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Autumn Colors in Photographs

Stephanie is an enthusiastic amateur photographer who loves sharing tips and favorite images.

Capture Fall in Photographic Images

Fall is one of my favorite seasons! I love the leaves changing colors, the crisp air and the rich aromas of autumn baking. Whether you call the season "autumn" or "fall," the brilliant hues of yellows, reds and oranges is nature's treat for the senses.

Each autumn, I for a drive in the gorgeous Oregon forests that are just 10 minutes away from my home. Capturing the fall colors on trees and shrubs is one of my most cherished past times. While I always bring my larger SLR camera with me, today the images I'm able to capture are just as brilliant and impressive with my cell phone.

Autumn sunlight is less intense than during the summer, as the sun has sunk lower on the horizon. Light streams through brilliant orange, red and yellow leaves, adding dimension and depth to the colors. While its nice to take photographs on sunny afternoons, I also love to experiment with other lights. Fall leaves through rain showers can create images that look almost like watercolors. Early morning hours and at dusk, the dim light add a quiet, calm feeling.

All photographs in this hub are the property of Stephanie Hicks. Please contact me for permission to use.

Sunlight through red fall leaves

Sunlight through red fall leaves

Fall trees line Mirror Pond in Bend, Oregon

Fall trees line Mirror Pond in Bend, Oregon

Autumn in full color

Autumn in full color

Composing Fall Photographs

Composing fall photographs is fairly easy. Consider what you want your viewers' eyes to see - a swath of color, individual leaves, a nature scene, or perhaps an illustration of the changing seasons (a leaf falling from the tree, or settling into the water)?

When you look through your view-finder, crop out distracting items like street lamps, directional signs, vehicles and buildings. Some structures may work in photographs, however, like covered bridges, walkways or old fences.

Fall foliage may be the subject of your photographs, or perhaps create a lovely backdrop. My favorite photographs include water features, contrasting evergreens and rock formations.

If you are working with a digital camera, take multiple frames of the same shot, adjusting the angle, bringing in the focus, and experimenting with settings (speed, ISO, aperture). Don't worry about how many images you make. You can always delete extra photographs.

Aspen leaves close up

Aspen leaves close up

Autumn colors contrast with dark lava fields and evergreen trees

Autumn colors contrast with dark lava fields and evergreen trees

Brilliant red fall colors

Brilliant red fall colors

Where Can You Find Fall Foliage?

Because leaves turn colors when they are exposed to fewer hours of sunlight and colder overnight temperatures, you'll find the best, most brilliant fall foliage in northern areas of the United States, Canada and Europe.

Although I have explored many reaches of the Pacific Northwest, in Oregon and my original home of Washington State, with a few excursions into British Columbia, Canada, the maples of the Northeastern region of the U.S. are but a dream for me. I would love to spend October in New England someday!

If you live elsewhere in the world with beautiful fall colors, please vote, and share your location in the comments below!

Mirror images on water

Mirror images on water

Mid-day sun shines behind a colorful autumn tree

Mid-day sun shines behind a colorful autumn tree

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Changing seasons can be captured in unique textures and colors of shrubs

Changing seasons can be captured in unique textures and colors of shrubs

Why Do Leaves Change Colors in Fall?

Deciduous plants lose their leaves each fall and then bud out again in the springtime.

Unlike evergreens, leafy trees and shrubs use a green chemical called chlorophyll to aid with photosynthesis - the means by which these plants absorb water and CO2 and turn them into glucose for energy, with oxygen as a by-product. In this way, trees are literally the lungs of the planet.

When the days get shorter at the end of summer, it's a signal to plants to prepare for the shorter, colder winter months. Photosynthesis shuts down and the green chlorophyll, which hides the yellows and orange colors that are always present in leaves, fades away.

Brilliant reds and purple colors in fall foliage comes from glucose remaining in the leaves after photosynthesis turns off. Cooler temperatures that arrive in autumn cause the leaves with trapped glucose to turn bright colors.

What fall color do you enjoy best?

All you see in this photograph is the reflection of fall foilage

All you see in this photograph is the reflection of fall foilage

One of my favorite images - a fir cone in October

One of my favorite images - a fir cone in October

Fire-colored deciduous leaves among evergreens are particularly beautiful

Fire-colored deciduous leaves among evergreens are particularly beautiful

Autumn colors in reflection

Autumn colors in reflection

For Autumn Photographs, Any Camera Will Do

You don't need an expensive camera to take gorgeous fall photographs. Any camera will do. Even a cell phone camera - heck, many people prefer using their cell phones to take amazing pictures. The quality of resolution is unsurpassed. Plus, you can pretty much guarantee you will have your phone with you as you walk or drive around marveling at autumn leaves.

Digital cameras are the norm these days; only a few remaining purists take film photographs. Whether you want a large, professional SLR (single lens reflex) camera, or a point and shoot, today's camera features make it pretty hard to make a mistake.

For the crispest, cleanest shots, use a steady hand while focusing. Most cameras come with auto-focus, but even a slight wiggle will reduce the sharpness of your shot. Try bracing your shoulder against a building or tree and hold your elbows into your body to minimize shake. Ideally, use a tripod if you have one.

Want or need new camera equipment? With new camera models coming on the market frequently, you can often get amazing deals on sites like eBay or Craigslist.

Changing colors on trees in Drake Park, Bend Oregon

Changing colors on trees in Drake Park, Bend Oregon

I love finding unusual nature shots like this one

I love finding unusual nature shots like this one

The footbridge structure works in this fall photograph

The footbridge structure works in this fall photograph

Some grasses change color during autumn too

Some grasses change color during autumn too

In this photo, the fall colors provide the backdrop

In this photo, the fall colors provide the backdrop

Where I Found Fall Colors in These Autumn Photographs

Groups of autumn trees line a walkway

Groups of autumn trees line a walkway

Autumn golds bleed into a quiet pond

Autumn golds bleed into a quiet pond

The combination of fall colors, rock formations and the Deschutes River is pleasant

The combination of fall colors, rock formations and the Deschutes River is pleasant

Contrasting fall colors, blue skies and green grass

Contrasting fall colors, blue skies and green grass

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Stephanie Marshall

Comments

TANJIM ARAFAT SAJIB from Bangladesh on January 25, 2013:

Very nice and attractive photograph of "Autumn". You have decorated this article well. I am from Bangladesh and I have the same problem like @truebluewriter. If I get any chance to visit those places then it will happen in my life also. Thanks a lot for your nice article.

Malds Menzon from Manila, Philippines on January 23, 2013:

Awesome shots. I love my country (Philippines) but we only have rainy and dry season since we're tropical so it's very rare to find trees that have leaves that change color. I've always envied other countries that have the Fall season because of this.

Great collection :).

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 14, 2012:

Thank you so much Kerry! How fortunate for you to enjoy Autumn down under, as well. All the best, Steph

Kerry43 on December 13, 2012:

Stephanie, these photos are spectacular, great work! I was trying to choose a favorite as I scrolled down the list, but I kept seeing others of equal beauty so it wasn't possible to pick any one in particular. I am sure I was not the only one doing this as I read through lol.

I have been fortunate to experience fall beauty on both ends of this beautiful earth, and although I do love the fall scenes here in the United States, there is also the scent factor which I prefer in Australia. I suppose it's because the smell of things always invokes emotion, and I do get homesick from time to time.

Wonderful hub, shared, voted up & Tweet to you my friend:)

Enjoy your evening

Kerry

lemonkerdz from LIMA, PERU on December 12, 2012:

Love your fotos stephhicks68 autumn are the months i have really missed being away from my home country england. Thanks for bringing autumn to my office today :-)

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 08, 2012:

Thank you very much! Appreciate it!

photostudiosupply from Rochester, New York on November 08, 2012:

Great hub with lots of beautiful natural pictures. Good job stephhicks68. :)

Linda Crist from Central Virginia on October 27, 2012:

Living in the southeast lends itself to beautiful fall colors and I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love this hub and your photos are spectacular. I particularly liked the simplicity of the pine branch photo. I'm not a photographer but you inspire me to try harder. Great hub. Voted up!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 19, 2012:

Thank you! Of course, I had to scroll back up to see your favorite photo. Its been a beautiful autumn here in Oregon. I really do need to take some new photos this year. Fortunately, we are around and not too busy this weekend. Hope you get out with your camera, too! Best, Steph

RTalloni on October 19, 2012:

Just beautiful! It's a difficult decision, but I think I'll vote 4th from the last as my favorite. They are all striking--thanks for sharing. Now I want to have a day out with my camera tomorrow.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 16, 2012:

Thanks renee and Your Cousins - the leaves are so pretty here again, I am inspired to go out and take more photographs! Maybe a part-two hub on Autumn Colors. Appreciate the comments! Best, Steph

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on October 14, 2012:

Lovely photographs, especially the footbridge shot. Our community in Georgia always explodes into beautiful shades of yellow, orange and brown every autumn. I just wish the colorful leaves would stay on the trees a little longer!

Tori Leumas on October 12, 2012:

Autumn is is my favorite season! The pictures you posted are beautiful! Middle and upper Michigan have beautiful autumn colors as well, especially the Upper Peninsula!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 08, 2012:

Thank you Barb! I really appreciate your compliment. Photography has always been a hobby of mine. Years ago, I took a class and I have many books with "how tos," as well.

Ironically, when I took my photography class 90% of the class (myself included) only had 35mm film SLR cameras. The instructor was not prepared to teach us digital tricks. I think that was in 2000, or something. Boy, I feel old!

All the best, Steph

Barbara Anne Helberg from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA on October 08, 2012:

@stephhicks68...Your photos are a visual treat! Outstanding work! They well demonstrate your attention to using light sources. You have beautiful country to work with in Oregon, and you have a professional's touch with the camera!

Personally, I'm located where companies suddenly think everyone works with digital photography these days and soon only digital versions will be available. I still use a regular 35mm throw away camera, and many of the results upload just beautifully on the Internet! The vastness of film service is about to end, however.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on August 23, 2012:

Thank you so much, Movie Master! It was a delight taking these photographs and putting the hub together. :) Best, Steph

Movie Master from United Kingdom on August 23, 2012:

What a fabulous hub, I could look at these pictures all day long!

Wonderful, thank you and voted up!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 10, 2012:

Thank you PennyLu - no place like Central Oregon in the Autumn! Cheers, Steph

PennyLu on May 10, 2012:

Really enjoyed this, and it made me homesick for Central Oregon! Thanks especially for all the beautiful photos!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 10, 2012:

Thanks Just_Rodney and JSParker! Appreciate you stopping by to see the photographs. Oregon is very beautiful. Best, Steph

JSParker from Detroit, Michigan on May 10, 2012:

Oregon is beautiful. Your photos are beautiful. I enjoyed your slide show as the sample of the new format. Bravo!

Rodney Fagan from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City on April 23, 2012:

Mirror pond is always a good photographic subject.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 22, 2012:

Thank you Stephanie! You take amazing photographs for your hubs, so I especially appreciate your comment. All the best, Steph

Stephanie Henkel from USA on April 22, 2012:

I'm so glad I found your fall photo gallery today! What beautiful examples of fall foliage and colors! I particularly love the photographs with reflections of colors in the water- they are all so lovely!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 21, 2012:

That is so cool! Love to hear that the photographs are being shared/shown as a slideshow example. I do love fall! :)

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on April 21, 2012:

Found my way here as the slide show of stunning photos in this hub are being used as an example of the new slide show.

Thoroughly enjoyed viewing these lovely images of fall.

Voted up across the board except for funny.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 20, 2012:

Thank you Leah - I really love fall, too! In fact, Spring is my second favorite season and, while enjoying blooms today, I thought about the beautiful fall colors. All the best, Steph

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 20, 2012:

Very awesome to hear, M.T. Thanks much, Steph

Shasta Matova from USA on April 20, 2012:

These are gorgeous photos. They are used as an example of the new slideshow view on the blog.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on April 20, 2012:

Such gorgeous photographs, stephhicks! Fall is my favorite season - with the crisp air and leaf piles. Too bad that winter always follows with its endless snow! The pictures of fall leaves over the water are simply breathtaking!

stessily on February 23, 2012:

Steph, Absolutely stunning photos of autumn's glorious colours! As a lover of water, I am especially drawn to your photos of autumnal foliage along the Deschutes River and Mirror Pond --- gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on February 05, 2012:

Absolutely! I have always dreamed of going to New England in Autumn to see the fall colors. I'm sure New Hampshire is divine! Best, Steph

crookedcreekphoto from Ohio, USA on February 05, 2012:

Fantastic photographs. I look forward to visiting Oregon someday. Believe me if you ever get a chance to visit New Hampshire in the autumn, take it. It is really beautiful there.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 30, 2011:

Thanks WannaB, yes - Drake Park here in Bend is just beautiful reflecting the autumn colors of the trees. Such a beautiful time of year. Cheers, Steph

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on November 30, 2011:

Just returned to look at your gorgeous pictures once again. You are fortunate to have access to so much water to get those wonderful reflections.

George moore on November 14, 2011:

Really good advice,tips and techniques and also some very inspiring Autumn Colour images that will inspire me.

Another same article i found here . just for share

http://photograpyreview.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-t...

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 13, 2011:

Thank you Rebecca, Robin and Whonunuwho,

Oregon is so beautiful this time of year! I am inspired to head out and take more photographs of the gorgeous fall colors. Best, Steph

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 13, 2011:

Breathtaking beauty. I thought we had some nice color here in North Georgia. Not! I'm jealous.

Robin Anderson from United States on October 13, 2011:

I agree Autumn is my favorite season too. Awesome photos!

whonunuwho from United States on October 10, 2011:

One of the moat beautiful hubs that I've ever seen. I am an artist and appreciate this very much. Wonderful pictures.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 25, 2011:

Thanks to you (and erthfrend)! Manny, I just discovered your winter photograph hub and its beautiful! I'm following you now, so I will see when you publish your fall colors hub. Have a great day, Steph