Autumn In the 'Burbs


I took this shot early Saturday morning on one of the trails in my neighborhood.  I like the composition of this photo because it uses a lot of classic techniques:  balance, leading lines, and diminishing perspective.  Balance in that the tree and the big rock create a strong center of gravity.  The shoreline and the rocks form leading lines that draw your eyes to the tree, which because of its color is worth having your eyes drawn to.  And the rocks also provide diminishing perspective that gives 3D depth to the photo. The balance and perspective were by design when I shot the photo, but I wasn't conscious of the leading lines until later.  I wouldn't call it a complete accident though; I'd like to think that my intuitive sense of composition is improving.  ;-)

By the way, I processed two versions of this image.   One was an HDR, and the other was based off a single photo from the bracket.  The single photo looked nicer in my opinion and that's the one above.  As I get better with the tools, I'm discovering that I don't have to rely on HDR nearly as much.  Now, there are scenes where the dynamic range is just way too big to capture and tease out with a single shot.  But short of that, a properly exposed RAW image coupled with the right tools and techniques can get the same result without the haze and softness artifacts of HDR.  And another thing I've learned is that HDR haze forces you to use more local contrast to correct it than I sometimes want (and I tend to like detailed, constrasty images).  The trade-off though is you have to contend with more noise off a single image than a properly bracketed HDR.