How to fall

Submitted by Pamela Merritt on August 29, 2017
0 comment(s)
Categories: Hiking, Birding, Attractions, Adirondacks

Fans of fall foliage, (and yes, I am one) can fall into well-worn paths of enjoyment. Sometimes it is a great advantage to shake up the usual and take the road, or hike, or paddle...less traveled.

One of the appeals of the Schroon Lake region is how very much fall we have, and in beautiful settings, too.

This can be just a bit overwhelming. Here's some concepts which can help you get your arms around it. And take it home.

Photo finish

Of course there will be photos. That's part of the point.

But when you behold a gorgeous vista and try to take a picture of it, there's often disappointment. Your eyes, your brain, and your camera all have their quirks, and are all working against each other.

Don't let this sabotage your photo. Wide angles brings the foreground closer and shrinks the distant objects. Sometimes, that might be what we want.

To a certain extent, it doesn't matter what kind of camera you are using, either. Phone cameras can be excellent tools for landscape photography, if you understand their capabilities and limitations. They are set at a wide angle, which is fine for taking pictures of groups of people. When it comes to landscapes, it gets trickier.

A helpful tip is to remember that with such lenses, there is a bigger than real-life difference in distance. Objects that are close will seem larger than they are, while even just a bit further away, those objects become smaller than they are.

This explains how we take a beautiful roadside picture, and wind up with mostly road.

It can be as simple as tilting the camera (for more sky) and walking closer (pick a vantage point to exclude more of the foreground) to make a big difference. Don't be afraid to zoom in a tad to get more of what you want. A lot of zoom on a camera phone gives the "watercolor effect" and will blur, but a little bit can help a lot with your framing.

Rent a boat or walk our waterfront for some easy vistas right in Schroon Lake.

Vary our perspective

Time of day can also be used to your advantage. Early in the morning, the contrast between warmer earth and water and the colder night temperatures creates some lovely mists rolling over the water or softening distant mountains.


Later, the humidity leaves the air for some crystalline long distance views.

Even rainy days have some compensations. It's a chance to make one perfect, and shiny, tree stand out from the background after the active water has stopped falling.

Cloudless blue skies are a wonderful contrast to the reds and golds of foliage, but overcast skies have more evenly-cast light that is less intense. This makes the fall colors pop with more natural saturation.

Choosing late afternoon and evening will mean light, which will warm the foliage colors. Position yourself so evening shadows fall in the deep evergreen sections of the forest, and let the brighter trees stand out all the more.

Another option to play with is using an editing app on your phone or tablet. This can duplicate some of the tricks of professional photographers, such as different filters and exposure duration. As seen above, the picture on the lower right was taken with existing light and not adjusted. The other photos had their contrast, highlights and shadows, or exposure tweaked for different results.

You can also use such an app to crop out some of that troublesome foreground so it does not dominate the picture.

Choose from our biking and driving routes.

Choose a focus

How and where you explore colorful nature is another tactic to make your foliage photos more interesting. Fall is a great time for hiking, and it's the best way to stop and find just the right angle.

If we are moving in close, choose an interesting foreground object that will not compete with the colors or overly dominate the picture. This delicately woven bird's nest lets the leaves fill the picture while also giving a viewer's eyes a place to "rest."

Give your pictures depth by showing objects on different planes of view. If we are shooting across water, pick an object in the foreground to give a sense of three dimensions that a flat photograph might need to offer a fuller picture.

Likewise, in the picture above, the distant trees seem brighter when underscored by the intense color of the shrub in front of the water. The dark water behind it makes the bright color even more intense.

The beauty of our autumn foliage is in its complexity. We have the full range of species, a broad spectrum of color, many ways to access it, and acres and acres to offer. It's fall. Enjoy the intensity.

Pick a scenic hiking path.

Chose a cozy place to stay. Make that appetite happy with our dining. Keep up with the advancement of color by bookmarking our Foliage Report.


This week in related ADK news:

I wanna hold your hand

Crowd-less color

Five leaf poppers

An equation for fun

Fire on the water

A face full of color

Dapper flappers

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