I love summer, but in my opinion, nothing compares to the Fall. Here are my Top 10 Reasons why professional photographers are salivating over the return of Autumn…
10. No Mosquitos… Okay, less mosquitos at least.
Depending upon where you choose to go this Fall, mosquitos could be the least of your worries. Due to lowering temps, unfavorable for mosquitoes, they tend to hide in the autumn and winter. They’re still there, but mostly inactive. If traveling to more tropical locals, like the Florida Everglades, Fall could be the wet season, creating perfect conditions for the tiny insects to ruin your day. Choose wisely, my friends.
9. Cooler Temps
It’s the reason for the lack of mosquitoes and other annoying bugs, but it’s also a welcomed relief to folks like me that appreciate the cool, dry air. Whether you’re in the Smokies or the Rockies, the air begins to teem with a new, crisp energy starting in September. It’s the coming of winter and the first snow that seems to charge the air with a sense of purpose, unlike the relaxed feel of Summer. And the animals feel it too…
8. The Animals Are Active And Energized
The inevitable coming of Winter that is marked clearly by the changing from Summer to Fall, is perhaps the alarm clock for most animals, especially in the mountains and forests. They come alive with the urgency of the moment. Realizing they must feed as much as possible before the unforgiving Winter, they become bold and are easily viewed and photographed during the Fall. And that’s not even to mention mating season… I’ll get to that later….
7. Less Crowds
I do enjoy people (sometimes), but when I’m on one of my nature/ landscape trips, I prefer to avoid crowds. So if you’re like me, Autumn is the time for you. The crowds of the Summer months dwindle away with the start of new school years, less hospitable weather, and reduction of seasonal services. All is quiet. And peaceful. The way nature should be appreciated!
6. Catching The First Snow Is Exhilarating
Ah, the first snow. It is something I strive to catch every year in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. There is something so magical about it, and as mentioned before, it is the first real indicator of the coming Winter. The animals get energized and a beautiful dusting of contrast is added to a yellow and sleepy landscape. Which brings me to my next point…
5. Dynamic Weather
With the colder air from the north and first snow comes weather and dramatic clouds. Those bluebird Summer days feel long gone, and the beautiful “drama queen” that is nature, peeks out to show you her moody side. The light becomes magic as it penetrates small openings in the clouds, kissing the land. I’m getting giddy just thinking about spending a month in Colorado and Wyoming this Fall!
4. Longer Nights…
I know, I know, this seems weird, right. But let me just say, if you’re a seasoned photographer, you’ll know what I’m talking about. We are often slaves to the light. And during the Summer months, the days are so long. We must rise before the sun to capture the gorgeous pre-dawn and dawn light (4:30-5 AM), and then we cannot truly rest until the sun has again hidden itself from our little part of the earth (9-10 PM). It’s exhilarating, but exhausting. So when the shorter days, longer nights of Fall come, it’s a nice reprieve. Well, okay, let’s be honest; I still spend the same amount of time shooting, it just allows me to also capture the night shots I so love to shoot. And thankfully, I still get a solid 5-6 hours of sleep.
3. Better Light = Better Photos
What is it about the Fall light? Well, for one, the sun is lower in the sky, so the angle of sunlight is generally prettier and softer. But also, as I mentioned before, the weather creates a situation for the light to be filtered and fantastically interesting. There’s a harshness to the summer sun that fades away with the advent of Fall.
2. The Rut… And the Animals Get Crazy
If you’ve ever hear elk bugling, you’ll know what is so entrancing about the rut. The rut is the mating season of many mammal species, including deer, elk, sheep, moose, pronghorn, caribou, etc. The shorter day lengths of Autumn are the trigger for many of these animals. And the side-effects of the increased hormones are what make this time of year so exciting and interesting for wildlife observers and photographers.
Males often rub their antlers or horns on trees and shrubs, fight with each other, wallow in mud and dust, self-anoint, and herd estrus females together. Bull elk, in particular, will loudly and frequently bugle. A bugle is a vocalization made exclusively by bulls and can be directed toward other bulls or toward cows (female elk). A bull will direct his bugle toward his cows while gathering them or while chasing a cow in estrus. A herd bull might also direct his bugle toward another bull to express his dominance over the herd, while a satellite bull may use his bugle to challenge the herd bull. Yelping also known as “grunting” is usually only made by herd bulls when they are excited. Seeing the steam from the cold air streaming from the nostrils and gaping mouth of a massive bull elk grunting and bugling is truly amazing. But it’s the haunting bugles in the distance that one wakes to that heighten your senses and keep you coming back to the mountains in the Fall every year.
1. Fall Colors
What can I say? This is self explanatory. The colors of the fall just can’t be beat. The deep greens and blues (to borrow from James Taylor) of Summer are magnificent. Totally. But the colors of Fall, almost exclusively during a few magical weeks each year, awaken my soul. Red, orange, yellow, and every hue in between. It’s earthy and warm, but those old familiar cool toned skies and purple hued mountains make for supremely balanced images.
Sometimes as I drive down the road to Cora in the Winds, the leaves fall and dance in front of my car, and I feel like I might be in heaven. Or some cheesy car commercial. But it’s amazing and I really can’t get enough. I miss Fall as soon as it’s gone, and I can’t wait until it arrives again… Every. Single. Year.
If you don’t believe me… join me this Fall for my Grand Teton Workshop!
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
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