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Photo of the Year

I did not get out with the camera this year as much as I normally do. When I did, however, I had good results. My favorite image comes from the first few days of November and was taken close to home. I was looking for Fall colors and found them in an unexpected place, a small pasture hidden behind a group of large boulders. I saw a wee bit of red leaf peeking up over one of the rocks and thought, “I wonder what’s back there.” When I saw the entire scene, I was captivated.

I took several shots, managing to keep the cows out of most of them. I’m all for ambiance, but wanted this image to elevate the tree and colors. The fewer distractions the better. Late afternoon, a setting sun, a bit of shadow, and there you have it. This serendipity is what keeps photographers in the game, sort of like that one good shot that will keep a not so good golfer coming back for more.

In post-processing, I decided to experiment with a mystical look. Increasing contrast and saturation along with a touch of soft focus did the trick. The tree takes on an eerie persona and the background takes on depth, lending a Thomas Kincaid-like result. It seemed to fit the mood of the day and the season.

I also like this shot, in which the tree is truly the star of the show. Lacking the full color display of the other image, it isn’t as lush and full. But the way the tree reaches for the sky, something we don’t see in the first image, and the golden leaves at the end of its reach seem to shout, “I’m not done yet!”

One of the things I like about getting out is viewing the same scene in different light or different seasons. We are almost two months later into the year now and the landscape shows it. We’ve had the first couple of small snows and the air has turned colder. Days are shorter now, the colors are gone, and the trees are bare, but we know that Spring is coming. I will be back to this spot then, looking for the lush greens that signal new life.

If you want to see more of my photography, visit my SmugMug page and hit the Browse link.

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