Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Local Fall Colors - part II

Fall is such a short, fleeting season in this part of the country.  Colors are changing constantly, and the tree that was in its full fall crimson splendor last week may be completely bare after a weekend storm with high winds.  This past Sunday, it was a beautiful fall day, and instead of staying inside, I went out for another photo shoot around my neighborhood while I still could.  These photos encompass the range of abstract and close-up perspectives that I have a strong affinity for, as well as the more familiar landscape scenes most people readily identify with.  Below are my favorites from this shoot that I hope you'll enjoy:

A Cascade of Color
Standing under the maple and looking out provides a somewhat unique perspective.  The bright afternoon sun provides backlighting while peeking directly through under some leaves. 

Sassafras Still Life
The bold, simple form of this distinctive sassafras leaf is emphasized by the dark background and adjacent cast shadow.

Scarlet Oak Abstract
The position and veining of the foreground leaves lead the viewer in, while the rich colors and varying shapes invite you to stay for a bit.

Norway Maple abstract
The small areas of negative space from the sky add some small islands of contrast from the brilliant yellow-orange sea of leaves.

Fall Color Continuum
The bare branches of adjacent trees allow the peaking foliage to play center stage for a few days.

Maple Network - from Below
A relatively large aperature (f/8) emphasizes the intricate branching patterns and leaf shapes of the closest layer while providing a sense of depth and keeping the higher branches from becoming a distraction.

Road with Fall Shadows
This was one of about 12 captures, in both portrait and landscape views, taken while walking down this two-lane dirt road.  I still haven't decided which is my favorite, but this is one of the best in a thumbnail shot.  It gives some emphasis to both the leaf-covered road and the trees above.

Photo specs and discussion:  With photography, sometimes trade-offs and compromises must be made, simply because of the inherent limitations of the camera sensor and physics itself.  This was shot in aperature mode and metered off of the middle-value trees.  This results in a sky (clouds) that are blown out but at least maintains appropriate color and value of the elements that are the focus of the image.  It is also at the widest angle (18mm) on the lens, which works very well for this portrait format (wide angle on the landscape intruduced adjacent telephone lines and other elements that detracted from the composition).  An ideal landscape photo, in addition to having a pleasing composition and good lighting, is also tack-sharp.  This photo is less than ideal in that regard because I did not bring my crummy tripod along.  This necessitated shooting at a wider aperature (f/11) to allow for a faster shutter speed that is necessary for hand-held shots.  This results in a limited depth of field along with the inevitable blur from movement.  One adjustment that would have helped would have been to change the ISO equivalent from 200 to 400.  Just like with standard film speeds, this would intruduce some noise, but the faster ISO may have resulted in the ability to stop down to  f/18 or f/20 at the same shutter speed and allow more of the distal areas to be in sharper focus.  I hope I remember this next time I'm out shooting in low light conditions without a tripod!

Maple Crown at Sunset
The beautiful pale purples harmonize with the deep burgundy-reds of the tree in the fading light.

Specs:  This was shot with a tripod from my back deck of the front yard maple.  Shutter speed was approximately 2 sec., and the caerma's 10-second shutter delay setting was used to further reduce any blur from manually depressing the shutter.  It was also cropped remove the roof, but could probably stand some additional cropping to remove a bit of the sky. 

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