Photographing Michigan Fall Color

September 19th, 2011 by Steve Gettle

Note:  if you are in the Louisville area Monday October 3, come see Steve Gettle speak at a free OPG/SmugMug event!  Details here.

Reflections of Fall

Due to the fact that I had shows scheduled on the weekends when Michigan’s upper peninsula’s fall color is at its peak, I really thought I wouldn’t be able to do any shooting up there this year.  Luckily, I caught a break as we had an unusually wet summer and a very mild early fall.  The color was a week late this year, so I was able to take a few days and go up and work fall color.

Colors of the Northwoods

We struggled a little with the weather because we had bright sunny, windy days. We did however manage to get some shots, but we worked hard for what we got.  I say “we” because I traveled up with two good friends.  Nature photography is often a solo endeavor, and I really enjoy that part of it.  While I enjoy being alone in the wilderness with my thoughts and chosen subjects, it is also very nice to be able to share these experiences with good friends. The friendships and camaraderie I have developed with other photographers as we traveled the beautiful spots of the world is very special to me.  I would say in my travels I have met hundreds, no, probably thousands of nature photographers, and as a group they are some of the nicest people I know.

Here are a few fall images from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  These first few images are a theme that I am often on the lookout for as I work fall color. In these images I am shooting a small section of a stream that is in the shade, with the water reflecting fall color that is fully lit by the sun.  What is nice about working this subject is that it is usually something that can be done in the middle of a bright sunny day, when my gear would usually be packed up and I would be scouting evening locations.

Au Train Falls Section


This next shot was created using a much slower shutter speed in an attempt to call attention to the quite water captured in the rock’s crevice.

Quite Pool


The following image is another subject you can work when the wind is blowing.  This image shows crimson blueberry leaves with a couple of fern fronds. Because these plants grow close to the ground they are not blown by the wind as much as taller foliage.

Blueberry and Fern Fronds

On the final day we did get a morning with nice light and calm winds and I was able to make this next image.

Autumn Lake and Reeds

Browse Steve’s images, read his blog, and learn about his workshops at his site



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One Response to “Photographing Michigan Fall Color”

  1. Sharon says:

    The top image is absolutely spectacular!

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