The one-hour project: autumn

Autumn time is such a gift for photographers. The light is soft and golden, carpets of crunchy leaves sit underfoot, and the trees are ablaze with colour. When Nature is giving up her last hurrah before the silver-grey chill of winter, we simply have to get out there and capture her beauty.

I like to do one-hour projects in spring and autumn because the light is so good and there is still plenty of outdoor interest to shoot. Apart from the benefits of getting outside on a beautiful day, it’s a great way of getting results in a busy schedule.

As I’ve written before, setting a time limit on what you’re going to shoot gives you focus. You make pictures mindfully, really thinking about what’s in front of you, rather than firing off numerous shots and selecting the best at edit.

I adore vibrant colour, and autumn gives this up in spades.

© Lisa Cordaro Photography
© Lisa Cordaro Photography

The trick to doing the one-hour project is to choose the right time of day for the subject you want to shoot. At this time of year, the light is at its best at early morning, when mist and haze settle over the ground, making for beautiful landscape images.

In the afternoon, the golden hour of around 2–3pm, just before dusk, is a good time to go out.

(c) Lisa Cordaro Photography
© Lisa Cordaro Photography

I was walking through the trees, and the way that the backlight was catching some low branches here caught my eye, turning this leaf into a mini-lantern.

(c) Lisa Cordaro Photography
© Lisa Cordaro Photography

Contrast is another thing we can look for. This composition created itself: a single yellow leaf had fallen onto a Japanese bush which had turned pink, creating a still life all of its own.

(c) Lisa Cordaro Photography
© Lisa Cordaro Photography

Some plants come into season at this time of year, such as this schizostylis. The muted tones and gentle pink of the flower head make for a subtle counterpoint to the bright party going on around it.

(c) Lisa Cordaro Photography
© Lisa Cordaro Photography

Meanwhile, other plants are coming to the end of their cycle, preparing for rest and shooting seed pods to be replanted for another year.

(c) Lisa Cordaro Photography
© Lisa Cordaro Photography

Nature has borne new life in spring, dazzled us over the summer, given us bounty in autumn, and is ready for a well-deserved rest in the icicle-covered months of winter. It’s always a joy to document her gifts, no matter what the season.

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