Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Last Leaf, Five Views

I was already going to call this series of photos "the last leaf" - because that's exactly what it was for this particular group of trees - when I was informed that there's an O. Henry short story by that name. It is one that I hadn't read, but I have now, and it seems very apropos.  I can only hope that some of the poignancy of the story is mirrored in the photographs.

In typical fashion, I was "captured" by the sight of this hanger-on as soon as I spotted it, but had to explore positions and angles to try to find the effect I was imagining.

I knew right away that I wanted to feature the contrasting blues and yellows in the background.

Generally, when photographing a relatively flat subject (though this leaf was actually quite curled in its dry afterlife) and wishing to separate it from its background, a good strategy is to align the plane of the subject with the camera sensor and open the lens wide for a shallow depth of field.  This can render the subject sharp and the rest of the scene blurred.  However...

...after working the scene for a while, I decided that potentially the most powerful aspect of the subject was the kind of dancing character that appeared when the leaf was viewed from a bit of an angle.  The gradual softening of focus from the nearest part of the leaf to the furthest also adds a sense of motion that I like.  So, my final take: Last Dancing Leaf.

[all photos, Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8 L IS macro]


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