Thursday, October 20, 2011

Photographing Fall Foliage Close Up

[Photo: Gambel Oak fall foliage colors, Arizona]
Gambel Oak Leaf, Coconino National Forest, Arizona

To make an outstanding photo of tree leaves, especially in the fall, you don't need a really expensive camera and lens, or special filters or techniques. All you really need is your eyes, your brain, and your feet. 

Granted, this photograph was made with a fairly expensive DSLR camera, but all it did was to give me more control. I would have gone about this shot the same with with a point-and-shoot camera. 

This photo is engaging primarily because of its rainbow like range of colors. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue. But it also gives the feeling of depth,  of being there, even though you're looking at it on a flat screen. 

Why? Contrast. The leaf is in focus, while the background is blurry. Feeling of depth. The colors in the background contrast with the colors in the leaf. Also, I walked around until the sun lit up the leaf from behind. But in a position that it was not only backlit, but had the dark green of the conifer trees and the deep blue of the clear Arizona sky as the background.

I was close enough to the leaf, and the pine trees were far enough away, for them to be blurry no matter what lens aperture was used. All I needed was a lens aperture deep enough to have the entire leaf in focus. Or nearly all of it. 

You might also be interested in my Grand Canyon Photography blog.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

San Francisco Peaks Early Snow Panorama

[Photo: San Francisco Peaks panorama, Flagstaff, Arizona. Click on picture for larger version.]
Early October in northern Arizona. It's fall, and high elevation, so anything can happen, weather wise.

The weather had been Indian Summer perfect, if a bit warm during the day. No problem for us fall colors afictionados, because the nights had been chilly without a hard freeze. Plus plenty of sunshine during the day; after all, this is Arizona. Aspen trees are good with that as they feel their way toward winter. Leaves remain on, chlorophyll (the green stuff) going away to reveal the yellow stuff.

Then an early winter storm arrived. The snow in the high elevations was beautiful, as always. But it was weeks early, probably killing the aspen colors. They will probably just drop and call it a winter. We will see.

You might also be interested in my Grand Canyon Photography blog.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Snow, San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff

[Photo: Flagstaff, Arizona and the San Francisco Peaks.]
Last night in Flagstaff, Arizona it rained hard through the night while the temperature dropped. Not cold enough to snow yet, but it surely was up on the San Francisco Peaks north of town.

The forecast had been for rain and snow today, but morning instead brought mostly clear skies and splendid views of the Peaks. It stayed that way all day.

In late afternoon I made this photo from downtown, on the edge of Northern Arizona University. The Peaks always seem to look both taller and nearer when there is new snow on them. The lengthening shadows and clinging clouds helped, too.

I like the juxtaposition of the commercial signs, the deciduous trees with their leaves still green, against the backdrop of the mighty mountains.

You might also be interested in my Grand Canyon Photography blog.