Category Archives: Photography

Fall Photography Ideas

Its the middle of September, but it still feels like summer here. Nights and mornings have begun getting cooler, but still in the 80s during the day. What little bit of fall foliage turning color we get is still a few months away. So what do I do when I long to take photos of beautiful autumn forest in full fall color? I try to travel, usually a trip to see family in New England or out to the mountains in Western NC. But I don’t always have as much time as I would like, and getting the foliage just right can be a bit unpredictable no matter how closely I watch the foliage reports. Even in locales that get amazing fall foliage, it really only last a month, an peak color only about a week.

So here is a short list of other fall seasonal themed photo ideas, that don’t focus on the grand landscape shots. Instead think about the smaller details, that are less dramatic but, to me, are equally impactful.

Seasonal harvests, pumpkins, apples, or cotton.

Fall activities and festivals: county fairs, getting lost in a corn maze, apple picking, trick or treating. Really focus on family activities that will be memorable for years to come.

Macro photography of a single leaf. Like in the photo above, of brilliant red virginia creeper leaves in an otherwise green and brown landscape, you may be able to find patches of bright autumn color.

Other plants with fall interest: A garden displaying autumn mum flowers, dunes covered in golden grasses, pine cones, acorns, colorful berries.

Seasonal foods: Apple cider, pumpkin spice latte, hot chocolate, baking for thanksgiving.

Here is a collection of images, some of them my own photos, from Society6 to provide more inspiration.

https://society6.com/ryanmcgurl/collection/autumn-2019?curator=ryanmcgurl

Sunny or Cloudy?

The last time I was at this beach, Rexhame in Marshfield MA, 3 years ago, I really wanted a bright, sunny day to take photos. I didn’t get one. Instead I got cloudy, overcast skies. I ended up really loving my photos from that day anyways.  This year, I went back for a family cookout, and I got my beautiful, sunny days! With bright blue skies and warm brown rocks. I honestly can say I’m pretty happy with my photos from both days, and I love the subtle differences between them. Its amazing how the weather and time of day can give such different results.

Which one do you prefer?

Hidden Falls at Hanging Rock State Park

This is a photo I took in October 2015, at Hanging Rock State Park, here in North Carolina. I had a great day, taking a few short hikes with Panzer and Sasha, but I wasn’t very happy with my photos. I had intended to photograph the waterfalls surrounded by autumn foliage, but nature just wasn’t cooperating. The leaves were not at peak color yet and I’m not sure if it would have made much of a difference anyways, the rhodadendrons around the falls would have stayed green. But I was so proud of myself for using a long exposure to give the water that beautiful gauzy effect. And its a very pretty waterfall and I was happy with the compostition, just not the colors. It took me over a year to settle on the obvious solution, change it to black and white. And now I love it!

I’m not sure “Hidden Falls” is the best name for this waterfall. There is a very clearly marked, relatively easy trail from the parking lot to the river.

Black and White or Color?

I recently read an article about how to take good black and white photos, and it got me thinking. Back in the dark ages, when I learnt to use a SLR, I shot almost exclusively in black and white. Mostly because I had to for assignments, and it was cheaper if I had free access to the chemicals for developing film myself. Also, I had some bullshit idea about it being more artistic. These days I shoot in color, but occasionally take a photo that works just as well, or better in black and white.

I took this pic with my iPhone 6. It works great as a black and white because the focus is on the structure. I feel like it also enhances the contrast to create a more dramatic image.

I took this photo with my Canon 7D DSLR. I used a polarizing filter, thinking that it would enhance to red rocks. It also darkened the sky and the details really pop.