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.
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.
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?