Here is a shout out to Carlos from Brazil, Buenos Dias Carlos! (Down at the bottom is the August comment to win)
He asked “if I plan to give a practical course on how to photograph fall foliage? Especially on reflections and lakes with mist”.
I hate to say it, sometimes it just happens with no plan at all!
First the reality of photographing fall foliage
The reality is that many of you/us fall into one of several photographic categories. Pro or near pro photographers, hobby shooters with nice equipment, amateurs with cell phones or entry level cameras (pros with cell phones are slightly different), and those who have a camera and just point it at something hoping that it comes out.
You may fit somewhere in between these categories but face it, we all have been on this list somewhere. Even me and you may go, yeah pro, we know… I appreciate that confidence in me but let me say this.
I’ve had a camera since I was 9 years old. I was not born a good photographer, in fact quite the opposite. I look at my film pictures today of 1968 or 1973, etc… and can’t figure out why someone didn’t take my camera away, I was that bad. But along the way, I got better. I sold my first image in college (a crab on seaweed) and over the years I kept shooting and practicing and looking at what the Pros were doing and I got out there and I shot. (a lot!)
Back to fall foliage
It’s all about the light and the subject. The light refers to the quality of the light dawn light is warm and comforting. The afternoon light is also the similar, just before sunset. Does this mean I don’t shoot during the rest of the day? I assure you I do, although I usually have expectations of these shots as just being memories, sometimes they work out and they are terrific.
What have we learned so far?
- I wasn’t always a good photographer
- I practiced a lot over 40+ years
- I love to shoot at dawn and at sunset
- Sometimes, something I shoot at noon turns out ok
So between now and your arrival in New England to photograph our impressive fall foliage, your assignment is to get your manual out, start reading it, And…
Next, on your way to work
- stop and take some pictures
- at lunch take some more
- and on the way home take some more.
Compare them all on the computer. See what you like about them and what you don’t. delete all, unless they are good.
Retired and no job to go to? (You lucky dog!) Take the dog for his/her morning walk an hour earlier and take a few pictures, at Lunchtime take the dog… Well, you get the idea. The whole purpose is to practice before you need the camera.
Fall foliage reflections and misty lakes
If you have been practicing getting up at dawn the rest of this is easy. Like you, I love beautiful fall colors reflected on ponds or rivers. The enemy of reflections is wind. I generally find my best reflections are at dawn and sunset because as many hot air balloon enthusiasts know, balloonists try to take off at dawn or sunset because??? The winds are calmest at dawn and dusk.
Take this picture of Coffin Pond on Route 18 in Franconia Notch. After you go to Polly’s Pancake Parlor, come back out to Route 18 and head a short distance north (just under a mile) and Coffin pond will be on the left.
Remember what I said above about afternoon shots are only for our memories, well this is a hell of a memory, as I shot it on a cloudy afternoon at 2:11PM. That is why I never stop shooting. Because between dawn and dusk, if you give up, you lose any chance of finding a surprise like this (it was pouring cats and dogs 15 minutes later).
So, what have we learned?
- Dawn and dusk are usually best for a mirror like reflections
- Jeff is real lucky
- Polly’s Pancakes on Route 17 in Sugar Hill is a great place to stop before or after catching reflections at Coffin pond.
Mist on ponds with fall foliage reflections
Mist or fog usually will be prevalent on cool or cold mornings over ponds or lakes that are warmer than the air above them. You should get there BEFORE the sun comes up. You heard me, before dawn. Because going to Polly’s for breakfast and then looking for mist on Coffin Pond may not work. Not even Jeff is that lucky!
Places where I’ve found mist on a pond or lake? Crystal Lake in Eaton, New Hampshire, Lake Chocorua, NH, (as seen at the top) and Damn few others.
On Crystal Lake, there is a little white church that waits for me each year to try and catch it, just perfect. Just twice I’ve managed to be there at dawn and the first time I was close.
A few years later, the morning was breezy and not a whisp of misty fog was to be seen on the lake. But oh what clouds reflecting back the colorful sunrise.
Then I was heading up the mountain road above the pond and I found this little dell with its own patch of foggy goodness.
So what have we learned?
- Catching mist on a pond or lake requires some planning and luck
- It requires cool or cold temps
- It requires a lack of wind, just like looking for a reflection of autumn color
- Jeff is still lucky but also I know when to stop and turn around!
This is what I have for fall foliage reflections and misty mornings by the lake. Practice and patience are the hallmarks of catching these elusive events.
The winner of the August Comment to Win
The winner is, Leslie Nunn, a new reader of my blog. I had the most ever commenters which topped out at 51 this month. I wish I could give everyone a little something but you can always try next month or October which will be the last chance for 2017!
She’ll be getting my last wind catcher sent to Southern California.Jeff "Foliage" Folger You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
- My Gallery on Fine Art America
- Try out the new Fall foliage forum
- Join my New England Fall Foliage page on Facebook
- Follow @Foliage_Reports on Twitter
- Follow me on Instagram @Jeff_Foliage
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as: http://www.4cornersnewengland.com/
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff Foliage.com.
I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.
I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.