Tag Archives: Colours

Autumn photography – 50 things to think about

Autumn Cherry Leaves

• Autumn Cherry Leaves •
As Fall is upon us. Think of new ways to pull in the eye of the viewer.
Autumn Cherry Leaves by Netkonnexion on Flickr

Autumn is a great time of year.

There is so much to see and photograph. Being out in the open air and lovely locations is part of the attraction. Here are some other important and photographic things to consider.

  • Don’t always go to the same spot. Find somewhere new every Autumn.
  • Fall colours depend on the species, which may not be shown on maps.
  • Check with park information centres to see if the colours are right.
  • Information centres are great at giving directions to the best locations.
  • Watch weather forecasts to see when the best light is likely to show up.
  • Check websites for the area near the location for useful information.

What makes Autumn particularly exciting is the lovely russet and golden colours. Making those come out is not always easy. Think about these points…

  • Even slight greyness in the sky can dampen the colours.
  • Bright colour can be lost against a bright sky, exaggerate colour contrast.
  • Shoot yellows against a darker background so they don’t get lost.
  • Golden colours are best with a red dusk. Aim for times in the Golden Hour.
  • Don’t use a pop-up flash. It will flatten the colour and depth.
  • Use off-camera flash from the side to make leaves translucent and bright.
  • Use side light as much as possible to emphasis shadows and define shapes.
  • Use any greens you can as a back-drop for golden colours.
  • Low sunlight peeping under clouds often brings out yellows.
  • Take pictures after rain – the wetness often revitalises colours.
  • Consider a filter on your camera to exaggerate natural colours.
  • Try shots with as many mixed colours as possible.
  • Try shots with lots of similar colours across the picture.

Every shoot demands its own approach. But here are some ideas to help the Autumn shots work for you…

  • A tripod is essential. A fuzzy shot of a great scene is horrible!
  • Most people forget the wide angle shots.
  • Remember that zoom lenses flatten perspective – consider prime lenses.
  • Consider using white boards and gold reflectors to help bring up colours.
  • You can’t make great images if you are cold/wet. Wear proper clothing.
  • Beware of changing lenses in damp air!
The shots

Found a great place to rejoice in colour and texture? Now you need to think about composition and ideas for your shots…

  • Check out our resources on composition.
  • Before going spend two hours looking at images by others (Google)  External link - opens new tab/page.
  • Work out a list of, say, 25 shots you would like to try out.
  • Concentrate your efforts on a few ideas.
  • Use your trip to try at least one type of shot new to you.
  • Practice your chosen shots before you go.
  • Remember to work the scene at the location.
  • Remember The fifteen second landscape appraisal.
  • Have a go at this old sailors trick to improve landscapes.
  • People often look up when in trees. Look down, there is plenty there.
  • Get really low.
  • Get really close.
  • Experiment with Depth of Field:.
  • Light leaves from behind. Translucent leaves are wonderful.
  • Consider backlighting to bring out shapes.
  • Hold up something interesting and photograph it with your hand.
  • Dogs look great in leaves! Capture your pet having fun!
  • Take a macro lens or macro tubes. Get really close.
  • Look for golden, yellows and reds in reflections… they look great!
Try going to manual (M) settings…

There is nothing more exciting. Get great images knowing they came out the way you intended. Avoid ‘auto’ shots programmed by a boffin at the camera factory.

Autumn and you…

Don’t be so intense that its not fun! Love your trip, enjoy the moment and if possible share it with a friend. Make some great images along the way.

Have a great Autumn.

Comments, additions, amendments or ideas on this article? Contact Us
or why not leave a comment at the bottom of the page…

Like this article? Don’t miss the next — sign up for tips by email.


Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is managing editor of Photokonnexion.com with professional experience in photography, writing, image libraries, and computing. He is also an experienced, webmaster and a trained teacher. Damon runs regular training for digital photographers who are just starting out.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’
By Damon Guy :: Profile on Google+

Thinking about colour

What do we really see? Do you and I see red the same?

What do we really see? Do you and I see red the same?

Can you and I agree on colour?

Do you and I see the same colour when we look at a red object? We may be seeing completely different hues, or tones. There is no way to objectify colour. We see it, have have name for it, but we cannot agree that we see exactly the same thing. What we see is an internal experience and we cannot share it with other people.

White balance

When we see a photograph taken under the influence of a tungsten or fluorescent light we can clearly see the colour casts. Modern DSLRs have standard white balance settings to neutralise these colours as they are so common. What about colour casts that are not so common? Well, in that case we need to set up a custom white balance setting.

The problem is, we do not have an objective measurement of colour that means the same to everyone. However, if we can standardise colour against something, then we would have a way of sharing a colour on a fixed basis. You may see a slightly or very different colour to me. But when you do, if it is standardised, it does not matter. That’s because we can both agree on it against the same standard.

Light which may appear white to the eye is not necessarily an even distribution of colours. The visible colour spectrum contains a combination of colours which together form white. The various colour temperatures in that mix are manifest at the different colour wavelengths. In photography we use a neutral grey (18% grey) as a calibration point that represents the 50% point in the eyes’ contrast range between brilliant white and perfect black. We can use this grey level to allows us to neutralise colour casts generated by sources which are not on the white light spectrum.

How do we neutralise these colour casts using 18% grey? Well, if certain scenes are slightly off colour or we are unable to create a clean white in a white environment there is probably a colour cast or the camera is compensating for too much brightness. For example, it’s common to have grey snow if the camera overcompensates for brightness in the whites. If we calibrate the camera for a custom white balance we can set white settings to be true to the scene in which the grey card is used. To establish the calibration point we photograph the 18% grey card within the light that contains the colour cast. Then we set the 18% grey point to be correctly grey (18%) and this will even out the colour cast. Check your manual for the exact procedure for your camera model.

Of course this assumes that the manufactures got the colour range-calibration correct. However, there is good evidence that we all agree the calibration points produce consistent colour results. So, if we calibrate the camera to the 18% grey card in the ambient light (with colour cast) the same camera colour range will shift from the colour cast to make the camera see the card as 18% grey again. The adjusted colour is a custom white balance – but it adjusts the colours to be consistent with the grey card standard.

Is Your Red The Same as My Red?

In the video we see that it is difficult to agree on the colour match between people. The video shows how different people can see a colour in a unique way but still agree on the existence of the colour even though our experience of it can differ. However, in reality we can only behave as if we agree that colours are the same. We do not have actual knowledge they are same to everyone. Hmmm! Mind bending… but worth thinking about

find out more...Photokonnexion tips by email
If you enjoyed this article please sign up for our
daily email service.
                                                 Find out more