Autumn color gives the Rim Country a different glow.
Get out and enjoy what the area has to offer in this quieter, slightly slower paced time of year.
All you need to do is take a drive around town or up Highways 87 or 260 into the mountains to see how the season touches our part of the world.
In the older neighborhoods of Payson, where flourishing, non-native trees are planted in yards, you can see some really spectacular autumn colors. One of the neighborhoods to see is Payson Ranchos -- turn left on Airport Road, then right on McLane, any turn from Saddle Lane on will take you into the subdivision and a world of wonderful golds, yellows and reds.
A visit to the parks of Payson -- the Town Hall grounds, Green Valley Park and Rumsey Park -- will get you close enough to brilliant fall colors to take terrific photos.
On the road, a look up into any of the canyons coming down off the Rim will reveal another collection of colors. With the deciduous trees growing along the East Verde River and the creeks that feed it, you will find still more color -- wild grapevines become golden garlands in the evergreens -- accompanied by the wonderful sound of the water dancing over the boulders and river rock.
Autumn even gives a kaleidoscope of colors to the weeds and wildflowers add to the palette.
Frank Mulkern of Mulkern Photography in Payson shared the following tips for shooting the best fall photos:
- The best time to shoot is in the morning or afternoon when the sun is low and shining through the leaves rather than on them for the most intense color. "Shoot at an angle to the sun, using a lens shade. You can get a fairly close angle at this time, but watch for lens flare, which makes the lens seem foggy," he said.
- On an overcast day, you can shoot all day, but the colors will not be as intense.
- Don't just shoot wide angle shots, getting all the trees in one frame. After you have the wide shot, find a pretty tree and shoot that, then focus on a single leaf and fill the frame with it. "It takes a little work, hiking around, but it keeps your pictures from being boring," Mulkern said.
- Another good shot is to get up high and shoot down into a canyon, you will have the contrast of the evergreens and the colors.
- Photos of colorful leaves on dead pine needles are another neat picture.
"Contrasts with color and contrasts with light are what catches the eye," Mulkern said.
A few more photography tips for fall pictures can be found on the Internet at sites such as earthboundlight.com and gorp.away.com.
A suggestion from earthbound light.com:
Compose photos in such a way as to draw viewers into the pictures. For instance, if there is a road or fence, position yourself to have it in the foreground of the photo, leading the viewing into your picture.
Fall is not just leaves, it is the harvest, birds migrating, making preparations for winter ... all valid subjects, all potentially vivid.
There is a contest to enter your fall photos taken in the Tonto National Forest, "Share the Experience -- Official Federal Recreation Lands Photo Contest."
Prizes range from a Ford Escape Hybrid SUV and trip to a variety of cameras.
The contest ends Dec. 31, 2006. Complete details can be obtained at any ranger district office or any Federal recreation site; on the Web site www.sharetheexperience.org or write to National Park Foundation, 11 Dupont Circle, #600, Washington, D.C. 20036.