This year when the fall colors really started to pop, I began to think about where I wanted to be going to capture the fall colors. Though this reminded me of a lesson that I have learned many times over; that where you are is less important than your connection to what and where you are shooting.
Now if you are thinking how can you be connected to fall colors, I don’t have an answer for you; but I can be connected to where I am shooting. For me fall colors are most about transition. The transition of a place from summer to winter, two seasons that have longer lasting color palettes compared to the ephemeral colors of fall.
Last fall my favorite fall color shot is one I took at the corner of our yard while walking the dog, a lone leaf backlit by the late afternoon sun. Earlier this summer, I was once again at this corner of our yard walking the dog when I spotted this red squirrel hanging out in a white pine.
These sorts of scenes are out there for anyone to see, you just have to get outside for a walk and have your eyes open. These scenes become easier to see the more familiar you are with a place, as your familiarity allows you to see past all of the obvious things and begin to see the details.
This is not to say that going somewhere for photography is a bad idea but for me it is easier to create photos of somewhere I have a connection to or a familiarity with.
Last fall I went to Cascade River State Park for fall colors though my timing was a bit early. The colors inland were good but just starting along the Superior shoreline. It is the lake that pulls me like iron filings to a magnet and it is because of this connection that I was still able to make meaningful photographs on that trip. The photos just weren’t of radiant fall colors, some hinted at fall colors while others were just the beauty of the lake.
So this fall I went nowhere to capture the fall colors. Finding backlit maples, freshly dropped birch leaves, a foggy sunrise and a Virginia Creeper with 6 leaves instead of 5 in its leaflet.
-EAK, October 2014