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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