Creating Motion in Fall Photography

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Wind is a big part of fall as the colorful leaves drift and flutter about before gently settling to the ground, so fall photography can include introducing motion into your shots. In this session, you’ll learn how to shoot the leaves falling in motion, as well as how to create your own motion.

When you’re watching a fall scene, you’re almost always seeing colorful leaves drop from a tree and make their way down, often making their own paths in whatever breeze exists on that particular day. You can set your camera up on a tripod to catch images of this descent and catch the flow of motion, but you can also create your own motion. In this session, photographer Layne Kennedy shows you how to do this with a single leaf.

Pan With a Leaf for the Illusion of Motion

Simply by holding the leaf and moving your camera simultaneously while shooting a long exposure, you can create that sense of movement in the background while keeping the leaf in focus. Because you’ll want to keep the leaf in focus while you pan, you should shoot on a calm day. You should also use manual focus, as the auto-focus function may keep trying to find the focus as you pan.

Shoot in the Shade But Into the Sun

Layne shows you the best camera settings to achieve this goal, the right lighting to make it work and the best approach to the shot. He recommends shooting on a sunny day, with the sun in the background, so you’ll have vibrant highlights in the background of your shot. The result is a leaf that looks like it’s falling, an illusion of movement through the forest caused by the long exposure. It’s just one of many approaches to fall photography that you can use to show the colors of the season.

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