The Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness
(From Olney Camera Club article October 2020) Our title is the opening line of Keats’s poem Ode to Autumn. As the end of the summer approaches the keen photographer will be looking to capture the beauty of autumn – the bright jewel colours in the leaves and fruits, low sun and misty mornings
This is also the season when many fungi are abundant and offer a chance of beautiful shots if caught in a shaft of light.
The best times to take photographs are early morning with mists and frosts and low sun, and evening with the promise of beautiful sunsets. There may be moisture on the leaves that will sparkle in the sunshine.
Walks in the woods obviously offer the greatest opportunities for finding autumn scenes, with a wide range of trees offering the best range of colours from red and gold to green. Fallen trees with exposed roots can offer points of interest, as can water where reflections of autumn colours can add extra interest to the scene. In the autumn many of the animals are busy preparing for winter by gathering food to store or eating extra food before hibernation, so they tend to be about more and may offer opportunities for pictures. Even closer to home a walk in the park can offer the chance to take pictures of autumnal trees with figures included. Pick your subjects carefully; figures in red usually stand out, but in autumn look for people in blues or greys to contrast with the autumn colours.
Our first picture shows how to use the contrast of greens and golds, the road is a leading line and the two figures draw the eye into the picture where they are highlighted by the shaft of sunlight.
Autumn is all about colour, the warm tones are similar to those found in sunsets and can upset the auto-white balance on your camera, making everything look too cool, so it is best to use the sunny white balance setting. Our second picture focuses on the colours in a carpet of leaves and only part of the trees are shown giving a restful static picture as though one were sitting on a bench enjoying the peaceful scene.
Remember all the usual rules of photography when taking autumn scenes – use leading lines to draw the viewer into the picture, use the rule of thirds for subjects and make sure landscapes have interest throughout the picture from the foreground to the background and focal point such as a tree or building to draw the viewer’s eye.