Thursday, September 30, 2021

Making great fall foliage images: surprising tips for success

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum impoundment pond in fall.

Too often when photographers think about fall foliage photographs, they're guilty of target fixation.

They're only thinking of photographing fall foliage colors in rolling hills, vast fields and grasslands, solely in rural areas or parks, in bright sunlight and blue skies. While no one can deny that fall foliage images in those areas and conditions can be magnificent, there are many other locations and conditions than can produce equally or even richer photographs of fall foliage.

As autumn leaves change color and slowly fall, photographers need to expand their vision to the wide variety of photographic opportunities that are available to them. Scenes that include ponds or lakes like my image above, that include reflections of the green red, yellow and orange colors in the water can greatly enhance the fall seasonal feeling we look to obtain in fall foliage photographs.

Other opportunities to create these images with their intense colors can be found in rain and morning mists and fog, in urban areas, town centers, small villages, farms and in both landscapes and close-ups. Fall foliage photographic opportunities are virtually everywhere we find deciduous trees, trees that shed their leaves annually.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

A guide for group wildlife walks and hikes to increase everyone's enjoyment

Adult Bald Eagle at the Conowingo DamWhile there are times that photographing wildlife is a solitary activity, personally I also love photographing wildlife on walks and hikes with friends, or on organized bird, butterfly, plant or wildflower walks or on a wildlife photowalk. They're all great ways of seeing wildlife in action in the natural world. They give me a chance to capture images and videos of living nature while in great company.

Much of the reason those “walks” appeal to me is they have a major social aspect. They give everyone on them a chance to be with old friends or maybe meet new friends. They give many of us a chance to help others improve their wildlife knowledge, viewing and identification skills, while learning from them too. For me, they are also opportunities to help others improve their photography both technically and artistically and perhaps have them help me grow in those ways too.

For the uninitiated, much of the lore about wildlife walks and hikes from years ago doesn't reflect what they're like and can be like today. They're no longer staid, silent hikes with everyone in safari khaki, or camouflage, outfitted with backpacks filled with birding and other ID books galore. While good walking or hiking shoes are still preferred, almost any kind of casual, personal clothing is more than acceptable.