Fall Photo Tips

tamarack in fall Tamarack, Minnesota's only deciduous conifer. Big Bog State Park. © Travis Novitsky

Taking the perfect fall photo

Fall is known for its fiery colors. The reds, oranges, and yellows beg to be photographed. So we asked renowned photographer Travis Novitsky and naturalist Amber Brooks for their tips to taking the perfect fall color photo:​

  1. New Perspectives: Lie down or go high—change your angle, change your view!

  2. Light:

    • Let the sun backlight your subject or poke through tree branches during the “golden hour” (dusk/dawn.)

    • Cloudy days are best for photos from under the forest canopy—there’s less glare, thus, less contrast.

  3.  Up-Close:

    • Capture the color variation within each individual leaf.

    • Look to the ground for frost or beaded droplets on leaves—you’ll get fascinating macro photography!

  4. Fog: After a cold night, get to a high spot and look for fog in the surrounding lowlands for a magical image.

  5. Land of 10,000 Lakes:

    • Love the leaves across the lake? Include the shoreline on your side for depth.

    • Capture the reflection of the colorful trees on calm water.

  6. Fast-moving subject? Make a video, pause it and take a screenshot to get the perfect action shot.

  7. Slow Down: The less you move, the more nature will come alive around you.

  8. Phone Camera? Get an app that will add SLR capabilities and get a zoom lens to attach to your phone.

  9. #NoFilter: Not if you want to bring out the deep, rich colors in nature—use a polarizing filter.

  10. Starry Nights: As leaves are shed, find interesting tree silhouettes that will look nice against a starry sky backdrop.


  1. Northern Minnesota's Many Falls: Visit at different times to observe completely different colors. Maples change first (typically peaking around late September, early October.) Birch, aspen, and other trees peak when maples start to fade, and can be enjoyed into mid-October.  



Aside from capturing breathtaking images of nature around him, Travis Novitsky is the Park Manager at Grand Portage State Park.

Amber Brooks is one of our parks' many rock-star naturalists. Pro tip: Reserve a spot at the bison tour she leads at Blue Mounds State Park. You won't regret it!

Leaf on the ground

Ground perspective. © Amber Brooks