Fall Colors in Chicago and the Upper Midwest

Fall Colors in Chicago and the Upper Midwest

October is a really beautiful time to experience the American Midwest. Temperatures are cool and pleasant and weather is generally good as the area transitions from summer to winter. Landscapes burst with color as trees shed their leaves in advance of the cold.

Chicago has mostly yellows with some reds and late season greens scattered about. You’ll need to get farther north up into Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to find more of the deep, vibrant reds people love to see.

 

Chicago

I used a 5DIII and 50mm f1.0L lens for these shots. The focus of the 50mm f1.0L is razor thin, making this a frustrating lens to use at times. But when it shines, it really shines. Backgrounds are blurred into a swirl of bokeh and color, giving shots a unique dreamlike quality. This lens is thus a great choice for fall color photography so long as you’re not concerned with pixel-level sharpness.

 

Green on Red

Green on Red

 

Yellow leaves

Lots of yellows in Chicago right now

 

More yellows in Chicago

More yellows in Chicago

 

And some reds too

And some reds too

 

Red on yellow

Red on yellow

 

Yellow on green

Yellow on green

 

Halloween decorations

Halloween decorations

 

Spooky

Spooky

 

Fallen leaves

Fallen leaves

 

Leaves on a car

Leaves on a car

 

Street scene

Street scene

 

Looking up

Looking up

 

More yellow

More yellow

 

Colorful ground

Colorful ground

 

Bike

Bike

 

Tree branches against a cloudy sky

Tree branches against a cloudy sky

 

Beyond Chicago: The Upper Midwest

These were shot with a Mamiya 645 1000s medium format film camera. Films were Velvia 50, Velvia 100, and Provia 100F, slide films which really bring out the color and contrast of a scene (particularly Velvia). The look of film is very different from digital, as can be seen in these shots. Shooting with an 80mm f1.9 lens, I couldn’t get the dreamlike backgrounds of my Canon, but film is beautiful in its own right.

Which series of shots do you prefer?

 

Fall colors under a purple sky

Fall colors under a purple sky. St. Cloud, MN

 

St. Cloud, MN

St. Cloud, MN

 

St. Cloud, MN

St. Cloud, MN

 

Leaves on the ground in Minnesota

Leaves on the ground in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

 

Houghton, MI

Houghton, MI

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