Fall in Estes Park is extraordinary. As the aspen leaves turn yellow, it's hard not to capture the beauty on your digital device of choice. Photographers, whether with their fancy lenses or iPhones, flock to capture this beauty in frames. Here are some tips from Visit Estes Park photographer John Berry to give this colorful season the attention it deserves. 


Embrace the "Golden Hours"

Fall- Yellow Aspens

We’re all familiar with the term golden hour and how it’s the best time to shoot. Specifically, the golden light will add warmer tones to your shot for fall to give your photos a cozier feel. Autumnal leaves are giant show-offs, and for good reason. This also means it may be too bright to shoot during mid-day, causing your photos to come out harsher than you want. So, plan on getting up early for sunrise or wait until the sun sets in the evening.  Pro tip: If you're using an iPhone camera, shoot wide angle in panoramic mode. Use this feature to pan up an aspen tree until you reach the sky. The end result will be a higher-definition photo with much more visual information than a regular phone picture. 


Enjoy a stroll downtown.

Fall- Downtown- Riverwalk

Enjoy the crisp, cool air as you stroll along the Riverwalk. The flowing Big Thompson River pairs well with the yellow aspen leaves. You'll notice in the above photo that Longs Peak is prominently in the background. Pro tip: Use a Telephoto lens (70-200mm) to isolate your main subject (In this case, the yellow aspen trees). 


Go for a drive in Rocky Mountain National Park.  

Fall- Trail Ridge

Rocky Mountain National Park is home to some insanely beautiful Autumn views. Frequently, you'll see the first signs of fall in the mountains due to the higher elevation and cooler temperatures. Going on a pleasant drive through the mountains is a sure way to see some beautiful fall colors. There are plenty of accessible pull-offs in the National Park for you to pull over and adequately capture your photo! Pro tip: Use the winding roads to accentuate your compositions! See the photo above. 


Check out the Elk!


Believe it or not, fall isn’t just about the leaves! For wildlife photographers, the Autumn months mean Elk Rut Season. Photographers from around the country travel to Estes Park to capture the Elk Rut. Pro Tip: It's best to photograph the elk from a safe distance. I typically shoot with a 200-600mm telephoto lens. This enables you to keep a safe space from the elk while being able to zoom in effectively to capture the best photograph. To learn more about the Elk Rut, check out this blog.


Plan ahead.

Fall Hike

Lastly, with any professional photoshoot, it's best to plan. Pro Tip: Keep a close eye on the week's weather forecasts. This will help determine when certain areas might produce fall colors. The sooner the cooler temperatures come in, the more likely you'll see the leaves change. Be sure to check out our favorite trails for viewing the fall colors.