Tag Archives: leaves

Still in the Christmas Spirit

141227_Red Poinsettia by . Fuji X-T1, EF18-55mm @ 55mm, f/11, 1/10 second, ISO 400

I am still in the Christmas mood.  This image is just an effort to work with composition.  The subject is the center stamens and pistils of the poinsettia flower.  The plant leaves framed the subject while the background ornaments added interest without distracting from the stamens and pistils.  I cropped the leaves to eliminated any distracting edges.  Using the “mirror lock-up” function might have improved the sharpness of the subject.  Always learning …

Happy Thanksgiving

141127_Maple Leaves and Background Dew by . Fuji X-T1, XF18-55mm @ 55mm, f/8.0, 1/250 sec, ISO 400

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  We have so very much to be thankful for including this beautiful fall day a couple of weeks ago.  Each day is a gift to be lived and enjoyed to its fullest.

This was taken in our back yard in the early morning as the sun was breaking the horizon and shining on a little fresh frost on the ground.  I liked how the sparkle from the sunlit frost made small globes of light.  I then walked around to get something interesting to put in front.  This backlit maple was just what I was looking for.  It was a moment to be thankful for.

Look Up and Imagine

140629_Leafy Texture by © 2013 Karl Graf. Fuji X-T1. XF18-55mm @ 55mm, f/4.5, 1/350 sec, ISO 1600

Over time, I have learned to frequently look up and see.  On a hot day walking along Lake Galena, I looked up and saw the bright sun shining through these maple leaves.  In the bright sun, the leaves looked pretty flat.  At the time I took this image, I thought about adding a texture.  So off I went looking for something interesting.  I found an old cherry tree covered with a thin green fungus.  The texture caught my eye.  I combined the two to come up with the above image.

For reference, the texture image is below.

140704_Texture Background by © 2013 Karl Graf.

Spring: Ginko and Cherry Tree

140509_Ginko & Cherry Tree by 2013 Karl Graf. Fuji XT-1, XF55-200mm @ 90.4mm, f/8.0, 1/800 sec, ISO 500

This image was taken looking out our dining room  window.  I noticed how the emerging leaves of the Ginko were contrasted against the deep pink of a flowering cherry.  I varied the depth of field to get a pleasing combination of sharpness of the Ginko and a blur of the background cherry.

An Abstract Perspective

131220_PV_TreesAbstract by © 2013 Karl Graf.

Trees and woodland areas always capture my interest.  The horizontal fallen trees in the foreground and the vertical living trees in the background caught my eye.  When was re-looking at this image taken 11 months ago, the same lines caught my eye.  However, the color tonality was very subdued and boring.  I felt in a “painterly” mood, so Topaz Simplify came to the rescue.  I used Topaz to give it that “artistic” look as well as bring out a little color and enhance the edges of the trees and leaves.

Here is the straight out of the camera image.  Today I prefer the “painterly” view.

131220_PV_Trees by © 2013 Karl Graf.

First Snow

131209_Leaf in Snow by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII with EF24-70mm f2.8L @ 62mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec. ISO 800

Fall color is gone.  We just had our first snow fall, quickly followed by freezing rain.  I got up early to capture the moment before it melted.  The fresh snow was covered by a thin layer of ice leaving interesting ice encased shapes.  To capture the contrast of the dark leaf against the bright snow, I over exposed by +2 stops.  Treatment in B&W captured the dreariness of the morning.

Fall Color: Leaves in the Grass

131206_Fall_Leaves in the Grass by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII with EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 63mm, f/8.0, 1/400 sec, ISO 1600

The color of fall in Eastern Pennsylvania has all passed.  This entry is the start of a series of posts of an early November morning shoot in our back yard capturing the last of the fall color.  The early morning sun caught these fallen leaves just right to pop them out from the frosted grass.  Simple things tend to catch my eye.  I constantly look down as I walk through the landscape.

On this shoot, I was testing out the low noise performance of the 5D.  There was  a steady breeze which required me to use a fast shutter speed.  I also normally use a tripod where ever I go.  This day I wanted to be “free” and capture images quickly as I saw them.  With a high ISO of 1600, the 5D performed exceptionally well and allowed me to capture the images that I was targeting.


Lesson From Tony and John

131110_Leaves with red background by Karl Graf.

This image is based on a couple of lessons I have received in the past.  The first one is from Tony Sweet:  “When you see a cool background, find something to put in front of it”.  The second lesson is from John Barclay:  “When you see red … shoot”.  Walking along a trail in the woods a patch of red leaves caught my eye.  By themselves, they were not very interesting, but their combined color made me look twice.  I walked around and saw this scrawny branch with green leaves hanging down.  Again, by itself it was just ho-hum.  But when I lined up the bright green against the red background, the image “popped” in my mind.

Tony would have further critiqued this image and suggest that the green leaf in the top right corner should be removed.  He would also have commented that the small white dot in the top third of the red background be cloned out.  Tony is a sticker on details.  So here is the corrected file:

131110_Leaves with red background_v2 by Karl Graf.

It does make a difference!

Autumn Leaves – It’s Not Too Late

131109_Autumn Leaves by Karl Graf.


The peak of autumn color has come and gone.  I had not taken my camera out to capture any of the brilliance.  This was the first time since I started back into photography ten years ago that I hadn’t gone out on multiple fall shooting excursions.  Like I mentioned in my prior bog entry, I have been in a real slump.

The previous day, from when this image was taken, had been an exceptional late fall day in southeast Pennsylvania.  The temperatures were in the sixties.  The sky was blue with large billowing white clouds.  It was a beautiful day … but my camera remained at home in my closet.  What a waste!  That evening I felt depressed that I had not taken advantage of this wonderful day. The next day, rain or shine, I was going out.  My friend, Stan, and I went out for an adventure.  We were going to go down to Maryland for a little exploring, no set plan just go were the car takes us.  We didn’t get very far when we saw a creek and a dam along side the road.  Stan made a quick u-turn as he said, “we may never get back here”.  And so the day went.  When we saw something we stopped even as the rain was pouring down.  We did not always take the cameras out, but we did stop and explore as we made notes for a future adventure.  What a way to spend a great day with a great friend.

This image is from our first stop.  Stan focused on the water and falls from the dam.  I focused on the mini landscapes that layer below my feet.