I had been waiting for weeks for some indication that autumn had finally arrived, but those signs just weren’t appearing. Although the calendar said it was autumn, it certainly didn’t seem like it. Except for a couple of cooler nights, the temperatures were still relatively warm, and the leaves were still mostly green. Certainly not what one would expect when it is the middle of November and not the best conditions for fantastic fall color. I had resigned myself to the disappointing possibility that the leaves were going to just turn brown and fall off the trees, and I was going to have to wait for another chance next year.
As I was driving around running my weekly errands earlier today, I spotted these incredible maple leaves. I didn’t have my camera with me, so I quickly finished what I needed to get done, rushed home to get my equipment, and went back to where I had seen the leaves.
I had three challenges to deal with to get this picture. The first one was the cloudy sky, which, while providing for soft, even lighting, would also appear as a featureless, white expanse if it was included in the image. The second challenge was the very unphotogenic background consisting of a busy highway, houses, and commercial buildings. Both of these challenges were easily overcome by zooming in and filling the frame with the leaves.
The third challenge was the wind. To handle this, I needed a relatively fast shutter speed to freeze any movement in the leaves and a small enough aperture to ensure adequate depth of field. To get the shutter speed and aperture I needed, though, it was necessary to raise the ISO to 400, which is about as high as I dared to go without risking the introduction of too much unwanted digital noise into the image. Once I had the settings where I needed them, it was just a matter of waiting for a lull in the wind before I tripped the shutter.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 105mm, 1/250 sec, f/11