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Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Our photography group met at a local pumpkin patch today to learn about how to take great fall pictures.  We had a lot of fun learning some tips that I had gathered from various sources.  Here are some of the ones I liked the most:

  • To have the needed advantage of soft light needed for the vibrant fall colors, try to go to a shaded pumpkin patch, wait for a cloudy day, or wait until a few minutes before sunrise or an hour or so before sunset.
  • To avoid faces having an orange tinge, you can help avoid the orange color cast by positioning your subjects so that 1) the light source is behind them and 2) their heads are slightly tilted up toward you and away from the pumpkins.
  • Vary your angles...above, directly in front, and even below shooting up. 
  • Early morning is one of the best times to capture the color of fall reflected in a pond or lake as the water is usually still and the light is coming in at a low angle. Try to put something small in the foreground of your photo and focus on that - this will leave the reflection leaving more soft and misty.
  • Try a macro lens or macro mode. For those expert-looking close-ups of leaves, a macro lens is indispensable. 
  • Accentuate the variety of fall colors by framing one against the other. Find the red leaf in the midst of golden leaves. Shoot the golden leaves against the blue of the sky. Arrange a bouquet of fallen leaves on the green grass.

AND...for those who dared to take their camera off auto mode, I had a few tips also:

  • Use a tripod. Especially when shooting with dusk encroaching, tripods really, really help. Turn off your flash, set your ISO to 100 to minimize noise (sharper detail!) and start shooting. 
  • Experiment with your shutter speed...a 1-3 second shutter can do wonders, stilling the foliage and the colors, while letting the rest of the world turn into a blur.
  • Since the colors of the changing leaves are so vivid, it's important to accentuate them in different ways. By experimenting with the aperture setting on your camera, you can change the focus of the scenery. A lower f-stop (which is actually the higher number) will put the entire depth of field into focus, while a higher f-stop (lower number) will enable the camera to focus on the subject in the foreground and blur out the rest or vice versa. By choosing to raise your f-stop, your photo will focus on an individual leaf or tree and will create a unique perspective that draws the eye to the intended subject.
  • Try capturing autumn foliage as it drifts earthward is an effective way to reinvigorate a landscape you've shot before. Use a wide aperture to lightly blur the background until your foreground stands out, then shoot with a shutter speed between 1/2 and 1/30, depending on the speed of the leaves' fall to capture a sense of motion. This is especially effective on overcast days.

So, once we talked about these ideas, I sent them out into the pumpkin patch with the assignment to photograph a person among the pumpkins and then take either a close up or landscape shot in the pumpkin patch.  They then showed their favorite shots to me before leaving for the day.

Once again the group amazed me with their ideas.  I hope to have some of these pictures sent to me so I can post them.  For now, the pictures you see are the ones my boys took, along with a picture of Zaira, of course!

And we ended our trip by giving back to our community...always trying "to make the best better" we purchased several pumpkins to take home!

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