October 22, 2009 – A Bit of Color

A bit of color

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hey everyone! It’s still fall out there, so here’s a bit more color for ya. Taking pictures of good fall color is harder than it should be, or at least it seems that way to me. It’s so beautiful to just look at, so my gut instinct is that it should just naturally make for an effortless great picture. But it never quite seems to work out that way.

You of course need to decide what kind of role the leaves are going to play in the picture. Are they going to be the subject? Or are they going to just help set the scene? Are you going to try to emphasize the leaves themselves? Or focus more on the tree (or bush.. or whatever) as a whole? The amount of detail in a tree that’s changing for the season is both a blessing and a curse. There’s a lot of interesting stuff to look at, but it’s way too easy for that to end up just adding too much chaos and complexity to the picture. That just ends up leaving my eye confused. It’s a fine line between having that much detail enhance a picture, and having it just give the person looking a headache.

This picture is obviously going the “color as subject” route. I keep walking around and seeing individual leaves that are just astoundingly beautiful, with sometimes 3 or 4 distinct colors. There’s got to be SOME way of turning that into a great picture, but it never quite turns out the way I want it to. It’s hard to have it tell a story, instead of just saying “oh, yeah, there was this leaf there.” I guess what I’m trying to get at is, it’s hard to present it all such that the viewer’s eye is definitively drawn to a distinct subject, instead of just perceiving the photo as a jumble of lines and colors that aren’t really coherent. I’ve seen some really fantastic examples, and every time I do, it just seems like it should be so easy. When I wrote that last sentence, I was visualizing this picture that my friend Nina took, it’s got this brilliant red leaf all alone on a bunch of gravel. So simple, yet so maddeningly hard to capture. I’ll try to track down a link to it, you really should see it.

Not really applicable to this picture in particular, but I also have trouble when I try to capture a really pretty tree when I see one. When I do see one, it instantly just puts me in that fall state of mind, which I love. So I try to capture that in pictures, I want a picture that recreates that mood. But I almost always just end up with either a shot that contains a pretty tree along with a bunch of boring ordinary stuff like power lines and/or buildings, or I get a shot looking up at a tree, which when I look at it, makes me say “yup, looking up at a tree”, but it doesn’t put me in the mood like I’m looking for.

Man, I’m afraid to go back and read all that crap I just wrote. I honestly don’t even know if I used complete sentences or not. I’m running on 2 hours of sleep here, and I was interrupted twice. Meh, maybe it makes sense, maybe not. The sheer number of words I used sure looks impressive, so I’m sticking with what I got. See you all tomorrow!

Details: Canon EOS Rebel T1i. Tamron 28-75 mm lens. 1/200s, f3.5, ISO 100. Focal length: 68 mm.

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One Comment

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    Marie June 4, 2010

    this leaves are really beautiful, the shape and colors

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