How to take Epic Fall Photos
Fall is here! Fall is our favorite season for bike tours for a lot of reasons — the weather is cool, roads and trails are less crowded, and the foliage is incredible. A few of our fall bike tours take place in some of the country’s best regions to see autumn colors: the mountains of Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Colorado Rocky Mountains, northern Michigan, New York’s Finger Lakes and Northern Kentucky. Check out our tips below to take epic fall photos of your autumn bike rides!
Look for Soft Light
Bright sunlight means great weather — but it doesn’t make for great photos. In autumn, sunlight is good to have early and late in the day, when the light is hitting the leaves at an angle.
Overcast weather is best because you can shoot all day long, and the light is soft and even. A rainy day might seem like a wash-out, but water actually brings the color out! The best time to shoot is right after it stops raining, especially if the sun starts peeking out to light up the scenery.
If the sky is white, just leave it out of the picture. The soft light of a white sky day is perfect for getting smaller details without bright areas and harsh shadows.
Sunny day tip: If you put a leaf between your camera and the sun, the back-lighting will illuminate it all the way, making it glow and showing every tiny vein. If you can see the sky between the leaves, try it on the blue-sky day for beautiful color contrast.
Shoot from up High
Shooting from an overlook can really give you a sense of the fall foliage’s expansiveness. On our four-day Great Allegheny Passage tour, we recommend stopping at the overlook on the western end of the Big Savage Tunnel for a chance to capture a sea of colorful trees. On the Colorful Colorado tour, the Lodge at Breckenridge has epic views from the deck. Don’t forget to look down, too! Late in autumn, the forest floor will be covered in jewel-bright leaves.
Use Water to your Advantage
Streams, creeks, ponds and rivers are magical in the fall! Water can reflect color, light, and shadows in a really interesting way. When the leaves are turning, any little creek or pond becomes a great photo location as water gives you reflections, contrast and texture if your camera can shoot long exposures.
Fog and Mist
Fog and mist add an air of mystery to your photos. They can soften and mute colors, while adding mood and atmosphere. Try to set your exposure so the mist doesn’t get blown out — you want it visible in your image.
Consider some close-ups that are related to autumn — but not necessarily photos of leaves. Think about mushrooms growing on logs, bright piles of gourds on a step, or seed pods blowing in the wind.
- Depth of Field: A lot of depth is nice if you’re taking a portrait of a friend or a close-up of a pile of leaves. But if you’re photographing a landscape, you’ll want the whole image to be sharp. Decide how much of the picture you want to be in focus, and use your aperture to control the depth of field.
- Underexpose: To deepen the tones and make the colours stand out more, underexpose your image slightly.
- White balance: If you’re taking pictures during the “golden hour” (just before sunset or just after sunrise), you probably don’t want to use the Automatic White Balance setting on your camera. This will eliminate the light’s yellow-orange tone. But if you set your white balance to “daylight,” your pictures will keep the sun’s warm glow. Try different settings in any given lighting situation to find the best color balance. It is really important to get this right if you’re shooting JPEG files, but if you use RAW format, you can fix the colors in post-production.
Autumn is such an exciting time to take pictures that we can get overwhelmed by the colors and forget about everything else. Fall colors alone don’t create a good landscape photo; they just add an element of color. The composition should be strong even when turned black and white, so remember your basic rules of landscape composition: create a focal point, and use lines, shapes, and forms to create balance and harmony. Compose your images with some thought, and don’t be afraid to try new angles!
We hope you find these tips helpful! A photograph is a wonderful souvenir for your cycling vacation.
All Wilderness Voyageurs tours are fully supported with a SAG vehicle and include beautiful routes through stunning landscapes, with excellent food and accommodations, top rate equipment and dedicated and enthusiastic guides.
Give our reservation staff a call to book your next bike tour vacation. (800) 272 – 4141
103 Garrett Street
Ohiopyle, PA 15470