Being in an old quarry, most of the trees in the Elizabeth & Rowe Harding Nature Reserve near Ilston, are sheltered from the prevailing winds and tend to keep their leaves a bit longer as a result. I always find woodlands a challenge to photograph in, as the wider view tends to be very chaotic and difficult to distil down into one photograph. Normally a good photographic composition is more about what you leave out than what you include, but in the wider woodland setting it is difficult to exclude things. To counteract this I normally choose a more telephoto view to allow isolation of part of the woodland and then add a shallow depth of field to de-clutter the background. It doesn’t always work and is awkward to to as you have to look through the lens at all zoom settings with each possible framing to really see what the camera will see.
I spend a lot of time looking down or across when photographing, so I am trying to look up more. The sky was alternating between blue and white patches or grey clouds, so I waited for a blue patch to appear behind my chosen leaves ?to help with the colour contrast. Grey clouds just tended to flatten the image, but unfortunately my attempt ?to use a white background didn’t quite come off as I could never get a white cloud that would cover the whole frame. Without total coverage of the background in white, the non white part always became a distraction.
Macro is always great with autumn leaves, so I picked up a few and set up a macro studio on the arm rest of a bench. Even though there wasn’t much of a breeze, what little wind there was makes a big difference when dealing with such a high magnification and long exposure. As the leaf was slightly curved, I used an aperture of F29 to get as much depth of field at a reasonable shutter speed as possible. Even with this aperture the top left and bottom right corners are out of focus. The variation in colours and texture between the upper and underside of the leaf is quite stark on some of the leaves, giving you a large variation of options to photograph.