Variations on a stream
Leaf and Rocks, Bridalveil Creek, Yosemite
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
In my November 4 post, I wrote at length about a recent morning spent photographing a single leaf I found plastered to a rock beside Bridalveil Creek in Yosemite (and my feelings about staged scenes). While my entire shoot that morning was all about one found leaf, it was just the latest in a long succession of focused visits to Bridalveil Creek. Each time I visit here the creek is different: In spring Bridalveil Creek spills into three distinct branches, each bulging with rushing snowmelt; most autumns, the creek has shrunk one branch, a trickle of its former self, decorated with yellow leaves; in winter the banks are lined with snow and ice crusts the surface. On each visit I usually choose a scene and work it to within an inch of its life. On this most recent morning I spent an hour photographing this one leaf, making sure I left no shot un-shot: Multiple lenses, a range of focal lengths, horizontal and vertical orientation, and a variety of perspectives.
Here are more samples:
Here’s the version of the leaf I featured in my November 4 post. I started with wider compositions and gradually moved to tighter frames like this one. (If I were one to arrange leaves in my scenes, I might have been tempted to place one about where the pine needle sits on the rock opposite the leaf.)
Here’s the same image rotated into a vertical. Whenever possible, I like to horizontal and vertical version of each scene I photography, but rarely do they come out identical because each orientation requires its own crop. But an advantage of photographing a scene from directly above is that there’s no top or bottom to the scene. To make the horizontal scene into a vertical, I could have rotated my camera 90 degrees and re-shot, but it was much easier to simply rotate the image in Photoshop.
Shortly after I started working on the scene, a breeze kicked up and deposited a green leaf right on top of the pine needle mentioned above. Not only was it a not particularly photogenic leaf, it was upside-down (clearly I need to work on my powers of telepathic manifestation). But rather than knock the rogue leaf into the creek, I included it in my composition, capturing several frames before the breeze returned and did the dirty work for me.