How to take great Autumn images

For me, no other season comes close to my love of Autumn (or 'Fall' for those of an American persuasion). The colour, light and weather all combine to produce stunning opportunities for photographs, as well as some great natural spectacles which in Norfolk include stargazing, migrating birds and, if you're lucky, Aurora Borealis, a.k.a. the Northern Lights.

This year we've been even more lucky than usual, higher than average temperatures meaning no frosts, and no high winds have meant we've kept glorious autumn colours on trees for far longer than normal, and even though it feels like it's rained almost constantly for the last fortnight it hasn't dampened my spirit to get out, explore, and take some photographs.

Today I decided to visit Waveney Forest which is an area of woodland near Fritton on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. It's an out of the way place at the busiest of times, but on a drizzly Tuesday afternoon, I had the place to myself. I know these woods fairly well but I was stunned at the sheer variety of colours still on display. I've also always failed to take a shot I'm happy with of the Woodsman's cottage but today I think I got it so it was worth it just for that!

Woodsman's cottage, Waveney Forest (a.k.a. my dream house)

Something I've been trying to do a lot more of is capture smaller parts of the scene, the main problems I had today getting close enough to the subject without getting soaked and, due to the amount of rain we've had over the last few weeks, excessive reflections off seemingly every surface.

Pro Tip #1: Always carry plastic bags to kneel/lay on in your camera bag. You can also fashion covers for your gear from plastic bags to keep shooting through bad weather in a pinch.

Pro Tip #2: Reflections from tree bark, leaves or the ground itself can both fool your camera's sensor/light meter or create blown out bright spots in your image which I personally don't like in my images. Ideally use a polarising filter, or, block the light using anything you can; your hand, your bag, or another person. Failing that, learn to love Lightroom's Luminosity slider.

Don't be afraid to get down in the mud for your shot

Pro Tip #3: Larger apertures (smaller f numbers) both let more light into your camera's sensor (vital for dark, dull or overcast autumn conditions) and give you a narrower depth of field - allowing you to create depth or isolate the interesting areas of your image to draw the viewer's eyes in.

Use large apertures to create depth or to draw the eye to certain areas of your images

One of my favourite parts of this particular walk was in the contrasts, in particular leaves which were still green or bright yellow which hadn't yet turned orange or brown shown against a rusty coloured background. I actually spent a good 10-15 minutes walking round this particular tree taking shots from various angles before settling on this one, and decided to go for a square crop in the edit to really focus on the main event of the photograph.

Pro Tip #4: Don't be afraid to experiment with different crops. It didn't stop Ansel Adams, so it shouldn't stop you!

Don't be afraid to experiment with different crops

Finally, as the light truly began to leave for the day, the evening was topped off by thousands of migrating geese passing overhead - a stunning sight and sound and a great end to the day.

Let me know what you think of the shots in the comments below. Remember, even if you don't get a single image from a day out with your camera - at least you had a nice walk and got out and experienced nature - and that's never a bad thing!