In Season


Sometimes I read posts on various internet forums (or is it foræ? fora? I dunno) wherein people bemoan the fact that there just isn’t anything interesting to photograph where they live and work. And to be honest I feel the same way at times, and I’ve been known to go for a walk, camera in hand, and return with nary a photo to show for my effort. It’s a common rut in which to be stuck with no easy way out, and that’s what I was feeling on the day I took this particular photo of some rather uninteresting leaves on what was quite a nondescript tree in the middle of the OSU campus.

I wasn’t really intending to capture this specific image, but as I walked around and noticed the vibrant colors of fall all around me I kept my eye out for a way in which I could photograph what I thought was the essence of the season. While the photo itself was kind of a happy accident, once I saw these leaves on a tree I did make some intentional compositional decisions in order to get it to look just how I wanted. Shooting with a 50mm lens doesn’t really let you get the kind of wide perspective that’s really necessary for a sweeping vista with rich colorful trees, so I took the opposite approach and tried for just a couple leaves instead. I didn’t use a close-up filter to get this shot, and instead tried to get as close as I could while also shooting wide open to get the brilliant football-shaped bokeh balls in the background.

In the end I’m not sure if this photo quite works or not. On a larger screen like a desktop monitor or even a laptop I think it’s fine, but as I was playing around with it in Lightroom I zoomed out so it would be about the size of a mobile phone screen at which point it looked more like a muddy yellow mess than a collection of fall leaves. So your interpretation of this photo might be totally different depending on how you view it, which is something that I need to keep in mind more often nowadays as it’s becoming increasingly common to view images on smaller screens.


  1. Janet Richardson says

    I quite like you “muddy looking mess of yellow”. I agree the whole thing of viewing images on a minuscule screen still throws me off. What I see on the monitor and what comes across the social media in the smaller forms leaves something to be desired. Although, I do resize any of my media postings so that a image will look it’s best. I do like your photo though. Sometimes the skill is to make something when nothing is available.

    • I must admit that screen size is something I didn’t think about at all when I first got started with digital photography, but now I find myself asking “What will this look like on a mobile phone?” before I share some pictures online, and even go so far as to re-crop or make specific types of edits just because I know a lot of people will see them on a screen the size of a graham cracker.

  2. Interesting, Simon, however, if you really want some interesting shots visit a local skate park and snap off some photos of skaters in action! You might even get paid by some skater for a shot of him/her catching air, doing a bomb drop, or a grind.

  3. The photo looks grad on my large screen. I know your use a 50mm lens for this blog, but this image made me think you were using one of the old lenses that give the swirling bokeh.
    You do bring up an interesting point though. When posting on social media, we need to be aware of how the finished product will be viewed.

  4. Nice texture and light. Oklahoma is not at its best December through February.

    • It’s 30 degrees, overcast, and windy as I write this reply on January 11. And man, you sure are right about that Bill :)

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