News & Politics

Reader-Submitted Fall Photos—Plus Tips from the Pros

Send us your fall photos!

To celebrate the season of pumpkins, apples, and pumpkin and apple pies, we’re collecting photos of fall scenes from around Washington for a reader-submitted slide show. Send as many photos as you’d like to, and we’ll update the this page with new photos as they come in.

Novice shutterbugs might like these tips from professional photographers. Ben Anderson and Michael Bennett Kress gave us good advice for churning out lovely fall photographs.

• Check your gear before heading out. Make sure your camera battery is charged and your memory card is empty.

• Switch your camera to manual mode instead of using automatic settings. You’ll have more freedom in how you shoot—adjusting the flash level and shutter speed, for example.

• A digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera is your best bet for high-quality pictures. Look for cameras that have removable lenses and an adjustable shutter speed.

• If getting beautiful photographs is your goal, clearing your schedule is a must. “Good photography takes time,” Anderson says. Going alone can also keep you from getting distracted.

• Timing is key. Try shooting during the late afternoon or early morning when natural light is less directional and harsh. For landscape photos, shoot with the sun’s light. If light is hitting your back, it’s also hitting your subject. Smaller subjects, such as a single leaf, work better when the light is shining through them, illuminating small details.

• Don’t be shutter-shy. Take as many pictures of a scene as you want to ensure that you get the shots you’re satisfied with. Digital photography lacks some of the limitations and costs of shooting with film.

Looking for a good place to shoot? Anderson suggests Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive for catching falling leaves, mountain views, and wildlife on camera. He recommends leaving DC around 6 AM to beat the crowds and get to the park while the sun is rising and the sky is clear. According to the park’s Web site, fall colors this year will be at their boldest around the second to third week of October.