Fall color is such an in captivating subject! The shades of yellow, the shapes, textures and pattern just suck me in whenever I’m amongst it. The big, grand, sweeping landscape shot with splashes of color here and there is hard to pass up. But when I have the option to shoot at eye level with great color or the sweeping landscape, I go for the up close and personal every time. The problem is, shooting eye level with trees just ain’t easy! That’s why I like to haunt narrow canyons in the fall as the roads are often at eye level with the trees.
When I have this opportunity, what I look for is what I think of in my own mind in landscape photography as subtle surprises. These are shot with a D4 & 70-200VR2 with no post. The top photo is the weakest example, the bottom the strongest of what I’m talking about. I like to include trunks but being such strong, vertical lines, too much and that’s all the eye latches onto. The color and pattern might still be there but the mind’s eye has to force itself over to it. That’s why I like to find small windows through the leaves to small segments of trunks. And not just any trunk but interesting patterns, texture and light on the trunk. And when I find those little windows, the color contrast and break in the pattern with the leaves make the trunks an even more powerful element in the fall color. It’s really very simple, for the viewer of the image it’s just a subtle surprise.