BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Dawn Balaban
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/21/2002

Autumn Landscapes

What is the best time of day to photograph fall landscapes? I took some photos about 9:30, and they seem to be a little washed out. Maybe the light just was not correct!!

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10/27/2010 9:35:33 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Usually, it's done in the early morning or evening. Mornings are usually better depending on location, because dust, pollution, wind settles at night and the air is clearer. But "washed out" can come from exposure, hazy day, environmental reasons for the trees not being as colorful as they used to be. A lot of times, northeast fall shots are done with a polarizer. So if you're comparing your shots to someone else's shots, that might be the difference.

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10/27/2010 1:17:28 PM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  Not much fall color left
Not much fall color left
North of Niagara Falls, ON
© Peter K. Burian
Miscellaneous Does...
Well, it depends on the direction of the light. In autumn, the sun is not too high in the sky at even 11 am. But are you shooting into the sun? Ideally, you might want to find a position where you can shoot so the sun is at your side. And, yes, a polarizing filter is certainly useful.

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10/27/2010 4:44:51 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I've always preferred overcast days to get better saturation. Time of day doesn't really matter much as long as the light is bright enough to get a shutter speed fast enough to freeze whatever leaves may be blowing in the wind. For that reason, an early start makes sense since the wind typically gets stronger later in the day.
One thing to watch, though... When composing autumn scenics on overcast days, you need to be ever cognizant of your distant sky and try to compose the scene to eliminate as much sky as possible.

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10/29/2010 3:00:51 AM

Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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Carolyn 's Gallery
  Early morning (before 9) or late afternoon (after 3) or better yet, get a very cloudy day. The cloudier, the better... and a polarizer... the colors will pop!

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10/29/2010 6:16:50 AM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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Carlton's Gallery Editor's Pick   Mt. Si at Sunset
Mt. Si at Sunset
Mt. Si, Washington at sunset - f/20, iso100, 3 exposures combined to HDR.
© Carlton Ward
Canon EOS 40D Digi...
  Mt. Si HDR w/B&W 77mm circular polarizer
Mt. Si HDR w/B&W 77mm circular polarizer
5 exposures for HDR using PhotoMatix
© Carlton Ward
Canon EOS 5D Mark ...
Hello Dawn,
Living near Seattle where the rain season starts on Jan 1st and ends on Dec 31st, I get tired of overcast lighting as it has a tendency to dull the colors and vibrancy a bit. High overhead sun is worse, though, as it can be very harsh and create very contrasting shadows. Late afternoon/early a.m. is the best (as others have mentioned). I have Mt. Si right by me and it is picturesque and looks different every day.
I am attaching two of these type shots I have taken over the last 3 years. I used several images and Photomatix to create HDRs and if you notice the shadow line over the foreground grass/lower part of the trees, 5 exposures did the trick. I have another shot where the sun line is going right across the mountain which created a need to use 3 exposures - 1 for foreground, 2 for the mountain and the 3rd for the sky. Think I used a polarizer on the shadow shot, can't remember the other one...
Bracket your shots and see what works for you or create a HDR using several images.
Hope this helps,

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10/29/2010 6:45:54 PM

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