Earlier in the week I posted some photos from my trip to Colorado to photography the fall colors. From the comments here and on social media I wanted to do a quick follow up post on the gear used and some resources as well as a brand new class that came out of all this.

First, The Training Class
I was on my flight home and I started writing down all of the questions I heard from the group I was with in Colorado, for a blog post here. As it all came together, I realized there’s a great short class on photographing fall colors. Everything from the gear, camera settings, to locations and how to plan, what filters are essential, composition and shooting ideas and even some post processing. So I got back to the Kelby Media offices and asked (begged) the video team manager to squeeze me in at the last minute to do a class. They’re crazy busy this week, but they did it. I’m happy to say that I recorded the class yesterday, and it’s just about an hour – it should be up by the end of the week or first thing next week on KelbyTraining.com so stay tuned.

The Gear
The gear is actually very simple. I took my Nikon D800. A couple of wide angle lenses (an 18-35mm and my Tamron 24-70mm) and my 70-200mm. We usually associate outdoor/landscape photography with wide angle glass, but you know what lens spent about 75% of the time on my camera? The 70-200mm. If you think about fall color and all of the trees and color change that’s happening, it doesn’t lend itself that well to a wide angle lens. Wide lenses tend to compress everything, so those beautiful trees and colors become really small when you shoot wide angle. I talked a lot about it in my fall photos class (along with photos), but I found that everything I wanted to shoot was tighter so I pretty much left the 70-200 on the whole trip and rarely took it off.

What About The Canon Gear?
We have a Canon 5D Mark III at the office and a 24-105mm lens, so I figured I’d take it out for a test drive. I actually used to shoot Canon. I often check a Canon camera whenever I’m teaching or talking about settings. So moving around the menus and buttons is pretty familiar for me and I was able to use it no problem. I’d say the only thing I missed was the 36 megapixel image that I see when I’m post processing my D800 images. Even though I don’t always print the image that large, as a visual person it sure is nice having all of that detail when you’re in Lightroom and Photoshop. But overall, I thought the camera was top notch. It actually even feels a little better than my D800. Image quality was great. Color was great. And that 24-105mm lens rocks. Very versatile and extremely good quality photos.

I took a few ND filters and my polarizer. I only used the ND once, but the polarizer stayed on the camera quite a bit. There was a tradeoff though. The polarizer often helped boost the colors and remove glare from the mountains in the background, but it totally killed the sky. Out in Colorado, you’re 10,000 ft up in some locations and that sky is a vivid blue to start with. Once you turned the polarizer, it became too dark and started to look fake. I did use a great trick that I use a lot – I basically take a photo with the polarizer turned all the way. And then take one without it. That way, I can merge the two in Photoshop to get the best parts from each photo.

I wanted to mention a few resources if you’re out there photographing fall colors and trying to plan where/when the colors will be. Of course, if you’re shooting in your home town, look outside 🙂 But if you’re traveling somewhere, here’s a few sites to check out.
1. The Weather Channel Fall Foliage Map: http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/fallfoliage/
2. The Farmers Almanac: http://www.farmersalmanac.com/peak-fall-foliage-dates/
3. Here’s a really cool map if you live in the Northeast: http://www.yankeefoliage.com/peak-foliage-forecast-map/
4. Fall foliage reports, drives, links and locations.
5. And it shouldn’t need to be said but, well, it does… a quick Google.com search will do the trick. Try “Fall color map for (insert location)” 🙂

I hope this helps out. I’ll keep you posted when the class is live. Have a good one!


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