Another new addition to the portfolio. This photo was taken near peak color this fall. This is a personal favorite because it was shot at a local favorite of mine… Lake Johnson Park. Yes, a city park. No airplanes, trains, or massive road trips required. Simply an early alarm and a short drive down the road. It was even taken within 100 yards of the parking area. The resulting image was worth the early wake up call on a Wednesday morning.
My eye reads this image from left to right in a circular motion. First focusing on the bright tree trunk on the left. It then follows the canopy along the top edge towards the right, follows a trunk down and into the reflection, follows the canopy reflection along the bottom edge back to the edge of the lake. It then goes right stopping on the vibrant green tree towards the center.
I broke down the background of the last two shared photos into seven sections, and the response was impressive. For that reason I’m going to continue the trend.
Research: The research behind this one was absolutely non-existent. I’ve known of the park for well over 10 years, and was actually on site trying to capture another image. The park is widely known and visited, so there isn’t any secret to this location.
Fieldwork: Waited around to see what came of the day. The sky was mostly clear and the light was good. This meant one only had to keep their eyes pealed and the tripod moving.
Experience: The sky was clear, and the light was coming from the side. The composition was set so the edge of the lake was higher in the frame and the sky was completely moved from the frame (including it’s reflection). That meant the focus was going to be on the fall color. The edge of the lake was set high because the reflection added a more interesting element to the image than the actual trees. The sky was avoided because there were no clouds to include, and doing so kept the dynamic range under control.
Gear: Tripod (Manfrotto 055XPROB), ballhead (Vanguard SBH-100), cable release ($15 amazon off brand), bubble level ($3 amazon purchase), telephoto lens (Canon 24-105 f/4L), camera (Canon 6D). The mid-range telephoto lens allowed for the image to be capture from the other side of the lake.
Knowing your gear: 10x Live view was used to obtain critical focus. F/8 was chosen for max sharpness since depth of field was not an issue. ISO 100 was used to capture the cleanest image possible. There was virtually no wind, so a 0.8 second exposure was enough to smooth out the water. The bubble level insured a level photo. Live view acted as a mirror lockup, allowed for reviewing the composition (originally set in viewfinder), and allowed for reviewing of the histogram. Focus was set on the edge of the lake. The cable release triggered the shutter. Bracketing was done, but not utilized for the final image.
Luck: Clear skies and a low sun provided great side lighting. This was around the time of peak color. A week later and the color had mostly fallen from the trees. There was a bit of mist on the lake which adds a dreamy effect to the center of the image.
Post-Production: Processed originally using Lightroom 4, with additional spots (leaves on the water) removed using Lightroom 5 (Software was merely upgraded between the initial edit and this post. The spot removal tool from LR4 would have been sufficient since content aware wasn’t utilized). No presets or plug-ins were used. Just an effort to keep it looking natural since what came out of the camera was “clean.” Again, the post production took a good image and helped make it pop. Not more than 10 minutes was spent in post.