This is one of those shots that’s so simple, so basic, and so easy to capture that it almost feels like cheating. This is not complicated in the least, and no special gear or equipment is required other than a camera, some vegetation, and the setting sun. But when done right, a picture like this can just knock it out of the park and do exactly what you might hope it would do: create some kind of feeling, emotion, or mood for the person who views it.
The basic idea here is super easy: find some kind of plant with a bit of color to it (I like wide blades midsummer of grass or tree leaves in the fall as they are changing colors) and position yourself such that the sun is behind it. Then get out your camera, open up the lens aperture, and start taking pictures. that all there is to it. The bright colors and brilliant light can end up making these types of photos some of my favorites that I have taken over the years. In fact, when my brother Phil and I were walking around on the shores of Milford Lake while some of the younger kids were fishing on the nearby dock, I had this picture in my mind that I had taken seven years prior on the Oklahoma State University campus. (I’m not kidding, I really was thinking of that shot. I really like it, and it was my phone background for a good long while.) When I saw a few blades of green grass that had turned to orange and red, along with the sun lowering on the horizon, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take another similar shot.
I used my D750 and 105mm f/2.8 macro lens but anyone could get this composition with a basic DSLR and 18-55mm kit lens. All I did was lower my point of view to take advantage of the backlighting, focus on the orange leaf on the left, open up my aperture to a decent-but-not-too-wide f/4.8, and fire off a couple of shots. I also played around with my position relative to the leaf, moving in and out just to try some different compositions while also experimenting with different aperture sizes but in the end this simple image just clicked in a way that none of the others really did. I like it a lot, and it’s now my iPad background :) I think this experience, especially in light of all the super close-up insect shots I have been taking lately, is a good reminder that photography doesn’t have to be fancy to be good. Sometimes just something basic and simple is all you need.