The Beauty of Red Leaves
Autumn with pleasant weather is the perfect season to go hiking. For photo lovers, the beautiful scene of falling leaves after a cool breeze is a gift of nature. The shooting tips below can help you capture the beauty of red leaves in various scenic spots in Hong Kong with a touch of creativity.
Introduction of Photographic Techniques
Backlit ShotsShooting with a front lighting is probably the safest way to ensure a clear capture of the colors and shapes of leaves. This can reproduce vivid and bright colors, but the photo will be lack of depth and look boring. We can try to shoot from another angle with a backlighting. When sunlight shines through the leaves, the patterns on the surface will become clear. And the light halo surrounding the contours of leaves will add a lively mood to the image. We can attach a lens hood to reduce flare in backlit scene when taking this kind of images.
Use of Bokeh to Separate the Leaves from the BackgroundWhile the waving red leaves in the wind is a beautiful scene that attracts the camera, leaves fallen on the ground can also make good photographic subjects. We can shoot with a large aperture for an extremely shallow depth of field to make the leaves stand out from the busy background, leading the eyes of views to the leaves’ details and texture. This can result in photos with a prominent subject and a touch of romance.
Include the Environment in the CompositionIf there are lakes and rivers nearby, we can use a wide-angle lens such as EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM for a wide capture of the red leaves in their surrounding environment to enrich the composition. Take the below photo as an example. The photographer took a photo of the mountain scenery covered with red leaves using a wide-angle lens. The flowing water appeared like a smooth piece of silk with the use of a slow speed shutter and small aperture, adding a nice dynamic touch to the photo. When shooting with a slow speed shutter in the daytime, over-exposure may occur. In addition to using a smaller aperture, we can also attach a ND filter to reduce the amount of light entering the lens.
Popular Shooting LocationsThe commonly seen red leaves in Hong Kong come from sweet gum trees, which is a different species from maple tree. However, the two kinds of leaves have similar shapes and will both turn red in the autumn season. Stepping into November, red leaves can be seen in various countryside locations in Hong Kong. The most popular shooting places are mainly located in the New Territories. Why not grab your camera and set off for a hike in the beautiful weather of autumn?
A. Tai Tong, Yuen LongTai Tong in Yuen Long is for sure the number one place to take photos of red leaves in Hong Kong, as the sweet gum trees here are densely grown with some low-growing trees suitable for appreciation and photo-taking at close range. On the way to the main trail, we can also see some sweet gum trees on both sides of the roads. Make your way to the Tai Tong Shan Road at the intersection point of Tai Tong Shan Road and Tai Lam Nature Trail and you can see spectacular view of densely grown sweet gum trees in vivid colors. Apart from photographing red leaves in Tai Tong, you can also enjoy barbeque inside the country park or at one of the nearby barbeque sites.
Method 1: Take MTR Bus Route K66 at Long Ping West Rail Station
Method 2: Take red minibus at Hung Min Court in Yuen Long and get off at Tai Tong Shan Road
Method 3: Driving, but parking spaces are limited
B. Tsing Yi ParkThe red leave trees in Tsing Yi Park are mainly sabino. This species of tree has an upright and big crown and tiny leaves in the shape of feather – the reason why it contains the word “feather” in its Chinese name. Although sabino leaves do not have the shape of palm like the leaves of maple or sweet gum trees, sabino leaves will turn from green to yellow and dark reddish brown before they fall off in autumn. Tsing Yi Park occupies a large area. We can enjoy a beautiful view of sabino trees in a row from the lookout point across the artificial lake. This is good for panorama shooting.
Take exit B at Tsing Yi MTR Station and walk for 5 to 10 minutes.
C. The Chinese University of Hong KongAt the secluded Weiyuan Lake at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, we can see both sweet gum and sabino trees around the lake. The lake is just a several minutes walk from University MTR Station. Along the walking path round the lake, namely the Philosophy Path, sweet gum and sabino trees are planted on either side of the lake. In late autumn, the leaves will all turn orangeish red. When a cool breeze blows by, the leaves fall off from the trees and scatter everywhere. This is a relaxing place where you can enjoy the natural scenery and a rich cultural atmosphere. It will make a good photo to include the lake in your composition.
Take exit A at University MTR Station and walk past the sports ground along the path.
D. Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical GardensFor those who do not want to go to the countryside for red leave photos, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens at Central is a convenient place to go. There is an Avenue of Sweet Gum where we can see many old sweet gum trees on both sides. These trees have strong trunks with deep lines and patterns, like a man who has gone through all the vicissitudes of life. When the yellow leaves start turning vivid red, the falling leaves will cover the path and turn it into a beautiful red leaves corridor.
Take exit A at Central MTR Station. Take Citybus Route 12 at Exchange Square Bus Terminus and get off at Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.