How are the Fall colors in your part of the world?

Have you been out and about to photograph the leaves/trees yet?

Is it too wet out to muck about in the forest?

Have you ever tried macro photography?

Well…have I got an idea for you!

It has been raining a lot in my world so I haven’t gotten out since I took my last photos for the 15-minute challenge. I also heard from others in our blog community that the colors aren’t really changing yet in many places. If you can find several single leaves right around you or even a small branch broken off from a tree with several leaves that are still alive, you can have some fun with them.

Go and watch this video by Ray Scott on Using One Drop of Water as a Compositional Tool. It’s very short and very inspiring…also doable for anyone I think!

Now, let me highlight some great photos from the video and applications for Fall leaves. You will notice that Ray’s photos are flowers. But this time of year, how cool would it be to use his tips with fall leaves? Here is what you can do:

  1. Go out and find a short branch with several fall colored leaves on it around where you live. If you have to, cut it off a tree…I won’t tell anyone if you don’t!  Bring it back and stick it either in a small jar of water or in some soil in a pot.
  2. Sit outside to get some natural light. If you have to, create a background behind the branch so there is nothing distracting your photo. But you might also want to just get in as close as you can and fill your frame with the leaf so you wouldn’t need a background or so that your background is blurry.
  3. Use an eye dropper to put a drop of water (glycerin would be even better) on one of the leaves that you want to photograph. Use a tripod if you need to steady yourself.
  4. Frame up what you visualize by using the drop itself as the focal point. Focus in on the drop and try different places for the drop to be in the frame to see what is most pleasing to you and most compelling.  If you are using a DSLR, try different f-stops (aperture settings) for different looks.  Also, change your point of view to being above or even slightly below but keep the drop as your focal point.  Take many photos so you can pick and choose the best ones!  If you are using an iPhone (mobile phone) camera, just try different positions and differing focal lengths from the subject until you capture something you really like.
  5. I would love to have you share your photos over on our Facebook group page so we can all see the beauty! Don’t be afraid to share…

Check out the following photos from which I took screen shots in the video to see the marvelous captures you can get!

In the first photo above, the drop is definitely the focal point on the left third of the grid, and there is a nice blurry background because it was shot at f-2.8, with a macro lens.  Ray shoots with a 100mm macro lens.  Please don’t think I want you to rush out and buy a new macro lens for your camera!  You can still play around with different lens that you already have.  I got interested in macro photography (taking close-up shots with a special lens often 3.5 or less, which is actually a bigger opening to let in more light!) early on in my camera adventure and didn’t get a macro lens until later.  I have a 35mm, 3.5 macro lens that I love to use to get those awesome blurry backgrounds.

In the second photo above, the f-stop was changed to f-11 to show more of “the story” or context of the flower and more that is in focus.  You might not like this because it takes some of that wow-factor away from the droplet.

In the third photo above, the focal point (droplet) was moved to the center and a mid f-stop of f-8 was tried.  You still have some of the context but the droplet is more of the focal point again.  Remember this is all to taste.  And if you use an iPhone camera, you won’t have much control over the f-stop setting.

In the fourth and final photo above, a different point of view was used from slightly below the droplet making it look like this is an insect’s view which is very interesting!  The droplet is still the focal point however and that is what you want.  You are trying to lead the viewer’s eye right to the droplet however you shoot the frame.

Aren’t the two photos above from the video marvelous photos of a simple drop of water?  They almost look like some sci-fi monster/object which I really like.  The difference between the two is that the focus is that the first one is focused more on the little threads coming up and the curve in the flower to the right of the drop (this almost makes it look like a cave!) and the second one is focused more on just the drop.  That’s why its fun to experiment and try different settings/compositions.

Now look at the first photo below which shows an even different spin on the composition using a second droplet.  But the focal point is still the drop on the left because it has such a peculiar silver caste to it drawing your eye there first…quite wonderful!  The second photo below is a teaser for you…because the droplet is refracting a flower behind the drop.  And because it refracts it, the flower is upside down. You can’t really tell that here, but if you tried to refract something else that definitely had a top and bottom, you would have to have that object be upside down behind the drop so it would be refracted correctly in the drop!  Cool, yeah? Check out this video by Ray Scott to learn more tips on refracting objects in drops of water.  Again this could be adapted to fall leaves, trees, and colors quite beautifully!

Don’t forget to post your photos on our Facebook group page.  I’d love to see what you are experimenting with.

Grandma and baby looking out a window

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