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Right now is the perfect time to photograph fall colors


Turning Aspen trees photographed in Elevenmile Canyon near Lake George, Colorado. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Turning Aspen trees photographed in Elevenmile Canyon near Lake George, Colorado.
Everything is turning or has turned in the mountains. This week promises to be a highlight for fall color. Yellows, reds, purples (yes purples) and oranges across the mountainsides and in the valleys make it by far one of the prettiest times of the year.

I went fishing last Wednesday with some good friends in Elevenmile Canyon. It's a wonderful spot and one of the best fly fishing streams in the state. The stream is decorated with changing Aspens and willows and after catching a few fish, I decided to take some pictures.

I don't know about you, but photographing fall color is one of those things that I love to do, but I rarely get a picture I really like. Here are couple of tips to help you on the journey.

Of course, just walking through an Aspen forest as it's changing color is worth every second of trying.

Tip #1 Think big. I like to start off with larger panoramic shots. When photographing panoramic or vistas, it's important to look for contrast. An image of a yellow tree against the sky sometimes is not nearly as effective as one against a darker background. Often there are pine trees to help provide a dark background or a contrasting element.

Tip #2 Isolate your subject. As I'm working I'm always trying to isolate a specific feature. It may be one particular tree with an interesting shape or a feature like a leave covered path. By isolating the subject or focusing on particular aspect of fall color you're more likely to make a picture that leads the viewer into the scene and let's them appreciate the image.

Tip #3 Change it up. Vary your photographs. Walk through the scene and think differently. How might you take a picture that says fall color but isn't something anyone has scene before? For instance, in my short little walk at Elevenmile Canyon, I slowed down my shutter and moved it through the scene to capture the color in a different way. By thinking differently you can avoid getting stuck just taking one type of photograph. 
Happy shooting and I hope you enjoy this incredible time of year! 

Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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