Pre-October Fall Color 2014

Page 1:  Photos Up Through September 25

(Click here for Page 2)

Although most of my work is on film (find out why), here's a gallery of digital images.  Actually, these digital shots are really just a warm-up for the film.   They help me test cameras and lenses, but they also get me seeking out the scenes and compositions that I'd like to have on film.

In many areas of the USA, peak foliage season is sometime in October.  Late September is the early part of the season when most of the trees are still green.  This time presents a special challenge for the photographer.  Here are some photos that I took in late September of this year (2014).

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Early Hints


September 7, 2014
Nikon D5100 with AF-S 55-300mm VR
Vivid mode with further adjustments later

September 7, and I was already looking for autumn color.  Quite possibly, the color you see here was just the result of local drought, which can cause a few branches to change early and wither.  I still consider this to be a phase of early autumn, at least for photographic purposes.

The Nikon 55-300mm VR just keeps on impressing (review here).   It's the perfect lens for gleaning those patches of unusual color amid the surrounding foliage.  The bokeh is quite pleasing.  55mm is not exactly wide on a DX camera, but it's wide enough that this could be a walk-around lens.  Carry this and a 35mm f/1.8G for your Nikon DX camera, and you've got a highly versatile kit.  Or, just use the 18-55mm kit lens to round out your focal length selection.





One of the Earlier Trees to Change


September 22, 2014
Canon EOS 6D with EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro

This is a good example of a situation that calls for at least a mid-telephoto lens.  The leaves are too high off the ground to get a screen-filling picture with a wide angle lens. 

Why use the 100mm macro so often, when it doesn't even have image stabilization?

First, it has near L-lens quality but costs less than an L lens.  Because it's a prime, it doesn't encourage the laziness of "zoom composing".  (Want a better shot?  Move to a different vantage point.)
Furthermore, because it's a macro, you have that whole range of focal distances.

Finally, the Canon EOS 6D has such good high-ISO performance that you can easily use non-IS lenses without a problem.  Images are clean and sharp all the way up through ISO 6400, and ISO 12800 is really not bad.  (Get your EOS 6D body through this link and help keep my website on-line.  It doesn't add anything to your cost, and it allows me to keep bringing you helpful articles and reviews.)





Untitled


September 22, 2014
Canon EOS 6D with EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro
Auto ISO 640
f/3.2 @ 1/250th

The foliage on cloudy days won't have that vibrance, but the subdued does have a nice mood all its own.





Friends


September 23, 2014
Canon EOS 6D with EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro

Cropped to 8x10 aspect ratio.






Were a Tree to Become Sentient and Wave Hello


September 23, 2014
Canon SX50

Ah, the importance of good lighting and composition.  The version I shot with Velvia 50 was good, but I didn't leave enough background to accentuate the yellow tree.  Also, the better lens I used on the film camera didn't have any flare.  For this shot, the bridge camera wins.






Maple Sapling


September 23, 2014
Canon EOS 6D with EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

Other than resizing and watermarking, this was straight from camera.  Landscape mode, saturation at +4.
Normally I don't like wide-angle lenses for early-autumn photography, because it's hard to find leaves close enough to the ground that you can make them fill the picture.  This one worked because it was a sapling.







Autumn At The Woodline


September 23, 2014
Canon SX50
ISO 80
f/5.6 @ 1/50th (tripod)
40mm (223mm equivalent)

One thing I like about this scene is that the trees generally grade from most-changed to least-changed, the farther away you look.

This would have been a good candidate for that Nikon 55-300mm VR, which fits any of the crop-frame Nikon DSLR's (such as the D3300).  But the Canon SX50 was there instead, because it was easier to carry.







No Particular Reason, But It's Colorful


September 23, 2014
Canon SX50

There are some conditions in which a bridge camera will rival a DSLR for image quality.  Mostly, that's full daylight at low ISO.  Outside of those parameters, I'd be looking at an inexpensive DSLR such as the Canon Rebel T5 or Nikon D3300.  Even with one of these cameras, though, it's still helpful to have a bridge camera like the SX50 for outdoor photography.  It really rounds out the toolkit.  You'll find some scenes that are just too far away for any affordable lens you could get for a DSLR.  The bridge camera allows you to get a picture where otherwise you'd have none at all.







Tree-Covered Hillside In Last Light


September 23, 2014
Canon SX50

This photo would not have been practical with a DSLR;  it's a narrow band of trees that was very far away. 






Untitled


September 24, 2014
Canon EOS 6D with EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
JPG





A Moment of Stark Grandeur


September 25, 2014
Canon EOS 6D with EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
JPG
ISO 6400
f/3.2 @ 1/125th sec
Lightened;  some Curves adjustment

It's amazing how tough it can be to get a good composition involving a bunch of trees.  There are so many elements, and you have to try to get them to work together.

I did take a version of this on Fujichrome Velvia, but I'll probably want to get back to this spot in a few days to see if the leaves have better color.

For once, the digital managed to capture a bit of that unintentional surreality that film does so easily.  But the film is still my favorite.  Note to self:  I have a roll of heat-damaged Superia 400 that might be worth using on this scene.






Tree, Laterally


September 25, 2014
Canon EOS 6D with EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
JPG
ISO 160
f/5 @ 1/250th
Colors are straight-from-camera.


This was one of the most colorful maples I could find that day... and it was growing sideways.




Well, that's it for Page One of the Early Autumn gallery.  (Click here for Page Two.)  I have more autumn photos; soon I'll be getting a couple rolls of slide film back from the lab.  In the meantime, have fun out there chasing autumn color.

If you've found this website helpful or even just entertaining, please help me out by using the links to purchase any of your gear... cameras, lenses, tablet PC's, pretty much anything.  
Thinking of a Canon 6D?  (Awesome camera.)  Get yours through this link and it helps me keep this website going.

Thanks again for visiting my website!




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