Autumn of 2020 in upstate New York has been spectacular. Even after the colors had faded and most of the leaves had fallen, Autumn had one last gift.
A few days of 70 degree F (21 C) days dried up the fallen leaves making them perfect for the age old joy of jumping and playing in a pile of them. Add in a couple of children (aka my Grandson and Granddaughter) and one has the makings for beautiful Autumn portraits.
Well, my Granddaughter did not want her brother to have all the fun and joined him.
Notice how I used Fill Flash to fill in the shadows with the Sun behind them allowing them to have their eyes open. It creates lovely catch lights in their eyes, too.
Last week I shared photos from Green Lakes State Park from a beautiful Autumn day. As I walked around the Green Lake Trail a few minutes after sunrise, I found some locations had a lot of shadowed areas and bright sunlit areas. While digital cameras can capture a wide range of light these locations went beyond what my Nikon D750 could handle.
That is when I take a set of photos to cover the range which is called bracketing. The Nikon D750 has a bracketing button which sets the number of exposures and the range using Exposure Value (EV) settings. I often use -2EV to +2EV in 1 stop intervals.
Those five photos allow me to capture details in the dark shadows and the bright highlights. Something our eyes do easily but takes a bit of digital wizardly on a computer.
In my case, I use an Adobe Lightroom plug-in from Skylum called Aurora HDR app. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Aurora HDR brings in all five photos and merges them together. It has many pre-sets to choose from which I browse through until I get something close to what I envisioned the final image would look like. From there I finish off the image in Lightroom.
In the case of the image with the bench, it was really dark. To insure I got the whole range, I increased the EV range to -3EV to +3EV with 7 photos. I was really glad I did as the bench area came out very detailed while keeping the bright colorful trees in the background perfectly exposed.
Hope you enjoyed these photographs and, if you are a digital photographer, I hope I gave you some inspiration to try HDR processing.
Green Lakes State Park near Syracuse, New York has perhaps the most studied meromictic lake (one in which layers of water do not mix) in the world in Green Lake creating unusual blue-green color to the water. This time of year, the surrounding old growth forests add other colors to the lake.
Like Beaver Lake Nature Center I visited the day before, the trees around Green Lake were at peak color last weekend. I circumnavigated around Green Lake on a popular trail I shared with joggers, runners, walkers and a few fellow photographers on a cool morning. The trail had many locations to view the beauty of the Autumn season.
A slight breeze kept the water of Green Lake from becoming a mirrored surface, I still found places where the water reflected the trees and sky beautifully. The use of a Circular Polarizing Filter helped to cut out the glare.
The Green Lake Trail is 1.9 miles long and flat which made for a nice easy walk and shoot through a spectacular Autumn day.
It is peak Autumn color around Central New York right now. I grabbed my camera and favorite walk about lens and headed out early to walk the trails at Beaver Lake Nature Center near Baldwinsville, New York last weekend. The weather was near perfect for mid-October with a slight breeze, blue sky and temperatures rising from the mid-30s to the mid-50s (Fahrenheit) during my visit.
I first trekked out to my favorite, the Bog Trail. This is a short walk out and back with boardwalks through a northern bog. This time of year, the plants and trees turn all kinds of colors like these Flowering Dogwood leaves.
The Lakeview Trail is a short loop which leads out to Beaver Lake Nature Center’s own Inspiration Point. Here I had wonderful side lighting on the beautiful colors of the maple and oak trees found along the shore of the lake.
The Deep Woods Trail is a 1.4 mile (2.3 kms) walk which goes just off the lake before looping back through an old growth forest. Along the way I looked for images which said “Autumn” to me. I found it on a moss covered log on the ground as these two maple leaves had fallen on. Here nature is slowly breaking down the log to become future fertilizer for new growth. The leaves indicate a quicker seasonal change from Autumn towards Winter.
The last trail I walked was a short 1/2 mile loop called the Pine Meadow Trail. It skirts a meadow surrounded by an old Red Pine plantation. I choose this High Dynamic Range image to show you the trail going between the rows of the pine trees. This trail filled the air with the smells of pine.
With all the shadows mixed in with bright sunlight and sky, I knew I would need a set of photos to cover the range from -2EV to +2EV. Skylum’s Aurora 2019 HDR software merged those photos to create this image.
Autumn in Central New York gave me a bountiful treat of warm sunny days to enjoy and a rainbow of colors to photograph.
Fast forward to last weekend and Taughannock Falls water flow is extremely low. Probably does not help it has been one of the hottest and driest years on record. Whatever rain we do get, soaks into the ground before running off into the waterways.
to my personal journal through my viewfinder. A place where I leave the world behind and try to find the spirit of what I am seeing.
Feel free to look around at all the posts and pages. If you'd like to borrow a photo(s) for your non-commercial blog or website, be my guest. Please, do not alter the photo(s) and be sure to link back to this blog with a prominent photo credit(s). Thank you and I'm thrilled you dropped in!