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Tips for shooting early fall color

by Guest blogger, Stephen Beckwith

Guest post from Maine photographer Stephen Beckwith of an outdoor enthusiast and photographer for the past five years. A champion of all things Maine and capturing his state in all its pristine beauty. You can purchase print and talk to him on his Facebook page

by Stephen Beckwith

Peak fall color in New England typically happens during the first couple weeks of October. But if you can’t wait that long, there is plenty of fall color to be seen in late September if you know where to look. In western Maine, it’s the wooded wetlands…the swamps and bogs and such that reveal the first signs of fall color, especially in the red maples that usually dot these landscapes. We all love the big vistas of peak color, hills and mountains filled with wide swaths of brilliant trees in full foliage mode, but it is the smaller, more intimate scenes of red maples that I love to shoot as well.

Challenges of wetlands photography

This type of scene can present some challenges that standing on a mountain top overlooking a large vista does not. First of all, you need to be prepared to get wet. While some scenes can be shot from the roadside, some of my favorite wetlands I have found require a certain amount of willingness to venture out into the water. Having a good pair of waders can help. I also never bring my camera bag with me, I only have my tripod with the camera already mounted. Great care has to be taken while working your way out into the scene. I use my tripod fully extended as a walking stick and depth probe. The ground underneath is hardly ever solid. From floating moss islands to dense muck that can grab your feet and not let go, every step can be an adventure. In this case, slow and easy always wins the race. That last thing you want to do is stumble and fall, not so much for your sake, more so for the camera you have mounted on top of your walking stick.

Current fall color in Maine

I took the image above on Sept 19th, 2016 along Rt. 117 in Otisfield, just outside of Harrison in western Maine. I could not see all these lily pads from the road, so I ventured out into waist deep water. I had to stab my tripod into a bush, not even opening the legs but keeping them together. This of course can affect your settings, a fast shutter speed is imperative to lessen any movement blur, so a higher ISO than you like and/or a bigger aperture opening (smaller number setting) are usually required.

So get out there and find some wetlands in late September to get an early start on making some beautiful fall images.

Stephen Beckwith Photography
Scenes of Maine photography

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Stephen Beckwith

I am a landscape photographer living with my wife in The Friendly Village of Harrison in the foothills of western Maine.
A life-long outdoor enthusiast, I am especially drawn to the beauty that Mother Nature creates, whether it be a stirring sunrise on the rocky coast, or a stunning sunset over a pond deep in the Maine woods.
With my photography, I try and capture that fleeting moment when Mother Nature shines the brightest, and hopefully do Her some justice as I share these scenes with you.

I offer prints for sale in many mediums at and also have a Facebook page in which I share images on a weekly basis at

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