Backlighting Fall Leaves

Translucent subject? Try shooting toward the sun for a more dramatic photo!

by Linda Eodice

Backlit Fall Tree
Backlit Fall Tree
© Linda Eodice
All Rights Reserved
There are lots of good arguments for shooting into the sun – even though we’ve been warned against doing this in the past. However, translucent subjects like leaves, flowers and hair look great when backlit because strong backlighting makes them glow, as if lit from within.

When shooting landscapes, backlighting creates a wonderful sense of three dimensions because it throws shadows toward the camera, emphasizing a sense of depth. You can get some nice rim-lighting effects with hair, while leaves and flower petals can take on a special glow. I photographed this tree in Zion National Park, Utah, in October several years ago. At just the right camera angle, the golden leaves were backlit by the low angle of the sun, while the background remained dark because the sun didn’t illuminate this area. The result is some bright, glowing fall leaves against a dramatic, black backdrop.

When you shoot fall color, look for leaves that are backlit by the sun. This lighting may result in some of your most dramatic images.

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About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Linda Eodice
Photography Instructor: Linda EodiceThe author of Photos That Inspire, Lynne Eodice teaches a number of excellent online classes for (see the current course listing below.) She is also the former Feature Editor for Petersen’s PHOTOgraphic.

A native of Southern California, Lynne was educated at Pasadena City College and Cal Poly Pomona. Her love of photography began after her husband gave her a 35mm SLR as an anniversary gift. She began her career as a feature writer & photographer for local newspapers that included Pasadena Weekly and The Herald Tribune.

Besides having articles and photos published regularly in PHOTOgraphic, she has contributed to Rangefinder, Digital Photographer and California Tour & Travel, as well as PHOTOgraphic’s Buyer’s Guide, Big Book of Photography and Family Photo magazines. Her images have appeared in a popular instructional book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Photography, and she has marketed her stock photos through Index Stock Imagery in New York.

Lynne has exhibited her fine-art scenic photography at Kolb Studio and the visitor’s center at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California, and at venues throughout the San Gabriel Valley. In addition, she has taught many classes, seminars and workshops.

In the fall of 2007, she was honored as one of the Women Achievers in the San Gabriel Valley in Business Life magazine.

Lynne currently lives with her husband, Dennis and their dog, Chiquita in Altadena, California.