Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Different Takes on Autumn Leaves

As I wrote earlier in the season, I've tried to avoid taking the same autumn leaf pictures that I (and many other) photographers take each and every year. For example, I used the kit zoom on my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 to add some motion blur to shots that would otherwise have been quite static. I made threes separate posts about that:
(Click Here) to see my first post on leaves in motion.
(Click Here) to see where I developed the concept a little further, with a set that make me feel like I'm being pulled through the treetops up into the clouds.
And finally, (Click Here) to see my favorite of the series, where I attempted to get the best combination of detail in the leaves, blur from camera motion, and color.
Well, today's images take a less drastic departure from "normal" fall color photography, but I hope still show something a little unique. As in all three posts above, I shot these with the DMC-GX7 and the much-improved 14-42mm Series II kit lens.
On my way to have lunch with my lovely wife, I looked to the side of the road and saw this tree. The most important element that drew me to photograph it was not the tree, however, it was the way the leaves on the ground appeared. Because the ground slopes upward behind the tree, the fallen leaves provided a partial background for the image.
Ground As Background, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix Aspheric 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Series II Lens at 14mm
iso 200, f8, 1/125 sec.
I like the shot above, but it's quite conventional, other than the ground sloping up. Looking for a different perspective, I used the rotatable finder on the GX7 to get down low. I took several shots that way, but nothing that really looked different to me. Finally, I started playing with selective focus from the low angle. Here's an example of what I came up with:
Drawn to the Front, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix Aspheric 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Series II Lens at 24mm
iso 200, f8, 1/125 sec.
This shot has only a narrow band of leaves at the very bottom of the image in focus. Personally, I like how it sort of asks a question of the viewer. At first glance, it just looks like a blurry picture of a tree, and at that point, some may stop looking. Looking closer however shows that the leaves at the bottom are perfectly sharp. This draws the attention to the leaves on the ground, which were the element that drew me to the scene in the first place. The tree itself takes on only secondary importance. One could argue about which image is more "pretty," if either fit that bill; I can say that the second shot better communicates how I felt about the scene.