Picturing Autumn

Photography locations, tips for new season

by Emma Trussell, Photo Editor

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As leaves begin to fall and temperatures begin to drop, the season of autumn arrives. Nature’s rich colors bring out the beauty of the season, making it a perfect time of year for outdoor photography. The friendly weather incites adventure and holds plenty of opportunities for great, seasonal photography. Finding the right place to take landscape photos or to have a photo shoot with your friends can be difficult, but some of the best locations for it are right here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Dallas Arboretum

If you’re looking for a scenic location preserved to capture the charming season, the arboretum is a perfect place. Although the arboretum isn’t free for entry, $15 is worth the results you’ll get. This botanical garden provides a wide range of nature to take landscape shots. Utilizing sunlight streaming through the trees or reflecting off the streams and ponds located here can drastically improve your photos. The arboretum holds an Autumn at the Arboretum fall festival event from Sept. 21 through Nov. 21, packed with activities and live music on the weekends. Capturing your friends having fun at these events can make for fantastic candid shots.

The Dallas Zoo: Halloweekend

It’s a rare opportunity to capture the wide spectrum of creatures from the animal kingdom, unless you happen to take a trip to the zoo. On Oct. 27 and 28 the zoo hosts Halloweekend. In this event, you can find hours of fun things to participate in and take pictures of. You can capture the spirit of autumn in the hay maze and children’s’ animal-themed costumes. Halloweekend also holds a “bubble fun” event. Bubbles can be used to add more elements of composition to your pictures: framing, repetition, leading lines and others while adding a touch of magic. Although festival activities make for an amazing photo essay, at the zoo you get to capture more than just people in the season’s spirit. When taking pictures of animals, it’s best to incorporate the environment around them, which is why I recommend going during the fall season. The cool weather encourages animals to be more active and the colors enrich otherwise normal photos. Try framing the animal using trees or rocks and capture them when they’re interacting with their surroundings, like young animals playing with fallen autumn leaves.

The State Fair

Every year students are given a free ticket to the state fair, valid Mondays through Fridays, so what better way to use them than on the upcoming four-day weekend to take photos of your friends spending the evening at a carnival? The State Fair is a staple of the fall season. Carnival pictures are wonderful for their bright colors and lights. Using the neon lights of signs, you can create the bokeh effect by setting your aperture (controlling the amount of light that enters the camera through the lens) low enough so the lights in the background of photos will blur into small circles. Bokeh is a unique aspect that will make any photo stronger.

Pumpkin Patches and Nature Trails

Not all good photo ops for autumn need to cost money or require a large event. All you really need to capture fall is you and your camera. Just by searching “pumpkin patch” or “scenic trail” you can find a place nearby to take your photos. Some great local places include Murphy Road Baptist Church for a pumpkin patch and Arbour Hills for a nature trail. Deciduous tree forests are the essence of fall and will always inspire creativity. By increasing the warmth on your white balance or in post-production, you can help enhance the natural fall colors. When doing portraits, encourage your subject to wear warm tones to match the scene. In a pumpkin patch you can use angles to create more interesting photos; by getting higher or lower angles you can eliminate distracting backgrounds. In nature trails, you can use higher angles to capture your subject among the fallen leaves or use a low angle to catch the leaves falling.

The possibilities are endless. Your results don’t need to be perfect; the most important part is to make sure you’re enjoying it because everyone has to start somewhere.