17 Reasons the Best Adventure Travel Photography is in Autumn

Sep 05, 2023 BY AWE365 Team

Adventure travel is all about action sports, extreme experiences and outdoor activities. But you’ll want to get good pictures and videos of you being active. So in this article we explore 17 reasons why the best adventure travel photography is in autumn.

17 Reasons the Best Adventure Travel Photography is in Autumn Dolomite hiking holiday in Val Gardena autumn landscape

Why is Autumn Adventure Travel Photography the Best?

Summer vs Autumn Photography

Most people are couped up for much of the year, so we often focus all our attention on the summer months. Increased sunlight, better temperatures and perhaps a little more time off and it naturally becomes the season of choice for adventures, travelling and photographing.

What a mistake. If anything, summer is best avoided when doing more vigorous adventures; spring or autumn deliver cooler days, extending the time you’d want to be lugging your rucksack around or pushing those pedals.

Furthermore summer is more expensive time to travel, book accommodation and to get involved in extreme sports and other outdoor activities. Plus the light is often too strong for good photography. For the best adventure travel photography, autumn wins hands down.

Skogafoss waterfall during adventure holiday in Iceland

Best Adventure Travel Photography is in Autumn

Whether you use a compact travel camera, SLR or smartphone, here are our top 17 reasons to book autumn adventure travel for the best photos.


Beginner photographers make the mistake of thinking that bright light is good light. It’s not. What you end up with is too much light. This kills colours. When you’ve direct sunlight this pushes the contrast just that bit too far.

The great thing about autumn is that with less sunlight you’ll get light that’s more ‘soft’ and ‘diffused’. This is when colours can appear strongest to provide the most dramatic photos.

Vibrant Colours

Autumn is synonymous with the changing colours of leaves. The brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows create a natural tapestry that can make photographs pop. Add a mountain biker or kayaker to this rich tapestry and you’ve got drama and beauty in one.

17 Reasons the Best Adventure Travel Photography is in Autumn-MTB saalbach to leogang in Austria (1)

Longer Golden Hours

The quality of light during the golden hours (shortly after sunrise and just before sunset) is especially soft and warm in autumn. This lends a magical touch to photographs.

Drawn out Sunsets and Rises

In autumn the sun sinks and rises slowly. This gives you longer to catch a dramatic sunrise or set during your adventure holidays.

No Early Mornings (or Late Nights)

The sun rises later, there’s really no need for you to set an alarm for daft o’clock in the morning to catch dawn’s early light. It also sets earlier so you’ll be treated to the sultry sunset at a more reasonable hour. Meaning you can spend more time in your adventure accommodation!

Crisp Air

The clear, crisp air of autumn can result in sharper images. This is because there is less atmospheric distortion than the hazy days of summer.

Dynamic Weather

Autumn can bring a mixed bag of weather conditions. From sunny days to foggy mornings and dramatic rain clouds to early snowfall. This range of weather conditions means more varied and more dramatic shots.

17 Reasons the Best Adventure Travel Photography is in Autumn flickr image of sunset skydive by Latch.R

Fewer Tourists

One of the reasons why the best adventure travel photography is in autumn is that popular destinations see fewer tourists in the fall. This allows for cleaner shots without crowds, which is very useful if trying to capture a dramatic adventure shot that may take a few tries.

Layered Landscapes

The combination of evergreens with deciduous trees shedding their leaves can create beautiful layered landscape shots. This is particularly prevalent in the mountains where autumn comes at different altitudes at different times.

Texture and Depth

Fallen leaves, dewy mornings, and the play of light and shadow can add texture and depth to photographs. To capture anyone from a hiker to a paraglider this adds more drama to the adventure.


Autumn offers a mix of the tail end of summer and the beginning of winter. So you can take a a range of adventure travel photography across the seasons from the same location.


With less heat induced winds of the summer bodies of water are often calmer in the fall. A paddle boarder or kayaker reflected along with the fiery colours of autumn makes for breathtaking photos.

17 Reasons the Best Adventure Travel Photography is in Autumn pxhere royalty free image

Contrasting Elements

The juxtaposition of the warm coloured leaves against cooler blue sky or early snow is visually striking. Add a group of hikers, bikers or climbers and you’re onto a winner.

Mood and Atmosphere

The misty mornings, early sunsets, dramatic clouds and the general ambiance of autumn adds a moody and evocative atmosphere. If you can then capture white water rafting experiences, skydivers or kitesurfing your photos will scream action!

Natural Frames

Bare branches and fallen leaves can be used creatively to frame action sports. As can clouds, or dramatic changes in vegetation. This is one of the reasons why the best adventure travel photography is in autumn.

Dynamic Skies

Autumn often means a mix of cloud formations. From stormy to wispy they dramatically backdrop your photos of everything from sailing to surfing or cycling to skydiving.

Cool But Not Cold

The cold eats battery power. Adventure travel photography in winter means changing batteries more often than memory cards.

Kerid Volcanic Crater in Iceland autumn photography is the best

And in summer you’ll be changing lenses with sweaty hands which is never good. And then stuffing them away into a camera bag bloated with that water bottle you know shouldn’t be there…

We hope you found these 17 reasons why the best adventure travel photography is in autumn inspirational! Now check out these unknown adventure travel destinations to get some really unique photos.


Multi Activity, Overlanding
Autumn, photography

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