Capturing autumn from the ground with Jason East

The brightness of the colours in autumn truly inspire the need to capture their vibrancy against the dullness of trees that don't change. Pictures: JASON EAST.

By Mikayla van Loon

Autumn is a time for changing colours and the welcoming of cooler months, something that lends itself to beautiful photography.

Croydon photographer Jason East has been out and about exploring some of the wonders of the region and shared with the Star Mail what he looks for when capturing autumn.

“Spring and autumn are the two seasons that change the most. One is a new life and one is shedding off the old life,” he said.

“The colours in the leaves in autumn capture everyone’s attention. It’s just beautiful.”

Mr East said within a matter of days let alone weeks, the colour of the leaves and the number that have fallen can change rapidly, making it even more exciting to capture the season.

Whether it’s light or perspective, Mr East said it can have quite an effect on the way certain moments are captured on camera.

For him when out looking for subjects to photograph, Mr East said it’s all about framing the most interesting part and is perhaps not something most recognisable to the eye.

“The detail that I capture is different to what people are used to seeing,” he said.

“I like to shoot a little bit lower and look up at things which gives a slightly different perspective. Maybe it’s framing something smaller other than trees. Maybe there’s something else like a bridge. Maybe one random person that adds personality or a human element.”

By capturing movement even in the edge of frame, whether it be humans or animals, Mr East said it breaks up perhaps that one dimensional landscape image.

As someone who has primarily been a drone photographer, capturing the world from above, Mr East said it has been a learning curve for himself to drop down to ground level.

“The drone you can just point and shoot and then you can crop it from there, you don’t have to think a lot, compared to when you’ve got a land camera you’re thinking ‘what do I want to capture? Is it just that area or is there a figure? What do I want in the frame?’

“So the learning curve was huge. The drones are always fun because you can just fly around but being on the land, you’re a bit more locked into a location so you really have to choose where you want to go and what you want to shoot.”

Mr East said he has steered away from the drone during autumn because it loses some of the immense detail that is presented in these months, whether it be the falling of leaves or the golden light at sunrise or sunset.

While some photographers enjoy the ability to walk and shoot whatever grabs their attention, Mr East said he prefers to have a plan of where he is going and what he would like to capture.

Although the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges provide ample opportunities to photograph the wonders of autumn, making it hard to pick his favourites, Mr East said there are some stand out places in the region.

“My favourite one is the Alfred Nicholas Gardens. You can go to most gardens and it’s just a garden but there is a water feature and boathouse. It’s more than just the garden and the photographs are beautiful especially when it’s overcast and the trees are changing colours.

“Yarra Glen’s another good spot, it’s got lots of imported trees or exotic trees so they’re the ones that change the colours.

“A bit further along, I’m going to Noojee to catch the waterfall. With the rains that we’ve had over recent times it should be flowing nicely and I should get some good autumn shots up there. But even just the local councils around here have done a good job [in planting trees] so you don’t have to go too far to find the natural autumn colours changing.”