If I’ve timed this right then Autumn/Fall should be upon us, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. If summertime didn’t quite grab you enough to get you out of bed at ridiculous times of the day then autumn sure will. Due to the higher position of the Sun during the summer months the light is often very strong giving less definition to the landscape. In addition to this the grass will be green as will much of the leaves on trees and bushes, nice for us to look at but very often does not translate into photographs very well, this is because you end up with a mass of greenery in the picture and it becomes very difficult for us to see all the elements individually. During Autumn however, this all changes, with nearly all of the trees foliage gradually turning from greens through to yellow then to reds, and all at different rates.
This display of colours combined with the ever lowering position of the sun creates some of the most beautiful scenery nature has to offer. As I’ve said before, being out both during early morning and late evenings pays dividends for your photography as all these wonderful colours are brought to life, being more saturated with the warm glow of the rising/setting Sun.
So with all this in mind I find it is also a great time to use these colours to my advantage when out doing a spot of nature photography. I’m a great lover of deer and each year I try to take the opportunity to get to my local deer park to use the autumn colours as wonderful backdrops for the animals. Not only are the colours gorgeous, but the deer are in their rut season with the stags antlers are at their peak. Park deer are very used to people but you should still use caution when approaching stags as they become very territorial. Having said that, once you find a stag you can be rest assured that they will tend to stick to one area, so with some patience stay in there with a longish lens and just let the animal get used to your presence. They will let you know if you get too close. As with any animal it is always a good idea to research their behaviour before you set out.
Keep as quiet as possible and always be aware of what’s going on around you, that way you’ll be less likely to miss opportunities; like this little fella who popped out of nowhere and stumbled right in front of me. He was a little startled but stopped still just long enough for me to grab a couple of shots before darting off back down the hill. I love this shot as it was taken rather early so the mist has given a pastel look to the background and there is still some dew in the foreground. The focus is slightly off but just a tad, and being a grab shot the atmosphere more than makes up for it…In my opinion anyhow.
A word of warning; Autumn can be a great time of year for sure, but, as the foliage dies the weaker it will be. It can look great one minute, then all of a sudden the weather turns bad and the wind and rain will blow it all away. Though this can look great too, don’t leave it to chance and take the first opportunity you can to get out there to capture this wonderful time of year, whatever your subject.