Fall Color Landscape Photography in the Eastern Sierra Nevada

I see that. Do you know what that is? That’s blue sky. Not only is it blue sky, but it’s just about the first blue sky I’ve seen in the last three to four weeks. You see? So it hasn’t been the easiest thing to get outside in the last month or so, but today here we are near the end of September and the winds have started the shift. So those clearing skies, along with the fact that the aspens are starting to change, it means it’s time to get outside for some fall color photography.

I love shooting fall colors, but one of the big questions that I’m always confronted with is how do you keep it fresh? How do you keep being creative and shooting new and novel types of photos after all there’s only so many wide angles shooting backlit through the trees and creating a Sunstar kind of photos that you can take before. It just stops being all that fun. Which means that my big challenge for the day is can I find a way to approach fall color photography in a new way that keeps it exciting and fresh for me. But first we’ve got to find a place to actually shoot. Oh, that’s right. All my favorite spots in the local forest are closed right now. What about, or even crap? It looks like we’re going to have to go for a little drive. I’ve come to the humble Toyama national forest. And there’s a place here that I’ve been to before that is spectacular for fall color. The problem is I don’t quite remember how to get there.

Cool. Yeah. Maximum success here we are at green Creek, one of the best places for fall color in Eastern Sierra, Nevada, and Beck, just driving up the road to this Trailhead. I found an amazing hillside covered with aspens turning bright yellows. And I just had to stop for a quick shot. One of the reasons that I wanted to stop here because of these two bushes, you can see back here, you have this beautiful ill side, getting back lit by the mid day sun. And there are two dominant stripes of fall color on the hillside. Then you also have those two bushes down here below the conifers. And what I’d like to do is line those two bushes up with those dominant stripes of color. And this is a fantastic lesson that you should take away in your photography is being an active participant in the scene.

If I shoot that photo from right here, it looks something like this. You can see that misalignment, but you can position the elements in your frame, even though you can’t physically move those bushes or that hillside, you can adjust your relationship to them. So instead of shooting at it from this angle, if I walk over here a little bit more, even just that small adjustment to my position is going to create a much better alignment between those elements in the photo. And as much as I enjoy this photo and still left with that burning question, how do I bring something new to fall color so that it stays interesting and exciting for me. And actually I have an approach that I use for this exact kind of situation. It’s really simplistic, but it’s very powerful. And it’s simply, I do the opposite of whatever I have been doing. So if I’m super bored of shooting Whiting of photos, I only shoot with a telephoto lens. If I’m really tired of shooting horizontal photos, I shoot only vertical photos for awhile. It just helps get the creative juices flowing. And as I thought more and more about what exactly I can shake up with my fall color photography, I realized that I’m always shooting fall color from the grant. And I would love to have a different perspective. So today we’re going to shoot fall color from the sky.

This is going to be a huge challenge to actually launch a drone in this forest. It’s like threading a needle. These trees are so close together in the canopy. I don’t think it’s going to happen. We’re going to have to keep going.

Can we find an open spot? Oh man. That looks good.  And if you’re thinking, “Cripps it’s the middle of the day, it’s a pretty crappy time to be taking pictures. Don’t you think?” Well, actually love doing fall color photography in the middle of the day, especially when you’re shooting the leaves back lit by the sun. The colors absolutely explode onto your camera sensor. Now, whether or not that’s going to translate to the drone. We’re about to find out. 

It was a stunningly beautiful. Well, now I’d have to say that was a fantastic success, such a fun and cool and interesting way to get a brand new perspective on one of my favorite things to shoot the fall colors aspens here on the East side of California. Thank you guys. So very much for watching, I’m going to polish this video off with another photo or two. So until next time have fun and happy shooting.

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