Thursday, October 31, 2013


We spent the last few days in the Twin Cities visiting family.  The weather was not the best, with rain and fog and temperatures in the 40s.  Typical upper Midwest fall weather.  The good thing was that our hotel was located only about 1/2 mile from a large wildlife preserve on the Minnesota River (which flows into the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities area).  On our first full day, I took an hour or so to visit the preserve, despite the cold and fog.  I had a great time even though I didn't get much in the way of keepers.

The first shot I took was of a clump of trees located on land adjacent to our hotel that were still sporting their fall colors.  What got my attention were the trees' very dark bark and the fact that a stand of evergreen trees was serving as a backdrop for the subject trees, effectively creating a natural, uncluttered background.

I wanted to minimize the amount of gray sky in the image, so I cut off the tops of the trees to concentrate on the dark bark and fall colors.  My only regret here is that I should have included a bit more of the lighter colored lawn at the bottom of the shot, but there was an asphalt drive running behind the trees and I didn't want to include that in the shot.  Here I set my aperture at f/9 and focused on the tree trunks.  Because I was so close to the trees, the background evergreens were out of focus, which helped to make the dark trunks "pop" a bit more.  Overall I was pretty happy with the composition.

At the wildlife preserve I spent my time along a trail on a bluff overlooking the marsh area adjacent to the river.  A little fog might have helped to create some depth, but on this occasion the fog was quite thick, nearly completely obscuring the distant marsh and river areas.  However, the fog did help to isolate the trees on the bluff.  Here are a couple of shots that featured those trees.

I liked the bare tree in the first of these shots, but it would have helped to have a bit more definition in the distant marsh area.  In the second shot I was able to pull out more of the background in post processing.  

As long as I was shooting bare-limbed trees, I took a few shots of a dead tree. 

Here I set the aperture on f/4 and focused on the dead tree.  My thought was that the leafed tree could provide some context for the overall composition.  I wish that the two brown leaves on the dead tree (which may not have been dead if it was still sporting leaves) could have played a bigger role.  They're sort of lost next to the living tree.

The trail, which was broad and paved, wound through a nice stand of trees that had been allowed to remain in a natural state, with a combination of both living and dead trees.  The fog helped to create a grey atmosphere with just a hint of mystery.

Finally, on our second full day we spent some time on the U of Minnesota campus and I had a little time to look for things to shoot.  Here is another tree that featured fall colors that contrasted with the tree's dark bark.

Again, I took the shot at fairly close range and with the camera set at f/4.  Here my interest was focused on the tree's dark trunk and limbs, and I was interested in the foliage primarily to provide color and to obscure any clutter in the background.  I intentionally kept the overall exposure on the light side to place greater emphasis on the dark bark.


1 comment:

  1. John, it still amazes me how you can take a smiple object and bring out the fine detail and beauty