Alabama’s Oak Mountain State Park, Alaska’s Denali National Park, Arizona’s Coconino National Forest, Arkansas’ White River Hills, California’s Mammoth Lakes, Colorado’s San Isabel National Forest, Connecticut’s Haystack Mountain State Park, Delaware’s Killens Pond State Park, Florida’s Torreya State Park , Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Idaho’s Pend Oreille National Scenic Byway, Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park, Indiana’s National Road Heritage Trail, Iowa’s River Bluffs Scenic Byway, Kansas’ El Dorado State Park, Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park, Louisiana’s Chicot State Park, Maine’s Acadia National Park, Maryland’s St. Mary’s State Park, Massachusetts’ Mohawk Trail, Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Minnesota’s North Shore Scenic Drive, Mississippi’s Tishomingo State Park, Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest, Montana’s Glacier National Park, Nebraska’s Indian Cave State Park, Nevada’s Great Basin National Park, New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Scenic Byway, New Jersey’s High Point State Park, New Mexico’s Hyde Memorial State Park, New York’s Allegany State Park, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway, North Dakota’s Northern Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Oklahoma’s Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest, Rhode Island’s Lincoln Woods State Park, South Carolina’s Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway, South Dakota’s Union Grove State Park, Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National park, Texas’ Lost Maples State Natural Area, Utah’s Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Vermont’s Green Mountains, Virginia’s Prince William Forest Park, Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest, West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness, Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest, Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park.
Once you’ve selected the perfect destination—or better yet, once you’ve chosen a few destinations to visit this fall—most of the hard work is done. Just be sure to check with locals or online resources to make sure you arrive at the peak of fall color since it changes dramatically from region to region day by day.
When you’re finally on site, perhaps the most important piece of equipment you can carry is a polarizing filter. The polarizer’s ability to eliminate reflections, even from leaf surfaces, allows those vibrant colors to shine through the glare.
If you’re having trouble composing the perfect image highlighting bold orange, red and yellow hues, look for a few perspective advantages. If you’re in a mountainous area, getting up high can allow you to see large swaths of color—particularly poignant if you can contrast one stand of colorful yellow trees against another full of vibrant reds. Failing a height advantage, look for open water. Shooting across a lake or river provides open space to showcase those colors. And if all else fails, look to the road on which you traveled in. Open alleys in trees, from paths or even paved roads often offer an ideal opening along with a graphic compositional element when photographing large stands of colorful trees.