Fall Foliage Map For Your Fall Photos

Fall Leaves

Fall has officially arrived! It is time to start snapping pics of everything pumpkin and pumpkin-colored.

Check out this map before you head out for photos. It shows where, and at what stage, the leaves are changing within the lower contiguous US states.

Scroll down below the map to read about how and why the leaves change, and snag some coloring pages too. Who doesn’t love coloring? Especially next to a fire, sipping on a warm drink. Yay, fall!

Photo by The U.S. Department of Agriculture

Mindful Photography

Being behind a camera is definitely one of the best places to be, but channeling all that creativity can sometimes take you away from appreciating your surroundings.

Get your Zen on with this article by Aaron Eisenberg. He lays out some excellent tips on being mindful of the moment, while still capturing it.

We plucked out a few of our favorites here:

  • Rather than going into a place and snapping away, take time to look around and find the best shot or two. This saves digital storage, creates better photos and gathers greater memories!
  • Spend a day taking notes rather than snapping photos. This can spark conversations and provide you with more depth to your documentation.
  • Forget about likes and favorites while you’re on vacation. Wait to post your photos on social media until after you’re home again.

Photo by Aaron Eisenberg

Take Better Pics Through Windows

The windows of high rise buildings offer the best city views. Capturing that view, without reflections that make the city look like it’s under alien attack, can be a frustrating venture.

QT Luong, a photog famous for capturing all 59 US National Parks in large format, offers up some advice on avoiding window pain.

We love his “oh duh” tip of cleaning the window as well as the more advanced advice like ensuring the window is shaded from sunlight, using a rubber hood or dark cloth to make a seal with the window and removing your polarizing filter. Techniques that work well for DSLR and phone cameras alike!

Photo by QT Luong

Photo Lessons From the Street

Street photography can be intimidating. Snagging candids of strangers is uncomfortable, at first.

While it’s best to simply to get out and learn as you go, it is nice to arm yourself with a few tips. Marius Vieth, a seasoned street-photog, doles out 10 lessons learned in this article. He includes advice on how to blend in, predict patterns and be ready for that crucial moment.

Our favorite tips from the article are:

  • Minimal gear – Take only your camera and forget the added gear. You don’t want to be swapping lenses when the perfect photo-op pops up.
  • Find natural contrasts – Your foreground should be different enough from the background to make them both visually interesting.
  • Simplify your choices – Try focusing on one element (like a color or pattern) for a couple hours.

Photo by Marius Vieth

Landscape Comp Tip for Absolute Beginners

Landscapes are some of the easiest shots to take – no arranging meetups with others, no double chins, and that fresh air is super invigorating!

If you’re just getting the hang of creating gorgeous landscape shots, you’ll benefit from understanding how to add a sense of depth with composition. Think of your photo as having three parts: foreground, middle-ground and background. Try to make sure there something of interest in all three sections.

Check out this article for a perfectly simple visual example of great landscape composition.

Photo by Scott Bourne

Take Photos, for Science!

You’re usually out snapping away at flora and fauna, so why not use those photos to help document our world?

Add your nature shots to iNaturalist and help increase the already huge online database of plants, furry creatures and creepy crawlies.

Upload your photo, tag the location and name the organism if you can. No worries if you don’t know the name, iNaturalist is teeming with people eager to help classify.

It’s a cool way to connect with other nature-lovers, learn about the life around you and add your talent to scientific research!

Photo by RJAdams55

Sharpen Up on FB

Facebook may not be the best place to show off your photography, but it is still a fantastic way to quickly share snaps with close friends and family. After all, not everyone is on Flickr.

You’ve likely noticed that FB compresses photos causing minor, but super irritating, artifacts. Which basically negates all the hours you spent editing them to perfection. GUH.

There is a way to ensure your photos come out looking sharp on FB. Three ways, actually!

  • 1. Upload 2048px size photos, you’ll get less compression.
  • 2. Don’t sharpen the image beforehand.
  • 3. Upload PNG, rather than JPG.

Read about the how and why these tips work in this article by Photoshelter, and start uploading pics to FB without losing your hard-earned quality.

Photo by Allen Murabayashi

A Little Sleight of Hand for Surreal Shots

The Great Outdoors definitely lives up to its name, but sometimes the summer heat is just too much. Staying in doesn’t have to be a total wash though, there’s loads of creative photos you can take in the Cool Indoors!

We’re totally digging these 10 tricks for setting up surreal snaps at home. Create mini worlds with a little papercraft, fool gravity with glue or create some intruige with smoke. Most of these fun setups require supplies you likely have already. So you’ll feel resourceful and productive on your day in.

Also check out some of our own ideas for indoor fun. Now you have all the excuses you need to keep out of the heat!

Stay cool, yo.

Photo by Dina Belenko

InstaMeets: A National Park Meetup For Photogs

You know that feel when you’re left behind in a tour group because you’re too busy snapping photos? All the time. You’re not alone (this time) and a resourceful Park Ranger noticed your dilemma.

Ranger Tim created InstaMeets, in Glacier National Park, as a solution. It’s a meetup for photographers to go on photo walks, safely and slowly, together. They’re a great way to connect with and learn from other photo enthusiasts.

Hopefully this brilliant idea is picked up by other National Parks. In the meantime, if you’re headed toward Glacier, check out when the next InstaMeet is here.

Photo by NPS

See a Silhouette and Snap it

Silhouette shots are one of those styles that seem super easy, but are honestly difficult to get “just right.”

The Phoblographer wrote about three things to keep in mind when shooting silhouette shots, and we think they’re spot-on excellent advice!

  • Highlights way up: This is best achieved in post-processing, but keep it in mind while shooting so you can adjust exposure and focal points.
  • Ship Shapes: Silhouette photos rely on visually interesting shapes rather than color contrast or subject matter. Be on the lookout for unique, but recognizable, shapes.
  • Composition: Keep a good balance of shadow and light, or create drama with slightly more of one than the other.

Check out the Phoblographer’s perfectly put article here!

Photo by Chris Gampat