Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Capture the Autumn Colours

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons for photography as it’s filled with cool nights, misty mornings, golden lighting, dew drops on spider webs, reflections of autumn colours in the water, long shadows and fallen leaves which all create a great atmosphere. But most importantly, the striking colours in the environment.

The main advantage of living around trees, parks and woodland areas, is that you don’t have to travel far to capture the autumn colours. Most of the woodland locations are easily accessed by public footpaths. Local parks provide plenty of opportunities for close-up nature photography.

The colours at the beginning of autumn can be disappointing, it is advisable to wait till they are rich and vibrant, which is usually at the end of October till end of November. However, keep an eye on your surroundings and keep your gear and equipment ready to capture the best lighting.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when taking autumn photographs:

Camera settings:

SLR: To photograph Landscapes, set the camera on Aperture Mode at f11 or f16, the camera will adjust the shutter speed accordingly. For Close-up Nature photography, use an aperture of f4 or f5.6. The use of a tripod is recommended as exposures will be long.

Compact Camera: Set the camera on Landscape Mode. For close-ups use mode. These modes are also available on SLRs.

I took the below photograph using my compact camera. The photograph has been changed to sepia using an editing software. Many compact cameras have an inbuilt facility which allows you to change the tone of your image. (This can be found in the menu settings of your camera). I always take two photographs of the same scene, one in colour and other in b/w or sepia. 


Trees make dominant focal points and create the finest displays, use ‘rule of third’ to frame the scene.

Catch the light:

The warm light at early morning or evening is perfect to capture some stunning autumn photographs, so get up early to photograph the ‘Golden Light’.

The Golden bench
Bridge on River Thames

Move closer to concentrate on detail:

Instead of just photographing wider landscapes, create a much stronger composition by moving closer to the subject. Focus all the attention on a single subject, such as dew drops on leaves, spider webs, leaves, berries, long shadows, etc.

Rain drop on leave

Dried leave


Visit the local park or the woodlands:

Take photographs at a local park or the woodlands.

Photograph wildlife:

Photograph horses in a field or wildlife in your garden. Feed the birds - putting food and water out will encourage birds in your garden so you don’t have to travel far to photograph the wildlife.

Use backlighting:

Position the sun behind a tree trunk or branches to capture the vibrant colours of the leaves, long shadows and silhouettes

Photograph the autumn mist:

Man in the mist

To capture mist, it is necessary to get up at dawn before sunrise or wait till it is just about to set. Rivers, lakes and open fields are the most likely locations to have mist. Exposures can be tricky, set the exposure at +1 stop to prevent the mist or fog being recorded as dull murky grey.

Here is a small list of locations where you can take autumn photographs:
Local Parks,
Woodland walks near you.

New Forest - for both autumn colours and wildlife

Kew Gardens – autumn colours

Wakehurst Place – autumn colours

Westonbrit Arboretum (Tetbury, Gloucester, GL8 8QS) – autumn colours

Richmond Park (not far from Kew Gardens) – autumn colours and wildlife (herds of deer) 

Bhupinder Ghatahora