Never more true than this year! However, I'm referring more specifically to the seasons.
Many rue the end of summer as the opportunity to make beautiful images fades along with the vibrant colours adorning gardens and meadows. I have to admit, as I get older I do find I appreciate the convenience that the warm days of summer bring. But I have always enjoyed the change of seasons. The delicate petals of summer are well and truly giving way to a heavier blanket of warm golden browns which give wonderful scenes to be embraced.
Over the last year or so I have made time to explore my local area. It’s all too easy to ignore or simply be blind to what is on our own doorsteps. In my instance I’ve found revisiting the same places at different times of the year and different times of the day to be very rewarding.
The same woodland with its carpet of bluebells a few months ago are now festooned with mushrooms and fungi of all shapes and sizes. Perfect subjects to get up close and personal with. Or should I say, down close?! Get your camera down at ground level and fill your frame full of fungus!!
If you have a macro lens then great, but not essential. Because of the low light in the forests and woodland you will need a sloooowww shutter speed. Ideally you’ll want a small tripod. One that will open up flat is perfect. Failing that a bean bag can often do the trick. Sometimes I’ve resorted to propping the camera up on sticks or moss or anything else that happens to be at hand! A remote shutter release is also useful so you don’t move the camera when you press the shutter. Alternatively use the built in self timer.
When you are up close if you’re using a zoom lens use it on maximum zoom and move the camera back. Why? Because if you zoom out and are close up your subject will be distorted giving a “fish-eyed” lens effect pulling in the image at the corners – which, of course, you may like!
Experiment with the aperture too. At such close quarters a wide aperture (the f number) will render a very small part in focus. To recap – the smaller the f number (e.g. f/2 8) the wider the aperture and the larger the number (e.g. f/16) the narrower the aperture. You can use this to your advantage by focusing on one particular object or aspect of an object to make it stand out with everything around it a soft blur. As a general rule of thumb the more of the scene you want in focus the narrower (bigger f number) the aperture. You will need to balance this with the shutter speed to get the right exposure. A narrow aperture will require a slower shutter speed, so you’ll definitely need that tripod or equivalent!
Whatever you decide to photograph get out and make the most of those glorious autumn colours. They won’t last forever because the times will change again all too soon!