Autumn Photography & Nature Journal Prompts

Autumn leaves and gray stones
Autumn leaves and gray stones. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Autumn photography and nature journal prompts can include plants, animals, closeup of leaves and many scenes that characterize the season. Looking for images to highlight the season, can become a scavenger hunt. Whether you call it a autumn photography subject or nature journal prompts, the ideas can be used for either project. Your nature journal is just the place to create a gallery of seasonal pictures. I hope these suggestions start your creative juices flowing. I’m showing off some of my best autumn nature photos. 

Autumn Photography and Nature Journal Prompts

  • things that are red or orange or gold
  • monochromatic gray scenes with a splash of color
  • shades of gray in the landscape
  • things that will soon disappear
  • patterns, circles, lines
  • moody photos that exemplifies autumn
  • pictures of light and shade
  • still-lifes of seasonal objects
  • the same place or object throughout the year in different seasons, weather, times of day
Autumn sunset
Autumn sunset. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Landscapes and Sky

  • look for mini-scenes not necessarily grand landscapes.
  • wide skies with colorful leaves below and blue sky above
  • empty landscapes
  • out of season places that are deserted of humans – playgrounds, waterfronts, seashores, and fairs

Water and Weather

  • autumn colors reflected on ponds or lakes
  • extreme weather of hurricanes, windy days, rain or snow
  • foggy, misty or hazy scenes such as a field

Times of Day

  • early morning frosts on leaves and flowers
  • early morning mists – as the sun rises and as the mist disappears
  • sunsets (use your cameras sunset mode or Aperture Priority set to f/8)
  • sunset reflections (look for surfaces that reflect the sun’s glow)

Harvest Time

  • berries and fruit glistening with dew
  • harvest time at farmers’ markets
  • Harvest time on farms
  • Start with photos of ripened crops still in the fields ready for harvest. Next photograph the crops being harvested. This could mean people picking crops to huge combines quickly gliding across acres of wheat. Finally, focus on the empty fields, hay bales or piles of harvested crops.
Autumn Joy Sedum with Insects
Autumn Joy Sedum with Insects. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Fall Foliage and Plants

  • colored leaves fallen in a rushing stream.
  • fall flowers blooming in brilliant color
  • a leaf-covered forest floor
  • color in the undergrowth
  • mushrooms and toadstools
  • pine cones, seed pods, and seed heads
  • mushroom and fungi that appear after fall rains
  • fallen trees – especially trees fallen due to hurricanes and storms
  • cut lumber – trees harvested to managed a forest
  • gardens – the growing season has ended and many plants will soon disappear
  • skeleton trees and bare branches silhouetted across the sky
  • single leaf


  • animals preparing for winter
  • migrating ducks and geese
  • migrating land birds and raptors
  • the last of the insects busily gathering nectar and pollen
  • migrating dragonflies and butterflies

Autumn in the Natural World

Autumn in the Natural World makes complex processes easy to understand, to the wonders of the autumn season. In easy to understand language the essential natural processes of the changing colors of leaves, why trees shed leaves, and how a pond can still freeze and still support life are explained. Learn the key star constellation which signals the end of summer and the growing season. Learn why the moon’s of autumn loom so large in the night sky.

Available in pdf and paperback starting at $5.99

Buy Direct from the author




More Autumn Information

Why Do Leaves Change Color? with a Video

Why Trees Shed Leaves in the Fall with a Video

Finding Fall Foliage — NANPA | North American Nature Photography Association


Here is a photo gallery of some of my autumn photos.  I used my advanced point-and-shoot cameras.  I use the cameras’ programmed settings. An overview of the settings I use is in the post, Autumn Nature Photography Tips.

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