Saturday, October 31, 2009

Autumn Leaves -- Clinging to Life

One of my neighbours a couple of blocks away has a beautiful Maple tree in his front yard. Every time I drove by in the last week or so I remarked to myself that I really needed to try to capture the amazing pastoral scene ....

Of course, a tree like that in the middle of a field on a sunny day could make for an award-winning image, while a shot of someone's front yard on a cloudy day (that's about all we've had for weeks) makes for a documentary image. *sigh* ...

Still, worth a shot. I popped over at lunch one day last week for a few minutes, carrying the big lenses (Nikon 300mm F4 AFS and Tamron 180mm F3.5 MACRO) and my little Fuji F70EXR. The first thing I did was set up the tripod on a sidewalk across from his side yard (he lives on a corner, which helps with angles.) Obviously, I had to avoid too much clutter and preferably take the car parked across the street out of the equation.

I set the F70EXR first to about 180 then 270 and chose to shoot the Tamron. 300mm would be simply too much. I was able, however, to also capture some nice images with the Fuji compact.

I started with this shot from the Fuji ... it shows the traditional weakness of small sensor cameras, the inability to isolate your subject ... the Blue Spruce across the street is just as sharp as the wonderful Maple. But at least you can see what I was working with.


I was able to isolate the hanging part of the tree without a too-distracting background.


And to show the lawn, which was perfectly blanketed by lovely leaves ...


I then switched to the D300 and the Tamron for a while ... here, I show the front yard without including the neighbour's yard as a sharp detail ...


A better angle for the Tamron ...


An isolation shot of the tree and its lower branches ...


A detail shot of one sprig with the rest of the tree thrown completely out of focus ... this is why I love dSLR shooting ...


At this point, I'd had my fill of the tree itself and decided to turn my attention to the leaves on the ground. Any leaf that was upside down was covered with beautiful, evenly-spaced, large water droplets. Really, really pretty.

My Feisol 3471 tripod can lay almost flat and allow the cam to point straight down ... for some reason, I forgot to capture that interesting detail shot. Another time, I suppose.

Meanwhile, I started shooting the leaves individually and in small groups.




I also captured the leaves with the Fuji F70EXR, which means hand holding the cam right above the leaves when shot wide or about 3 feet away on full tele ...




Obviously, I was enamored with the water droplets ... but I also love the details in the leaves.



This last shot is incredibly sharp ... so I thought I'd see what sort of detail I could extract with Topaz Adjust 3 ...


And I was done ... but before leaving, I grabbed a couple of images around that rock in the yard with the Fuji ... I thought these were kind of nice ...



The snow will arrive soon here, but I appreciate the Maple tree's ability to hang on very late into the season ... it means we have lovely colors around the neighbourhood right up until the snow gives us a completely different look ...

7 comments:

crazy football mom said...

Very nice...I love trees & leaves myself. Good pics!

Kim Letkeman said...

Thanks Gaye ... this tree must be seen to be believed ... it utterly defines what makes Autumn so special.

Lili said...

lovely colors, interesting to compare the 'draw' of the small sensor and DSLR.
BTW bravo for getting your F70EXR back.
Today my cold finally left and I was able to get out and shoot some, with my Pentax.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/colette_noir/4066038566/in/set-72157617816169884/

Alastair said...

Kim, just read your article and noticed your comment on isolating the tree from the background - have you tried Pro Focus on the F70 to isolate your subject?

Kim Letkeman said...

Alastair, I suppose I could have tried pro-focus mode, but it has been my experience that it works best with smooth-edged objects ... and a tree is not that ...

Alastair said...

Kim, I haven't seen any results from the Pro Focus mode on the F70 so I wasn't aware of this, I was just going by what it says in the manual and the advertising blurb.

Did you get a shot of this tree with Pro Focus mode just for comparison - I realise it won't be as good as the DSLR (I have a Nikon D80 myself) just interested in what it would look like. I think I will experiment with Pro Focus myself, when I get a moment!

Kim Letkeman said...

No shot of the tree ... but in a few of my early posts on the F70EXR, I demonstrated pro focus mode. Poke around in the August posts ...