Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 326 - Light falling on oak leaves

I have been fascinated with oak leaves for some time now, ever since I noticed that they cling to their branches well into the winter. In fact, I'm not even sure that they ever drop off. Maybe they just renew themselves each spring.

Fredericton is home to some pretty amazing oak trees, including this one that stands in front of the public library downtown. There are several more in my neighbourhood and, although their leaves don't seem to colour as vividly as do the maples, they still provide some interesting shapes and shades every fall.

Of particular interest to me in these photographs, however, is not so much the colour and shapes of the oak leaves but the difference the amount of light allowed into the camera makes in how vividly those colours come across. Simply by speeding up the shutter by a small amount, you really bring the leaves to life.

The upper photo was taken with the aperture at f8 and the shutter speed at 1/60th of a second. It is a bright shot and, on first glance, seems like the better of the two. But there is, in fact, too much light and the colour and detail of the leaves gets bleached out. The lower shot, taken at f8 and 1/100th of a second, is much darker. You lose the brick in the background but you gain vivid colour in the leaves themselves, especially the oranges and reds that are all but lost in the first picture. I think they're both nice pictures but I prefer the lower one, with its brilliant colours and darkened down background, over the upper one, which seems over-bright and bland by comparison.

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