People who enjoy fall colors have differing opinions on “peak” colors, gauging this time of year in various ways. Saturation of color? Variety of colors? Maximum quilt-like look to the hills? It just depends on your sense of what makes a beautiful scene and season.
I mostly enjoy the time when trees retain most of their leaves and the colors are bursting forth in the sunlight, but I’m learning there’s another part of the season that delivers very interesting compositions. It’s when most of the leaves have fallen, revealing the contrast of dark tree trunks, more sky and a blanket of colors on the ground. And best time of all, when it’s all wet!
Today was such a day. We’ve had some good winds around this part of Wisconsin so many leaves have come off the trees. Along with that, we’ve had rainy or foggy days, coating everything with a fine film of moisture. With the thin overcast this morning the light was very even across the whole forest but not so bright as to blow out the highlights in most images.
I walked around the small forest behind us looking for compositions that would highlight all these aspects. The dark tree trunks provide the somewhat linear lines to frame elements of a scene. The brightly colored leaves create a background or lend to a horizontal perspective. Wetness makes all the colors a light brighter and the branches a little darker.
What I enjoyed was looking through the viewfinder, waiting for a composition to “pop” out at me. It’s advice I got from a successful landscape photographer, that sometimes you just have to move your camera over an area knowing there’s a composition in there somewhere. With the frame of the finder to block out noise, eventually you’ll see the order in the scene you’re looking for, the placements of elements capturing the sense you feel when you look over the area. I believe I got a few today. Along with some post-processing to lend a better view to what I was feeling I came away with a “post-peak” view of fall colors.