autumn

Autumn Photography: 5 Tips for Capturing the Best Photos of Fall

As summer starts to wind down and we embrace the cooler months, outdoor photographers tend to gear up. Autumn is arguably the favorite season for photographers due to ever-changing scenery, vibrant colors, and moody weather.

The Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PAC at NYFA) instills students with a passionate focus on the technical elements of photography. Below are some tips to help you enhance your landscape photography and really capture the fall weather. 

The “Golden Hour”

“Golden Hour,” the time of day when the low position of the sun during sunrise and sunset creates a soft glow that dramatically enhances the environment and gives a vibrant “pop” to surrounding colors, occurs all year round, but can be at its most striking during the fall. Getting up early or staying up late can make for some very vibrant landscape photography.

Overcast Days

Foggy and overcast, cloudy days create lighting conditions that may help you capture some interesting shots. Focus on areas such as lakes, rivers, woods, and streams–bright colors from the leaves of trees will help create separation from their darker, foggier surroundings. 

Composition

There are different ways that you can compose your photo, including the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. Let nature guide your framing by utilizing your surroundings of branches, leaves, and other trees to emphasize your main subject. 

Use Warm White Balance

White balance is how warm or cool the overall colors look in your photograph. When taking photos outside during the fall, we recommend you ignore the white balance presets on your camera–auto-white balance can neutralize colors, so avoid using the auto setting. To really bring out the fall colors in your photos, you’ll want to use a warm white balance. Increase the white balance to a warmer Kelvin temperature–try around 6,000 degrees–but be careful not to overdo it. A high Kelvin can make the photo appear to have an unnatural looking color cast. 

Circular Polarizer

A circular polarizer–also known as CPL–is a screw-in filter that goes in front of your lens. The benefit to using a CPL is that unwanted glare and reflections are reduced when photographing wet surfaces or in direct sunlight. A CPL can also enhance your landscape photography by adding more color and contrast. You can use a slower shutter speed when photographing a river or stream when you have a CPL with your camera. Make sure that you are using a neutral CPL to help enhance your fall photography.

How to Thrive at NYFA in the Fall: 4 Tips

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This fall, whether you’re a returning student or it’s your first year of studies, the autumn semester can be a wake-up call if unprepared. After months of summer vacation and (usually) a more laid back schedule, it can be a challenge to adjust and settle into a more demanding routine. Especially in NYFA’s immersive, hands-on programs, you may find yourself both exhilarated and surprised by the rigorous mix of energy, discipline, and practice that are your new normal.

A mixture of emotions sets in if you’re a student in the fall: the start of classes is exciting, but you might also feel nervous about classes, exams, teachers, scheduling, project work, and more. We’ve created a list of some ideas that can help you hit the ground running. You can rock your programs and make the most out of your time at NYFA. With the following tips, you’ll not only survive your fall semester at NYFA — you’ll thrive.

1. Make the Most of Your Time with NYFA’s Industry-Standard Technology and Premier Facilities

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From the very beginning, NYFA has followed the same principle: the best way to learn is by doing. That is why every program offers hands-on courses where you are fully immersed in your chosen craft while working on hands-on, experiential projects that involve new technologies. But to give you the best hands-on experience possible, you need access to modern equipment.

From industry-standard tools to cutting-edge software, NYFA’s premier facilities have everything you need to learn professional-level skills. Since there are very few schools out there with the same intensive focus on hands-on learning with such an impressive supply of cutting-edge tools and tech, why not get your hands on it as much as possible? Make sure to book yourself lab time. Ask your teachers all your questions about the equipment used in their classes. Research new ways to improve your technical knowledge and skills. We’re confident that students who take extra time to learn how to master today’s equipment are more likely to not only graduate, but to compete in the real world.

2. Keep Up-To-Date on Important Events Happening on Campus

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If there’s one thing you can expect during your fall program at NYFA, it’s for everything to get busy real quick. Whether you’re studying for an upcoming exam or getting together with fellow peers to nail down a project, it can be easy to lose track of important events happening on campus. We recommend you follow all of NYFA’s social media pages to learn about extra resources and special events going on that students from other schools dream of attending.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as our other social media channels.

And don’t forget to keep up with our incredible list of special guest speakers that frequently come by to help aspiring students. Previous speakers include Steven Spielberg, Al Pacino, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ron Howard, and Seth Rogen. Campus activities that bring students from different programs together are also valuable.

3. Learn From Your Phenomenal Teachers

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At NYFA this fall, you have access to one of the best teams of staff ever assembled. Our faculty boasts professionals that have extensive experience and are still professionally active in the field they teach. Our faculty includes working directors, producers, cinematographers, writers, photographers, and more. No matter what area of study you choose, you’ll have the best of the best to teach you the skills needed to create and compete in the industry of your choice.

And the best part? Our instructors are committed to training the next generation of creative professionals and have a genuine passion for it. If you bring your A-game and A-student attitude, your teachers will be able to help you grow immeasurably. Be sure to pay attention and utilize your time in class and on projects to the utmost, respecting your instructors and gleaning as much insight, knowledge, and mentorship as you can. Remember that your instructors are also professionals in your field, and are offering you a unique edge and insight into the world of visual and performing arts.

4. Don’t Forget to Stop and Smell the Pumpkin Spice

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Make no mistake about it — attending a visual and performing arts school can be a challenging experience, no matter the time of year. You’re in a new setting, possibly far away from home, and with a seemingly endless list of exams, projects, classes, and more to consider. But despite all this, most students come out of fall feeling satisfied and ready for more.

The key to this is focusing on your studies giving your all to your hands-on, intensive program experience this fall. You may make lifelong friendships and connections with other students. You will definitely learn new things. Don’t be afraid explore NYFA and your new campus. NYFA student life coordinators are always available to help get you involved in campus activities meant to offer fun learning experiences while you work toward your goals. With focus, hard work, and passion, your time at NYFA will be an experience that you will never forget.

Do you have any amazing tips on how to thrive during your studies at NYFA this fall? Let us know in the comments below!

A Filmmaker’s Favorite Things About Fall

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There are many reasons why people can’t wait for fall to arrive. Some of us love the holidays that autumn brings, while others are just glad for the crisp change in the weather that means they can finally open a window and ditch the sunscreen. There are many reasons why filmmakers are especially appreciative of this great season, besides the new releases. Here are a few of our favorite things about fall.

Gorgeous Scenery

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You don’t have to be a filmmaker to appreciate the beauty of nature when autumn arrives. There’s nothing quite like setting your sights on trees decorated with vibrant leaves. It’s only during this time that a regular lake or park now appears as though it were part of an oil painting.

As a filmmaker, one of your biggest tasks is finding great places to shoot your scenes. Attractive trees and leaf-covered ground can be perfect if you want your scenes to have a touch of natural beauty and color. Fall also tends to have cloudier skies and less sunlight, which works if you want your day scenes to appear gloomy and dusky.

Better Working Weather (Finally!)

It’s autumn, which means no more getting all sweaty only a few steps out of your front door. Obviously it depends where you live, but in most places summer is hot. Unless your profession has you indoors where the air conditioning is on full blast, summer is a tiring and uncomfortable season. And filmmakers are rarely able to enjoy central air.

It just so happens that making movies is a process that sometimes require spending a lot of time outdoors, depending on the film. And even indoors, the combination of sound recording needs and the energy burned by light equipment often raises temperatures. Working in high temperatures can provide a wide range of challenges to your production and crew, especially if you’d prefer if your cast of actors didn’t appear sweaty and flustered on screen. That’s why many filmmakers breathe a sigh of relief when fall comes around. Things cool down and allow for an enjoyable environment, which is why many filmmakers recommend scheduling these months for shooting. The crisp weather is just one of a filmmaker’s favorite things about fall.

Halloween

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Of all the major holidays in America, Christmas and Halloween are the most famous for completely transforming our homes and town for an entire month. As soon as October hits, you can expect to see pumpkins, scarecrows, spider webs, and other Halloween decorations up and ready to give someone a scare. Costumes, bags of candy, delicious baked goods, and creative jack o’lanterns are only few of the many reasons why many love this holiday.

Halloween also reminds us that we enjoy moderate levels of stress and anxiety. In other words, we like being scared when we know it’s for fun. That is why horror movies have remained one of the most successful genres in the industry, especially in the last few years. If you’re a fan of scary films and aspire to make one yourself, there’s no better time to plan it than during fall.

Film Festivals

Film festivals are when new and veteran filmmakers get to show off the project they’ve most recently spent their precious time developing. Whether it’s a major event with hundreds of film screening or a small town or college gathering, it’s always worth checking out what other filmmakers have been working on.

The good new is that excellent film festivals take place throughout the year, and fall is no exception. In fact, the season kicks off with arguably one of the biggest events of the year — the Toronto International Film Festival. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be something happening near you. Click here to see our comprehensive list of film festivals happening all over the world.

Cozy Movie Weather

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Filmmakers, just like everyone else, love watching movies. And while theaters are great, there’s something about curling up in your own bed or couch while watching a good flick that feels right. Benefits include eating snacks that aren’t overpriced, pausing the movie to hit the restroom, and more.

For whatever reason, the experience is even better when it’s cold outside but you’re nice and cozy under a warm blanket. Maybe you even have a hot beverage to sip on while your eyes are glued to the screen. If it’s raining or snowing outside and there’s a lit fireplace nearby, even better. Perfect movie-watching conditions? Definitely one of a filmmaker’s favorite things about fall.

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What are your favorite things about fall? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Fall Movies That Put You in the Autumn Mood

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Ah, fall movies. Along with colorful trees, crunchy leaves, and cooler weather, these are all signs that fall has arrived. From spooky decorations and pumpkin spice everything to finally wearing your favorite scarves and sweaters, autumn comes with plenty of perks. And what better way to usher in the seasonal change than with movies, whether catching new fall releases or revisiting some of the most beloved films with an autumn feeling?

Below we’ve listed some great movies we recommend watching for one simple reason: they remind us why we love this beautiful season.

“Dead Poets Society”

Starring the late Robin Williams, this classic film is perfect for the student just starting their fall semester and one of the most loved fall movies of all time. It has all the vibrant autumn foliage and uniform-wearing prep school students you could ask for.

The story, which earned writer Tom Schulman an Oscar, is about an English teacher who inspires his class to develop a love and appreciation for poetry. “Dead Poets Society” earned 19 awards and 18 nominations, including a BAFTA Film Award for Best Film.

“When Harry Met Sally…”

If fall colors and romantic comedies are your thing, look no further. This classic movie reeks of autumn thanks to moments in Central Park where rows of bright orange trees and fallen leaves decorate the scenes.

The film’s two stars, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, can also be seen with stylish blazers, hats, and other clothes perfect for fresh late ‘80s weather. It’s all things fall, nostalgia, and comfort. This movie tells the story of two very good friends who struggle through the age-old question: can men and women be friends, or will romance always get in the way?

“Rudy”

The University of Notre Dame is known for many things, one of which is its beautiful campus — and another is for that campus serving as this film’s setting. The campus itself is one of the reasons “Rudy” is a staple in the canon of fall movies. Few other places boast neo-Gothic architecture nestled between countless trees, which look spectacular when they change to their autumn colors.

“Rudy” gives you a fall vibe thanks to its autumnal college setting and underdog football story. This great film stars Sean Astin of “The Lord of the Rings” fame as student who dreams of playing college football despite being overlooked for his size.

“Good Will Hunting”

There are few cities as jaw-dropping as Boston in autumn. In fact, all it takes is one Google search of “Boston in the fall” to see how amazing the colors and scenery truly are. “Good Will Hunting” is set against this beautiful backdrop, making it an excellent film to get into the autumn spirit.

This acclaimed fall movie also stars Robin Williams (Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role) as a Harvard professor who takes a gifted student under his wing. It earned 22 wins and 53 award nominations, including a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay.

“Halloween” (1978)

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Arguably the most beloved holiday of this season is Halloween. This makes it the best time to curl up at home and watch spooky movies that leave you sleeping with the lights on. While these kinds of films have changed quite a bit in the last few decades, the success of the genre continues to prove that we all enjoy a scare from time to time.

While there are plenty of excellent horror films to consider, we recommend an unforgettable classic. 1978’s “Halloween” laid down the influential slasher formula that changed horror cinema forever.

“You’ve Got Mail”

Another romance film that takes place in New York City, which means the inevitable yet lovely scenes in Central Park. This film, directed by Nora Ephron, also features a story that begins in the vibrant season of fall before moving through every other season.

This Golden Globe-nominated movie is about two business rivals who hate each other in person but unwittingly fall for each other over the internet. It stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as the two main characters.

What are your favorite films to watch in the fall? Let us know in the comments below!