaint rolling farmland and hillsides covered with brilliant red maples always makes the top of everyone’s fall color list.
White Mountains, NH: Don’t miss the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, which cuts
through some of the most dramatic autumn scenery in the mountains. Adirondack Mountains, NY: The Lake Placid region has stunning mountain scenery, and countless alpine lakes and brooks make for perfect reflection photos.
Acadia National Park, ME: Famous for its rocky coast, this is leaf-peeping paradise, with red blueberry heath atop Cadillac Mountain and maple forests below.
Lake Superior, MN: The north shore has thundering waterfalls and towering cliffs. The fall color under Superior’s stormy weather often yields dramatic images.
West Virginia: Blueberry bushes on the Dolly Sods plateau blaze red in early Oct. Canaan Valley peaks a week or two later. Blackwater Canyon’s mix can’t miss.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC and TN: Some of the finest fall color in the southern U.S., with a dramatic range of elevations for a variety of tree species and peak foliage times.
Blue Ridge Parkway, NC and VA: With 469 miles of mountains, waterfalls, and rolling hills, there’s no end to the photographic possibilities.
Shenandoah National Park, VA: D.C.-area residents are just two hours away from sweeping mountain vistas and bold autumn foliage.
Upper Peninsula, MI: Hot spots include the Porcupine Mountains, Tahquamenon Falls, and south shore of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.