Tuesday, November 29, 2016


This series has been about creating drama with fall colors in Different Qualities of Light. I started with direct side light using late light. Then shared my uses of backlight and how it could be used even at the “wrong time of day”. In this part I’ll show how and where I use Morning Light.

Morning light has not, in the past, been my favorite light for fall colors—until I moved to Idaho. Now, some of my favorite fall color images are in this light.  This morning light I use tends to be either on an overcast morning or if it’s clear I use the open shade—using sky light; Not Direct Sunlight. Direct morning sunlight is harsh and cool in nature and its specular high lights are too bright when behind a subject in open shade.  

That being said, fall colors using soft morning light, in open shade, can be marvelous.
Caption: f5.6 @ 1/320 sec., IO 400; lens @ 200mm
With this scene I had a morning with some thin overcast, so I still had some soft backlight that did not over power the soft front light, on the leaves, on my side of the tree.  I liked the soft nature of this light so much that in post processing I applied some negative clarity in this image to enhance the softness. 

This next image is similar, but it’s quality is different because now I’m going for crisp, sharp, detail….
 f8.0 @ 1/160 sec., ISO 800; Lens @ 150m
The lighting here is soft open shade—the tree’s canopy was blocking the sky. Because of that loss of light to get to f8.0, for good depth-of-field, I had to bump my ISO to 800.  The image is sharp, but the leaves colors are soft in this light. I really like how those leaves’ colors pop off the black bark.

One of the challenges of photographing fall leaves is that with some varieties of trees the leaves are very glossy creating highlights (when using any direct sunlight) that will blow-out (clipping). So, to avoid this fatal photography error I use only open sky (without direct sun) or overcast lighting for these glossy leaves….
f7.1 @ 1/160 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 190mm
I liked this scene only after I spotted a contrast to the sea of red leaves. That one darker leaf with its green spot became my center-of-interest. 

There you have the three qualities of light that I use for fall colors. If any photographers out there have used a different quality of light on fall colors I’d love to see your results.

‘Till next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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