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Picture Perfect

6 Camera Tips for Taking Photos of Fall Foliage

For a few magical weeks each fall, many American landscapes transform into a rainbow of stunning hues: ripe pumpkin orange, candy-apple red and brilliant sunflower yellow. Whether you're traveling along the scenic tree-lined bluffs of the Mississippi River or enjoying a relaxing weekend in Vermont, the vibrant colors of fall beg to be captured on camera. Shutterbug Angela Tague shares these tips for taking fantastic photos of the fall foliage.

Set your camera

Achieve sharp detail and definition in leaves, branches and trunks of trees by using a small aperture setting so you don't sacrifice depth of field. Turn your SLR to the aperture priority (Av) setting and choose f8, f16 or f22.

Amp up color

Capture the assorted colors of the season by experimenting with high-dynamic range (HDR) settings on compact cameras or attaching filters to your SLR camera lens. Lens accessory manufacturer Tiffen recommends its Enhancing Filter to saturate brown, orange and red tones, making fall foliage pop.

Find the right spot

Hike or drive to lookout points to obtain scenic overviews of autumn displays. Tree-lined lakes provide stunning reflections with an artistic flair. Or wander through a forest and capture rustic nature trails winding through the sea of bright colors.

Focus on details

While wide-angle, frame-filling vistas are breathtaking, don't pass up the opportunity to go macro. Look down. Try isolating a fallen leaf off-center against rocks or mud for a bold contrast and uncommon composition.

Time it right

Colorful fall foliage can be found from September through November, but it peaks in mid-October. Consult an online foliage tracker, such as The Foliage Network, to pinpoint the best time to travel to your desired destination.

Go where the leaves are

Not sure where to go? Consider venturing to the New England states, the Colorado Rockies and the Heartland region of Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan. Check with local tourism bureaus for best places to shoot or search the Internet for a quick “fall foliage tour.”

Photo: Russell Burden/Getty Images

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