Friday, December 01, 2006

Fall Photography Contest Winner

In 2006 the Sierra Sun newspaper in Truckee, California ran a Fall photo contest. Places were not awarded but I believe this was the only shot given a full page spread. It's an honor for me to do well in a Fall colors contest among local photographers in the Lake Tahoe area, given the wealth of shooting opportunities and the experience and local knowledge of the people living there.

This shot was taken on an outing to the Mono Lake area, not far from Yosemite's eastern entrance. I was in the Mill Creek drainage, which I had shot before, so I was looking for something different. This spring seemed like a great opportunity to put some motion and bring an element of time into the genre.

You can find basic Fall colors shooting tips in articles all over the Internet: use a polarizing filter to cut glare, underexpose by 1/3 stop to increase saturation, shoot at calm hours of the day, avoid mottled sunlight. What I never see mentioned, but you can notice in a high percentage of Fall colors still life shots (stop reading here if you don't want to notice soemthing quirky about these shots from now on) is that in photos, leaves have only fallen with the bright sides facing up! Surely gravity does not act differently in the Fall, but rather photographers eager to make their shots "just right" are at least arranging leaves, possibly collecting and carrying the best ones around and adding them to their shots. With a little searching you could probably find celebrity leaves, which make a cameo appearance in many different settings. This was one of my experiments with leaf arranging. In fact, I was collecting and carrying leaves for a few dozen yards before I finally found a good setting to photograph them in. To appease my own preference for realism I left a few token leaves "upside down," with their least colorful side up. It's realistic without being a simple stenographic copy of a time and place.