Tuesday, November 17, 2015


One evening during our most recent visit to the Twin Cities, I spotted a line of birches off the road that were backed by darker foliage.  The light was on the wane and the cloudy conditions muted any contrast between the birch and the darker background.  But I did grab a few shots before the light failed.

I modified this first image to soften portions of the foliage without sacrificing some of the sharper lines that the birch were creating.

I thought the effect was interesting, but the overall image somehow projects the feel of a movie set that is supposed to be outdoors but it is obvious to our modern eye that the set is indoors and the background is nothing more than a photograph.

Here's a second shot that I converted to a black & white.

Initially, I cropped out the grass along the bottom of the image but then decided that the grass served to "ground" the composition and to balance the lighter branches in the upper portion of the image.

Finally, here are two additional nearly identical shots.

In the first shot I darkened the background a bit more to accentuate the white bark of the birch trunks.  In the second shot I decided to reveal more the tangle of minor branches in the lower portion of the image.  In both of these shots I softened the background while keeping the birch branches relatively sharp.

For the record, these were all shot at an aperture of f/4 and an ISO of 500.  I underexposed the photos 1 f-stop, resulting in a shutter speed of 1/160 second.


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