PHOTO: Fall foliage in Michigan. (Courtesy Nikon via Sherry Johnson)
The state of Michigan, already known for its automakers, cherries, upper peninsula and good college football, can now add another title.
Best state for photographing fall foliage.
Camera-maker Nikon announced that Michigan earned this year’s top spot for stunning images of fall foliage. The results were based on thousands of submissions on Nikon's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels, which invited passionate photographers to submit creative and colorful fall images of their state's most beautiful locations and landscapes.
During the nationwide campaign, Nikon received more than 8,000 entries from participants across the country – amateurs and professionals alike – in the hunt for America's most gorgeous Autumn landscapes from coast to coast.
"The beautiful fall colors and changing of the leaves offer Americans from all states unique opportunities to capture stunning scenes from the great outdoors," said Lisa Baxt, Associate General Manager of Communications, Nikon Inc. "After a fantastic response to last year's campaign, we were determined to once again encourage people to get outside, capture, and share images that reflect both the beauty of the season and participants' state pride."
Michigan earned top honors for 2016 with more than 1,600 photos submitted through various social media channels. After being named top spot for fall foliage last year, New York was this year's runner up and showcased a diverse array of beautiful images spanning from Central Park to the Adirondacks. Pennsylvania and North Carolina tied for third in this year's campaign.
As for shooting fall foliage, Nikon says there are a few things to know.
Location: "It's everything," says nature photographer Rod Planck. If you're thinking of focusing a photography vacation around the colors of autumn, or just want to spend a day or two in pursuit of the season's hues, Planck suggests three major regions to consider: the New England states; the Colorado Rockies; and the upper Midwest of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. If you live elsewhere, your best bet is the website of your state's tourism board for timely, peak fall color information, perhaps even a fall color hotline.
Light: Not all things need be, or should be, photographed in bright sun. "People at the autumn tours will often tell me that the weather report calls for sun for the next seven days," Planck says, "but that's not good news." In autumn, sunlight is desirable only early and late, when it's essentially sidelighting. "An overcast day is best—first, because you can shoot all day long, and second because the light is soft and even."
Exposure: Planck uses Matrix metering for everything, regardless of sunshine or clouds, then checks the histogram to make sure no highlights are being clipped.
Elevation: One of the things that'll give you a sense of the expanse of an area and the color that fills it is height. "A lot of locations afford the opportunity to drive up and get above the color," Planck says, "and when you can do that it gives you a grander feel for how much color there is in the area."