Fall Photo Tips By Dick Duerksen

The leaves are beginning to turn in California. I know, we're a bit later than you folks in Vermont, and ours are not as stunning as the Northeast or the Rockies. But Brenda and I love walking in the leaves and photographing the color. Every time I pick up a camera I offer a prayer for The Master Photographer to mentor me as I find pictures and photograph them. I ask for four things: 1. Moments that carry a message of peace. 2. Colors that will make folks STOP and think about The Creator. 3. Unique moments, different from photos I have seen before. 4. Wisdom to work correctly with the electronics of my camera, the f-stops and shutter speeds, the image stabilization, the sun and its reflected light. Good morning from Sacramento! Last Friday I was working on my "Friday Foto" and found myself creating something far too complex for the weekly mailing.

Here are ten tips you may find valuable as you go out to photograph sermons of Peace and Hope - as authored by The Creator of All.

1. Look up - and use a wide angle. If you can get the sun in the picture that will improve your shot. Full sun = burnout. Partial sun - hidden behind a leaf, branch, or anything that will give you just a "crack" of sun, and your camera lens will turn it into a bright star!


2. Look down - the leaves below are often prettier than the ones above. Include dewdrops, rain, or sprinkler spray whenever possible. Water adds life to your picture.


3. Follow a road - it's amazing how a curvy path enhances the photograph. Your eyes want to "drive right in" and your heart breathes a sigh of relaxation and peace. This photo was taken on a cloudy day, right after sunset.


4. Include a reflection - reflections are God's way of reminding us to stop - and look again. Try to place the horizon above or below the 50% point, unless the reflection is so cool that a full 50/50 looks best. Include foreground objects that lead viewers into the picture. Boost the vibrance and saturation in Lightroom or Aperture. Make sire the whites "pop."


5. Look through - backlight is good for details and color. If the sun is shining through the leaves, get in close and capture the detail of veins and color changes. Include parts of several leaves to show the surroundings. Shoot at the smallest f-stop you have. That way your viewers will see "just" what you want them to see - framed in the out-of-focus colors of the day. If you have a telephoto, use it, and shoot from its closest focusing range. That way you will get even better separation between the subject and the background.


6. Go golfing - but leave the clubs home. Golf courses are havens of color and design. Walk around the course on the jogging trail. Notice the trees, the fog, the swail of the bunkers, the varied colors of the rough, and the shifting light. Choose two or three favorite spots and wait for the perfect moment. Keep your eyes out for wildlife - fox, squirrel, deer, elk, wolves...


7. Notice the bushes - small color patterns are often more compelling than large hillsides of trees. Watch for individual leaves that turn three or four colors. They usually occur where some of their neighbors are still green. Multiple colors and disparate patterns enhance your photo. Shoot in full shade if possible.


8. Look around - the obvious is often invisible until you look for it. This bush was about leafless - but when I glanced back at it, the hillside seemed to glow with the intensity of a burning bush, as if God was tossing a cloud of burning embers onto the hillside. Add a little sage, a distant tree, and a bit of mountain, but leave the bush as attraction #1.


9. Look for colors - not just yellow, but red, orange, purple, and cappuccino. You'll find them in the most unlikely places: beneath trees, beside houses, under bridges, keep looking for the obvious - and for the "invisible." Notice the trees that are late changing - still green. Somewhere in the greenery you may find a brightly-colored jewel, a leaf that is a week ahead of everyone else. As you walk in the morning watch for a tree that looks like it's lost its last last leaves, check out the three last hangers-on. One of them may be the most beautiful leaf of the day!


10. Look up again - how is God wisping the clouds around to help you? I believe that God cares about me and my photography so much that He messes with the clouds, keeps me on the trail till just the right moment, guides me to turn left rather than take the well-travelled path, and sends me down the creek to the most perfect icicles. All that happens - if I choose to walk with The Master Photographer.


11. The Bonus tip - Follow the water. If the temperature has slipped below freezing, there's a good chance you'll find icicles in the stream. Get down low - icicle level - and compose your photo so that the icicle is the center of the conversation. Use a slow shutter speed so that the running water will turn silky. Icicle architecture is amazing!


Dick Duerksen writes from northern California. All rights reserved © 2012 VisitInSpire.org. Click here for content usage information.