Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Colors of the season

Fall leaves is the subject of this month’s Readers Photo Challenge assignment. With the season’s shortened days and colder weather, Autumn colors are coming into view all around us.

(11/13/13) 6-year-old Angel Carranza, left, and his 2-year-old brother Gabriel Carranza walk across a carpet of gold and red fallen leaves at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Nearly all types of photos can be enhanced by early morning/late afternoon light but even more so with fall leaves. The inherent warm glow of those times of day will make the yellows, reds and oranges of the seasonal leaves even more intense.

(12/12/17) A fallen leaf is backlit from a low afternoon sun at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Speaking of light, try photographing the leaves with then light coming from behind them. Their paper-thinness can make them almost translucent when backlit. This can intensify the saturation of their colors, especially when they’re shot against dark background where they can pop out light Christmas lights.

(10/22/20) Wild blackberry leaves turn to their fall colors along a hiking path at the Cosumnes River Preserve visitor center near Thornton. While the visitor center is closed due to the pandemic, the 4 miles of hiking paths remain open from sunrise to sunset daily. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

Many people will try to shoot an entire tree or even stand of trees to get their fall colors, which is fine enough. But try looking at parts of the tree. A single branch or even a lone leaf, properly photographed, can have as much visual impact as an entire forest.

(12/1/07) An early morning frost covers a leaf at Don Notoli Park in Elk Grove. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

You can also find leaves that have fallen to the ground. The detail of a single yellow or red leaf on a bed of green grass can be a study in contrasting color. Or carpet of colored leaves on the ground can give your photo a magical quality.

(12/3/15) Rain instead of blue skies didn’t greet University of the Pacific student Alexandria Chan but she did sport a bright blue umbrella to shield herself from the rain as she walked past rows of ornamental pear trees in their fall colors lining the Baxter Walkway on the UOP campus in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON]

I like including a human element into fall photos. If you’re photographing a stand of trees in a forest, adding a person can help to give things scale. You can get someone using a rake or leaf blower to gather up the leaves. You can capture children enjoying the simple pleasure of playing in a big pile of leaves. Or you can use fall color as a background to add color to a portrait.

(12/10/15) A wet red liquidambar leaf lies on a carpet of other fallen leaves knocked down high winds and rains on a driveway in Walnut Grove. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

This time of year also can bring some inclement weather. Don’t let that deter you. Try to work it to your advantage. Rain soaked leaves can actually make the colors more intense. And the sheen from the water can give some added visual interest. On really cold days, bundle up and try getting shots of leaves that are covered with frost.

(11/21/03) 1-year-old Grace Salazar of Stockton, right, plays with her cousin Megan Falkner, 3, of Temecula in a pile of fall leaves at Grupe Park in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

You need to make sure that the color of the season are the reason for your photos; whether you get in close or take an overall wide shot, go on a sunny day or during a rain storm, add a person to your photo or just shoot the leaves.

(10/22/20) Wild blackberry leaves turn to their fall colors along a hiking path at the Cosumnes River Preserve visitor center near Thornton. While the visitor center is closed due to the pandemic, the 4 miles of hiking paths remain open from sunrise to sunset daily. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

How to enter:

1. Entries can be emailed to coto@recordnet.com. The preferred format is jpeg. Type in “Fall Color” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be taken between November 17 and December 1.

3. The number of photos is limited to 10.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, the kind of device you used, how you got your close up and where the photo was taken (eg.: John Doe of Stockton, Canon Rebel T6i with 50mm macro lens. At Victory Park in Stockton).

5. If there is a recognizable person or persons in the photo please identify them (name, age, hometown) and describe what is going on in the photo (eg.: “Jane Doe walks her dog Fido past a tree wit fall leaves at Victory Park in Stockton”). Please indicate how they are related to you (friend, mother, father, daughter, son, etc).

6. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.

7. The deadline for submission is December 1. The top examples will be published on December 8, with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day at recordnet.com

(10/25/06) Loose leaves are held up tightly against a chain link fence by a strong steady wind at Kofu Park in Lodi. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE STOCKTON RECORD]

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