Photography News | Issue 49 | photographynews.co.uk
Add leafy foregrounds for added depth
Don’t forget the close-ups
Although you might find separating your woodland subjects from all the scrub around them a problem in itself, sometimes they can look too flat or isolated. In these cases it’s often a good idea to add some foreground, but in a slightly different way to regular landscapes. Whereas in a regular landscape shot you’d be inclined to keep the foreground as sharp as the subject, in woodland shots try defocusing some foliage between you and the subject. This can look as though you’re peering through onto the subject, and the difference in sharpness will make the subject stand out. To achieve this look, shoot in aperture priority mode (A or Av) and set the aperture to a wide setting, such as f/2.8 or f/5.6, focus on the subject and the foliage will blur out. The closer it is to you the more blurred it’ll be.
The autumn leaf is a mainstay of seasonal photography: it’s iconic, easy to shoot and you don’t have to obsess over problems in the wider scene, such as clutter or distractions. First, find the best specimen you can, one that’s intact and free from too much blight
or discolouration, then either place it somewhere in the landscape or shoot it in situ. Again, backlighting can help, as you’ll get to pick out the delicate structures and colours within it. You should also try to compose against a contrasting backdrop.
Watch out for any movement in the subject which will affect the sharpness of your shot, and if there’s even the slightest breeze, make sure you increase the shutter speed to compensate; after you’ve taken the shot, zoom in on screen to check sharpness.
Don’t miss themist
Autumn colour just so happens to coincide with another of nature’s photographic blessings – seasonal mist. Misty conditions will simplify the clutter of a crowded woodland or give a neat, plain backdrop for a lone tree. October and November are typically misty months as there’s still enough heat in the sun to create water vapour in the atmosphere but not enough to burn it off completely, and plenty of colder areas to condense the vapour into water particles. A good bet for misty locations are those near to open water, streams and rivers, which are warmer than the surrounding land; if you can find flaming woodland close to those you may be onto a winner. Like the best of the light, though, conditions are fleeting – an hour after dawn they may be gone as the water in the air heats up. When shooting in mist it’s advisable to use some positive exposure compensation, as the water in the air is reflective and may therefore cause the camera to underexpose.
Misty conditions will simplify the clutter of a crowded woodland or give a neat, plain backdrop for a lone tree
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