October’s advance guard

twisted dead limbs against early autumn colors
In central NC, the fall colors don’t really develop distinctly until November, though some trees can be found changing quite early, and if you frame for those, you can make some nice compositions even when a broader landscape shot would be unimpressive. That was the primary activity of an outing this past Monday, though there were a handful of other subjects to be had, too – just a handful. Right now, we’re doing the earlier autumn stuff.

I have to note that, in the late spring, The Girlfriend found a thin-leaved Japanese maple on sale at a local place and got it for the yard, but at present it’s still in a pot. I have no idea of the name/subspecies, but we found that come fall, it turns really colorful. It was far too small and with too thin a canopy yet to do wider shots, so I stuck to featuring little spots, but it’s enough to show the color change.

unknown Japanese maple subspecies showing great autumn color
I also have to note that this display is pretty brief – less than a week, before the leaves turned completely brown, withered, and dropped off, so we’ll have to see if next year, after we’ve transplanted it into the yard and it gets some serious growth on it, I can do a bit more with it in its narrow peak period.

But it looks good backlit too.

unknown Japanese maple subspecies with great autumn colors, backlit
One of the things I teach about is attention blindness, the common trait of seeing just a particular subject that you’re focused upon and not the remainder of the frame: the background, the foreground, the sides, and so on. As a species, it’s the way we deal with distractions, but when it comes to photos, those distractions can take away from the impact of the main subject, and it takes a little practice to force awareness. In this case, the aspect of the background was so broad and defocused that it didn’t attract my attention, even while editing, and I only noticed it when seeing the thumbnail in my folders while prepping this post.

thumbnail-sized version of above imageSeen at this size, the window frame becomes a bit more apparent, as is the angle that I took to frame the leaves, but it’s so subtle in the larger versions that I’m not worrying about it at all; I just wanted to show what appears sometimes when you can ‘step back’ from the bigger picture. Be aware, however, that repeating patterns like brickwork and fences and so on will almost always be apparent in the final image, no matter how out of focus you try to render them, and even perfectly straight lines can jump out as being too unnatural.

I really should save this next one, but I figure I’ll get a better version later on, maybe with snow.

holly and berries against autumn colors
The subject and color mix seems more expressive of the period between Thanksgiving and christmas, to me at least, though by that time the background colors would be gone. In the real world, I mean – I think they’re fixed in the photo now. And naturally, this perspective is American, since not a lot of other countries celebrate Thanksgiving, so the mood is lost on everyone else. The berries, on a lot of bush species, have really kicked it in this year, so I have a few subjects to chase if/when we get some snow or ice storms in the winter. As I type this we have rain, still with decent temperatures, but this is too far away to go attempt in these conditions, especially with little else that would work out there (‘out there’ being West Point on the Eno, which of course is known the world over. Actually, I suspect a certain percentage of people in the same town don’t even know the place…)

Best, or at least the most vivid, for last of course.

perhaps some kind of maple showing vivid backlit colors
I think this is some species of (wild) maple, but I could be wrong. Either way, the colors really popped with the backlighting, helped by the direct light missing from the same-colored background leaves. Such things tend to be sporadic and take specific view angles to exploit, which is kind of necessary right now at least until more trees turn, but you do what you can do. Look around a lot, try to spot the patches of brilliant color, and pick the perspective that accentuates them the most.

Or not. I’m not your daddy – probably not, anyway – so you don’t have to listen to me…

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