Rain, Hail and Fall Colorado Foliage Color Report

The whole state of Colorado from the Front Range, Boulder, Lions, and the Greeley area have experience epic rainfall and flooding recently.  We had our share of mixed weather this past week too.

Here’s a photo taken while I was sitting in my car.  Hail, rain and flooding.  And one block behind where I sat, a huge tree fell onto East 3rd Avenue, in Durango.  I’m so glad I was safely in the studio at that time.  I chose to return to Durango from my camping, scouting, teaching trip to Haviland Lake.  Good choice.

Sitting in my car during a recent hail storm and flood.  Durango.

Sitting in my car during a recent hail storm and flood. Durango.

When photographing reflections, with clouds, I like to slightly underexpose (-) my photo to hold detail in the sky as well as the reflected sky.

Hermosa Cliffs are beginning to show early fall color.  Sept 21, 2013 ©Kit Frost

Hermosa Cliffs are beginning to show early fall color. Sept 21, 2013 ©Kit Frost

Eliot Porter stated "don't include the sky unless it has something to say.  What do you think this sky is saying. ©Kit Frost

Eliot Porter stated “don’t include the sky unless it has something to say. What do you think this sky is saying. Haviland Lake Reflection, Sept. 21, 2013.  Click on the photo above to be linked to a time lapse video on my YouTube channel. ©Kit Frost

The reflection will almost always come out darker than the actual cloudy sky, so by underexposing the photo by 1/3 or 2/3 I can hold detail in both.  Click on the photo above to be linked to a time lapse video on my YouTube channel.

Tips for improving your reflection photography

  1. Set up your composition, watch for keeping the “horizon line” straight.
  2. Balance your image from top to bottom and from left to right too.
  3. If there are clouds, use a graduated neutral density filter or underexpose to keep detail in the sky.
  4. Pick a focus point.  If you have a strong foreground element, like flowers, think about focusing on them or just past them.
  5. Choose a deep depth of field if your scenic is grand.  f18-22-25-29-32
  6. Use a tripod to improve the detail of your scene.  A tripod allows for slower shutter speeds and gives you an opportunity to refine your composition.
  7. Have fun.

I was out making photos, camping and mushroom hunting, at Haviland Lake, between Durango and the ski area, North of Durango.  The fall colors have barely changed but i could see that the color change is beginning.  You can see the slight yellowing of the aspens at the top of this photo.

For reflections, I like to get out early and grab some coffee, my tripod, and Nikon D5100.  I experimented with varied f-stops and will report back here about the details of the sweet spot on my lens (Nikon 16-85)

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