Early Stages & Planning
After gathering my research references and sketching out my ideas, I developed an interested in exploring a mass of saturated colours in structures, something which represented my photographic style. Initially starting out with autumn trees as my main subject, I wanted to incorporate my landscapes with metaphorical representations.
My main focus for landscape would be a mass of colours, tree leaves and structure. I chose these elements to form my landscapes because leaves are the textures of trees and in relation, trees are part of the earth landscape, in an environmental sense. By focusing on the bare essential of the landscape: colours, leaves, structure; I am merely highlighting the importance of these elements in the environment.
Being unfamiliar with my new environment, I began scouting for locations and observe the lighting and weather conditions. The first challenge was to identify the right tree and estimate my travelling time. The second challenge was lighting and timing. I soon realised the sunlight here were quite different; the sun sets earlier each day as the season transits into winter. Schedule timings have been unfavourable as the occurrence of sunshine and reddening of leaves were very rare. I began to look at other options. Narrowing down my colour scheme, would be the spectrum of saturated warm colours with a contrast of blue.
Landscape One: The trees on location were far from my ideal sketch. I brought my 5D MKIII and a 16-35mm wide angle lens, and stuck my camera and tripod near the tree. The first thing I did was to figure the right composition from the ground up.
After a couple of shots, I figured the trunks anchored to a corner of the frame works better compositionally. I choose wide angle lens over other lens I had, so as to get as much mass of tree leaves into frame. As I noticed only the tree top canopy was lit, I adopted multiple exposures technique to compensate for the huge difference in exposure. Though the reddening of the leaves were still not enough, subsequent attempts with telephotos lens did not work well, due to unfavourable weather timings.
I think this was the more successful image out of the several trips made, because of the mass of colours of the leaves caused by backlighting and the structure of the tree brunches works well. Thus, this creates a balanced luminosity.
Landscape Two: While on the way to Mousehold Heath, I found another favourable location; trees with lower canopy which I could comfortably zoom in with my own personal equipment. As I usually tend to survey my landscape subjects before actual shoot, I chose this close-up composition because I was looking at a balance mix of leaves gradation colours and right lighting to create some contrast. It was the blue sky in background that added impact to the image. An aperture of F4.0 was used to create some depth of field, and a fast shutter to eliminate unintended blurriness. This puts focus on the leaves at foreground. I initially took a couple snapshots as a visual reference before moving on. Unfortunately, I was unable to revisit as the trees have become almost barren.
On post process I corrected the exposure on camera raw and saturated the colours using HSL panel. Originally shot as landscape orientation, portraiture works better for me visually.
Landscape Three: Subsequent visits to check on the reddening condition of the autumn leaves, I went out on one rainy day. As I surveyed the landscape at the top of Mousehold Heath, I found nobody in the area except for a lady in red coat with her dog. The weather got worse and she was already leaving the hill.
A grey sky, a green hill and a lady in red coat.
Seeing a chance of primary colours, I instinctively whipped out my camera to capture the right moment, just enough time to set the right exposure setting. This was the only frame captured in the moment with my wide angle lens, and a surprise landscape for me.
Landscape Four: The time was already the end of autumn, and seasonal trees have become almost barren. To have red leaves and blue sky in my favour has gotten impossible. As I set out to capture my fourth landscape, what caught my eyes were these particular trees brunches dotted with red, green and yellow leaves. This has an interesting structure compositionally, though not as colourful as I had anticipated.
I used a wide angle lens, with aperture F10. After a couple of shots, I found the images to be too bright. This was caused by the sunlight creating intense backlighting on the tree brunches. I added a Gradual Neutral Density Filter to my lens, so as to reduce the light on the top. In addition, I did a two bracket exposure shot, just to be safe. On post process, as it turns out, I had to blend the two images together to create a more contrast effect.