On a trip through Montana, I went into the Beaverhead NF to explore the ghost town of Coolidge.
While the ghost town was not that photogenic, Elkhorn Creek was lined with some great color.
This fallen log was jammed with debri creating a cascade in the creek. Throw in the rocks and you have a nice balance of blurred water, the still creek leading you to through the picture, and the lines of the colorful willow.
For processing, I used luminosity masks to add detail to the flowing water by darkening it slightly. Then selecting the colorful willows and bumping contrast and saturation, selectively.
Finally, I selected the green forest in the background and darkened them to allow the colorful willow stand out more.
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While some might feel this is not nature photography because it is arranged, it sold as a stock photo a couple times including a cover. So who cares, right?
On one fall photography trip to New England, I had spent about 2 weeks in New Hampshire and Vermont, capturing an amazing array of rivers, mountains, waterfalls, country scenes, and ponds.
I had shot so many ponds and lakes with amazing color reflecting in the water that on the day I shot this, I felt I did not need another pond reflection.
So after parking my car and walking through the forest to see this pond near Glover VT, I felt I had to find a different view.
That need to for something different is what had me stop and look at this scene through the trees and branches. So I set up and framed the pond and reflection between the trees and this is the shot. The trees place visual boundaries on the sides and that helps keep the eye centered on the background, through the branches.
I must have had a decent idea as this was published once in a Vermont book.
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Oregon’s McKenzie River flows down the western slope of the Cascade Mountains, heading towards Eugene.
It is a designated Wild and Scenic river that flows through old growth forests, is lined with a series of incredible waterfalls, and is a popular area for kayakers, hikers, and rafters…
…and photographers. Anytime of the year is amazing to photograph along the river but fall is special. The river is lined with a variety of maple trees, river rapids, small cascades, and in the deeper pools of water, the color is a tropical blue.
I have a lot of fall color photography from the last 35 years. Great groups of aspens on a mountainside, full frame images of hillsides in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, aspen lined canyons in the Oregon desert, and much more from many places.
On my last trip to the Great Smoky Mountains teaching a photography workshop with my friend Lewis Kemper during fall color, it was a warm, wet fall and the big landscapes weren’t that great.
I have been here to this overlook at Dallas Divide in Colorado many times and it is amazing….and usually crowded in fall.
During my visits the weather has been ‘perfect’ and other times sunny. What I mean is that one time the sky was so clear, it was hot, and it just was not that great compared to this visit when a storm was passing through and even leaving a dusting of snow on the mountains.
I love photographing in crappy weather! Some of my best or maybe favorite images happened when the weather sucked.
When it is overcast or even raining, specular highlights created by the sun give way to diffused highlights from the overcast. Scene contrast is lowered and colors become more vibrant.
Photographing this image made me realize that fall color that we all love and cherish photographing, is not all about trees.
While I was photographing the amazing aspens in Colorado, I found amazing color closer to the ground.
These plant species, as best as I recall, were not more than 5-6″ across from left side the right side and literally were ground cover.
I dont know what they are but it look to me that they were having their own fall color transformation. The icing on the cake so to speak, literally, is that light coating of frost that added the edges and some white sparkles to the leaves.