Many foreigners, and western in particular, have a mental image of Moscow as a drab, grey city. This comes from years of movies where the Russian capital was portrayed as such, especially during the cold war years. But in reality Moscow is a very green city, with over 40 percent of its territory consisting of parks, gardens and forests. For each Muscovite there are about 16 square meters of greenery. As a comparison, for a New Yorker there’re about 8,6, for a Londoner or a Parisian – 7,5. Moscow has almost 50 parks and forests, and more than 700 public gardens and boulevards.
Muscovites (and most Russians in general) will tell you that the worst season to visit their city – and their country – is the fall. This is because it tends to be a rainy season, rather cold, but without the wintery magic of everything covered in snow. This is actually largely true, but, as the saying goes: “no pain, no gain” and enduring days of rain, dull skies and overall pretty miserable weather is the price you have to pay to experience the absolute beauty of Moscow’s parks in the autumn when the weather plays nice for a day or two. Starting from late September and especially in the first half of October the leaves of most trees turn into a warm golden yellow. Back in 2014 the National Geographic named Moscow as one of the 10 best places in the world to see autumn leaves! So my travel tip is to be bold and brave and “dare” to come to Russia in the fall to see spectacular autumn foliage and a huge number of people “flocking” to parks in the cities or to the countryside to enjoy the nature “one last time before winter”.
I shot the feature picture of today’s article in Moscow’s “Botanichesky Sad” or Tsytsin Main Moscow Botanical Garden of Academy of Sciences, a very nice park just a couple of minutes walk away from Vladykino Station of the Moscow Metro.
Autumn leaves make a fantastic backdrop or natural frame for your subject, but no matter how careful you are in positioning your model, camera and flash, they are certain to cast some shadows on your subject. Sometimes they are nice, like the ones on the grey overcoat, which, I feel, give the image dimensions and feel natural. Other will fall on unwanted parts of the image, such as the model’s face. I found that the best way to get rid of those is through the use of luminosity masks in Photoshop.
If you are new to the concept (or the use) of luminosity masks, a great way to start is with Greg Benz’s FREE luminosity masking panel for Photoshop. And, if you can spare a quarter of an hour to learn something new, here’a great video by Greg Benz on how to remove unwanted shadows in Photoshop.
Full disclosure: this blog is not sponsored nor even endorsed by Greg Benz. A while ago I bought Lumenzia at full price, because I like it and it helps me a great deal with my pictures. I am not against sponsorships, I just don’t get any (yet) so I write what I really think, without any external pressure. 🙂
I apologise for my long absence from the blog (over two weeks without a post). It’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks. The chaos is not over, yet, but I will try to get back to regular posting. Thank you, as always, for your likes and shares of my posts!
Would you like to take part in a photowalk or a photo tour of Moscow or any other Russian destination with an English (and Italian, Spanish and French) speaking photographer (me) showing you the sights, the best time and viewpoint(s) to capture them in your images and helping you improve your photo technique with practical tips? If so, do get in touch and we’ll be happy to create an unforgettable, tailor-made experience for you!