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#Autumn by Rich Bunce Walking Photographer
It’s one of the best times of year to get out and take some photographs. I thought I’d share some tips to help you capture some awesome autumnal magic…

1. See the light

As the earth’s axis begins to tilt away from the sun, the sun appears lower in the sky. This creates a different light. For me this is one of the best kinds of natural light, warm in colour and projected from a lower trajectory. New shapes and textures are revealed by this change in angle.

Observe how the light is falling on the objects, landscape and people around you. Notice how the light changes as you move. Experiment with this. Look at the leaves as light hits them, look at back-lit leaves as the sun shines through them (while remembering to never look directly at the sun through your camera).

Light hitting an autumn leaf

2. Set your alarm

Now the clocks have rolled back it’s not quite as painful getting up in time for a sunrise. If there are some clouds in the sky don’t be put off, some of the best sunrises are made by the cloud formation. If you’re lucky you might even catch some mist or fog.

Pro Tip: The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) app calculates and maps the path of natural light in any location at any time of the year. You can also use TPE to calculate where and when the sun will rise and set at any location. It’s pretty neat!

Sunrise over Chevin

3. Grab an umbrella and get outdoors

The weather in autumn is one of the most varied and unpredictable of all the seasons. Rain, wind, bright sunshine, storms, rainbows, hurricanes and towards the end of autumn even snow. Sometimes you can experience all of these elements in just one day!

Stormy skies and dramatic cloud formations can really add punch to a landscape and make a photograph stand out from the crowd. So grab a raincoat and an umbrella and get out in the elements. You’ll get some great looking landscapes with some awesome looking weather!

Autumn Weather landscape

4. Search for natural wonders

Autumn is a catalyst for an array of spectacular natural behaviour, and wherever you live you won’t have to look too hard to find a natural wonder near you!

There are two key things that occur in the natural world during the British autumn: mating and migration. The mating season for deer triggers a series of ruts throughout the UK every autumn. Watching deer rut is more exhilarating and more violent than any sport you’ll find on your TV of a Sunday afternoon! It’s a must see event!

Deer numbers in Britain are on the up, so there’s a good chance of seeing them. If you live in London, Richmond and Bushy parks are great locations to visit and attempt to capture this awesome spectacle. The BBC has a good page on watching wild deer in the UK:

For a number of species, particularly birds, autumn triggers a mass migration. In stormy weather migrating birds that don’t typically frequent the UK can find themselves blown off course. This creates an opportunity to spot and photograph some rare visitors. Good berry yields (we’ve had one this year) can attract exotic foreigners too, like waxwings. You can keep up to date with rare sightings by following organisations like @RareBirdAlertUK on twitter. If you put food and bird feeders up in your garden you might even be able to photograph some of our autumn visitors from the comfort of your armchair!

Another truly inspiring autumnal spectacle are murmurations, (which in itself is a pretty cool sounding word!), which is the name for a large gathering of starlings. These occur throughout the UK and are totally worth seeking out. I’m unable to talk or think about murmuration without recalling a video from a couple of years ago that captured one on a truly epic scale. Imagine experiencing this first hand…

Pretty. Darn. Cool eh?! Get researching and listen out for “murmurs” of one happening near you!

5. Go to ground

Low angle shots can look great in the autumn. Fallen leaves, conkers, acorns and various forms of fungi are sporadically dispersed over woodland floors at this time. Placing your camera at a similar level as these fleeting but iconic autumnal symbols can create visually powerful and original images.

autumn leaves on woodland floor

Photography lessons with Walking Photographer Tours

6. Head for the trees

We’ve looked at the ground and the fallen leaves, so now it’s time to look up! Look up at the trees, see the light passing through the leaves that remain, look for shapes and patterns and wildlife that may be appearing overhead. So often we can miss a great photo just by not looking up!

7. Take a reflective stroll

Reflections have been a source creative inspiration for many photographers over the years. Photographs of orange, yellow and red trees reflected in still water are a classic recipe and will always draw admirers. Don’t stop there though, why not get creative with reflections of trees and leaves in puddles too? Play with the angle you approach from. Switch to manual focus and experiment with your focus point too.

Autumn tree relfected in puddle

8. Slow it down

If you want to take better pictures with your camera and don’t have a tripod I really recommend getting one. Using a tripod can slow you down and sometimes this is a good thing! It gives you more time to assess the environment you are in and to think about potential compositions, the best compositions.

A tripod also allows you take longer / slower exposures without risking that dreaded camera shake. Slow shutter speeds capture movement within a scene and can generate really interesting results!

Slow shutter speed of weir reflecting autumn colours

9. Look Closer

Sometimes photos can contain too much information. If the composition is too busy the visual impact of what you wanted to capture could be lost.

By getting closer to what you want to focus on you remove any distractions from the picture and draw attention to the desired subject. This technique can result in simpler compositions which can often be more pleasing to the eye too.

Ladybird on leaf

10. Look Again

There are many walks that I repeat on a regular basis. On each one I will always see or notice something new. Try spending some time getting to know a particular area really well, it will become easier to notice anything new or unusual.

If you walk a particular route on a regular basis, try doing the route from the opposite direction this can often add a fresh perspective to a familiar environment.

The great thing about the digital age we live in is that you don’t need highly sophisticated (and pricey!) cameras to take stunning photos. Whether you’ve got a DSLR or a phone with a camera on it, the best way to improve your photography is to get out and take pictures whenever you can!

Here are some autumn photos I’ve taken recently with my camera phone…

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If you’re interested in improving your camera skills why not check out my Walking Photographer Tours web site.

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