Local photographer Les Saucier’s tips to the casual photographer for getting a great fall shot are basically the same for any type of photography. Saucier finds that people most of the time just point and shoot, but it ends up being unclear exactly what is the subject. “If the viewer has to figure out what the subject is, they just go to the next image,” he said. But if the photographer can figure out what is “holding” their attention and “fill the frame,” the images will be a lot better, he said. Saucier said that nine times out of 10, when looking at images, the photographer also “just needs to get closer.”
Saucier has been a professional photographer for more than 30 years and a teacher of nature photography since 2006. Realizing that no matter where he lived, he returned to the mountains to photograph and teach Saucier became a permanent resident 20 years ago. He lives in Brevard with his wife, Janet Garrity Saucier. Saucier, who also has a master’s in field biology, teaches many of his photography workshops right in his “backyard.”
The best conditions, Saucier said, for taking fall shots are common, especially in Transylvania County.
“When it rains, that’s the best time to shoot fall photography,” he said. “The colors are more saturated and they just pop, especially if you are using a polarizer.”
For a novice photographer, Saucier recommends setting the camera to “program” and let the camera make all the decisions. He said the photographer should then go and find out what the camera “sees.” Saucier said he goes out to waterfalls and shoots at different shutter speeds or goes to an overlook and uses different aperture settings.
To capture the full impact of fall photography, particularly in western North Carolina, Saucier said the best color can first be found at high elevations, such as Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Other locations in Transylvania County where Saucier has had luck with fall photos include Yellow Gap Road, which i
s off U.S. 276 near the Pink Beds picnic area, and Headwaters Road, also off U.S. 276 and just before the Cradle of Forestry.
Saucier and his wife have recently released their first book together, “Mountain Blue, the Beauty and Grandeur of America’s Southern Appalachian Mountains.”