Hope you snap some great photos!
Q: Is there a special filter that can be used to intensify or highlight the colors when photographing foliage?
There is no filter that I know of that will help in every situation. However, a polarizing filter (compare prices) will help when you are at 90 degrees to the sun. The other thing that will help to give more brilliant colors would be to shoot the photos after a rain. The air is clear, the leaves are clean, and the colors will be more vibrant.
Q: What is the best time of day to shoot foliage photos?
Morning is better because the air is always cleaner, and there is less dust, smog, etc. Or, after a rain as previously mentioned.
Q: Do you have any particular places in Maine to recommend that are great to photograph in the fall?
I don’t have any one particular place that is best, but, I would say go to the more hilly country like northern Maine, western Maine (around Sunday River), Aroostook County or Vermont. Those big rolling hills allow you to see for miles. Scenes like this will give you colors that just cannot be imagined--you must witness them first hand. Visit the small towns and the backroads; these are always better than the highways and interstates.
Q: What type of film should photographers use for outdoor foliage?
I would say slide film, such as Fujichrome (compare prices). The Fuji has beautiful greens. I do caution the person who is unfamiliar with slide film to be very careful when exposing slide film because it will not tolerate as many mistakes. That is, the film has less latitude. I recommend the slide film over the print film because when the print film is developed, the colors are filtered into the print. If the person (or computer) doesn't know the intensity of the colors of New England fall foliage, how will he know how deep to make the reds, or the yellows or any of the colors for that matter? He won't; so he uses certain parameters that are set by his lab and you get photos back of scenes that you remember as being a little redder, or a little brighter. Since the photos don't show that, you take the blame and say, "I guess my memory is failing me." That may be also, but it may just be that the photos have not been printed with the same brilliance that Mother Nature provided.
Q: Why do you recommend slide film over print film?
Most people do not know it, but when you load slide film into the camera that same piece of film is the slide. It is the same piece of film that is mounted in a slide mount after the development process. So, if you make a mistake in the camera and give the film an improper exposure, your mistake will show. On the other side of the coin, as I mentioned before, if you do it correctly the results will be much more positive.
When you then decide to have a print made from your slide, the person (or computer) will now have the original to make a comparison. If the first print he makes doesn’t look like the slide, he can go back and reprint until it does have the same color intensity and quality as the slide. If you are uncertain as to where you can get your slides printed, you can rely on a company called The Slide Printer in Denver, Colorado. Their phone number is 303-698-2962.
Q: If I want to photograph raindrops on a leaf what settings should I use?
The lens settings are probably not as important as the lens you use. You would take the photo the same way you would take any other photo whether you meter in the manual mode or use a program mode or some variation of both. The exposure part of it is as easy as the automatic settings of your camera. You must, however, be careful that there is not a whole lot of light being reflected off the water. This may fool your metering system. For this reason and others, you should try to take this picture with the light diffused either through the trees or with some slight cloud cover.
The most important part of taking this photo, though, is using the proper lens. You should use a good macro type lens or close-up filters. The former can get expensive if you're on a budget, and the latter will work for much less money. I prefer using the macro lens personally because of the nice clear picture quality.
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