Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

Fall Color in Southern California December 2013

December 19, 2013

Fall Color in Southern California December 2013

For anyone interested in autumn color in Southern California right now 12/18/2013, you can easily find it in just about any creek below a 1,000 ft elevation. Creeks with some flow will have more vibrant trees, sycamore trees vary in color from gold to bright rusty reds. Even a dull tree can become illuminated by backlight so you be surprised what you’ll find close to home. Some of the creeks that are known to more water then others may still be green such as many of the springs in the local mountains.

The creek shown here is located in the Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains near Santa Clarita, California. Just how long will these colorful leaves stay on the trees? It really depends and can change from one canyon to the next. Temperature, exposure to wind, and the amount of water are big factors of how long the leaves linger into January. There are too many canyons to name in Southern California so I encourage you to keep an eye out as drive through any canyons or going out exploring for local gems you never really knew about!!

Lone Cottonwood at Zion National Park

November 27, 2012

Virgin River Cotton at Zion National Park

Every year at Zion you find a tree that has changed color, this is this year’s tree. I’d ask if you guys were sick of seeing photos from Zion but this isn’t one of those icons that you’ve seen a thousand times before… This lone cottonwood tree stands all by itself next to this emerald river in Zion National Park. Per request, this photo can be deleted and replaced with a bridge shot of the watchman!

See it larger here.

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Under the Bridge at Zion

November 30, 2011

Under the Watchman Bridge at Zion National Park

“Life isn’t worth living unless you’re willing to take some big chances and go for broke.”

- Eliot Wiggington

Earlier that day I was scouting for my Zion workshop further up the main canyon so I got here at the last minute and the huge mob was already 5 layers deep and in rows of 40 to 60 people across the famous bridge where everyone shoots the Watchman over the Virgin River.

I tried and tried to squeeze in to catch a view and maybe clone out a few ear lobes on the edges of my composition but it wasn’t going to happen. It was a game of tripod twister and I was surely losing. The mob wouldn’t let me in and I kept trying so they became angry and hurled me up and over the edge of the bridge towards the river bottom. After the impact from the fall I realized I was temporarily paralyzed from the pain and couldn’t try for another bridge shot so I just sadly shot from where I landed, knowing I wish I had the same old bridge composition. A minute later I was hit in the head with my cable release “ouch”, I must of dropped it and at least someone was nice enough to give it back. It’s better to be immobile for a minute then have the crowd of zombies on auto pilot eat my fresh brains!

All though this story didn’t really happen, the message is use your legs people. You shouldn’t take them for granted while they’re there working for you. You don’t need to do exactly what everyone else is doing. It isn’t necessary to go for broke but a small almost effortless deviation can change things dramatically.

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page

Fall Color Photo Tips; Part II

November 19, 2010

• Certain iconic scenes haven’t been photographed to death in certain seasons. A little bit of seasonal touch can go along way. The scene here was made famous by Ansel Adams black and white photography.

Ansel Adams famous Fern Spring with a touch of autumn.

• Everyone will tell you use a polarizer, but why use a polarizer? Without a polarizer these 3 images would be exactly the same. The first image is at full strength of polarization, the last is without any polaration and the middle image could of been created in two different ways. Gets you thinking doesn’t it?

What exactly do you want out of your polarizer?

• If you miss the fall color in the mountains don’t forget about other types of foliage that may change weeks and months later in different locations. You’ll be surprised at what you were missing and overlooked. Fall color is so much more then just aspen and maple trees or whatever first comes to mind.

In California we have the Sierra Nevada that is plentiful in early fall but you can find fall color in many other locations.

• Somethings are easily forgotten so don’t forget to check below your feet. Try to vary your scenes by taking the large expansive landscape vistas, detailed close ups and much more in between these two vastly different views.

Big leaf maples on Yosemite Valley's floor.

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page

Mixing Color into Zion’s Fall Palette

November 15, 2010

You can find many colorful scenes in Zion especially along the Virgin River and it’s tributaries. The golden cottonwoods are plentiful along the water ways so it’s common to find them with their roots running into the streams and creeks but you’ll have to do quite a bit searching to find some red maples very close to the waters edge. They add a splash of color to your Zion scene even if they are red and orange just like the walls of the canyon, at peak they pop against colors in the canyon.

Zion's Virgin River with cottonwood and maple trees near the mouth of the narrows.

The large cottonwood is what initially drew me into the scene, after a student pointed it out but I couldn’t compose it into the scene the way I wanted to and include the maples and reflection so I shifted the lens and merged a couple of files in photoshop. By doing this I was able to include all 3 major elements, the giant cottonwood, red maples and the reflection in a way I found pleasing. By moving the camera you’re increasing you file size and you can easily remove the restraint of the rectangular box viewfinder or LCD. They both exclude the surroundings and help us compose but in a way the LCD and veiwfinder can be limiting so it’s best to keep your options open.

Fall Color Photo Tips; Part 1

September 23, 2010

A few tips and ideas to keep in mind.

Backlighting can be the most dramatic light for fall color.

• Back lighting can be the most dramatic light for fall color scenes and you can capture it all in one exposure most of the time as seen here. Backlit foliage can make some of the dullest pop. Next time you see a colorful tree take a walk around it and see how the vibrancy and glow of leaves change as you walk around the tree. In the image above I decided to angle the camera so I could pick up a hint of side lighting for the shadows on the trunks which added depth to the mostly backlit subject.

Singling out a set of trees against a contrasting backdrop can improve your composition.

• Singling out a set of trees against a contrasting backdrop can improve your composition. Look for patterns to lead your viewers into your scene. In the image above, the partially submerged rounded stones and the diagonal lines created by the moving water were used a two lead ins from both corners of the scene. These lead ins pull the viewer into the simplified middle ground and background.

You can simplify your composition by finding shapes and patterns

• The majority of landscape photography is shot in the golden hour and sunset sunrise light, but fall foliage photography is done all kinds of light. How many times have stood in the bottom of a canyon near the middelo fthe day and noticed one minute you were in shade and the next minute you were in full sun. You can point the camera straight up into the sky in the middle of the day. This image was photographed at noon, you can photograph autumn scenery all day long so make sure you have enough batteries to keep you out from twilight to twilight.

Autumn in Los Angeles

Don't knock your local fall color it can surprise even the best of photographers!

• Don’t knock your local fall color it can surprise even the best of photographers! I would be pretty upset if I missed out on this place that is only 15 minutes from my home. Try finding a creek full of trees close to your home and practice there before you make that long trip and spend all that money on airline tickets, car rentals and gasoline. A little knowledge might be worth more then cost of a trip.

Part II : Fall Color Photo Tips

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page

A Golden Path Into Winter.

September 20, 2010

White River National Forest

It’s that time again and the brisk autumn air is cooling at the higher elevations. No matter where you go in search of fall color you can always find something if you are there a week before or after the main peak. If you feel you are too soon or too late just remember the color changes with elevation and temperature. While you’re following your fall color reports don’t forget to listen to your own intuitions, you might just find what you’re looking for.

These beautiful leaves reminded of brand new fluttering gold coins falling to the ground. This photograph was taken a week after the main peak in the White River National Forest in Colorado.


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