On Halloween morning 2004 I set out with a camera upgrade purchased spring of that year, a Sony “Cyber Shot, DSC-F828” with an inexpensive tripod. My photograph “Autumn Stroll in Sapsucker Woods”, the feature photograph and below, achieved prizes with the Photographic Society of American and a few sales of self-produced prints. It was an early success.
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The fall of 2005 I invested in a Kodak DCS Pro dslr-c and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. October 30, 2005, one day short of the 2004 Halloween shoot, found me driving down Fall Creek Road on a mission of revisiting Sapsucker Woods to possibly improve upon my offerings.
Over the years, travelling Fall Creek Road on my daily commute, I admired this well formed maple next to a farm field. At 6:45 am the sun was about this rise, the frost limned grass not yet burned off. This tree turned a bright yellow, here a green-yellow and dull. The form of the tree is perfect. I was never able to catch this at the right moment, it is still there and maybe I can time it this year during a pick-up of my grandson. If I do, my intention is to climb the fence and use the 24 mm lens to capture the tree and shed with less sky (unless there are some dramatic clouds). That day, I needed to make time for Sapsucker woods.
On site, thirty minutes later, as the leaves of the Fall Creek Road maple predicted, Sapsucker Woods foliage is behind last year’s by a week or so. In “Autumn Stroll in Sapsucker Woods” the over story leaves have fallen and the understory is at peak. Here, I believe the overstory is gone, the understory leaves are yellow-green.
I carefully choose the sites and this one is a risen walk of boards. In the nine years since, the walk as deteriorated and this scene will be different, possibly.
This is a match for the 2004 photograph as far as the camera position. What I enjoy from the 2004 version, aside from the foliage, are the details of the fallen leaves taking up the foreground, a carpet filling the field to lead the eye up through the trees, path fading from view to the right.
This effect is not possible on the boardwalk, above. With the fixed focus 50 mm lens it might be possible with effort. Today, the 24 mm is my first choice to capture this effect.
Here we can see the leaf carpet is possible, if the f-stop is higher to allow a crisp focus. In this scene it is f2 because I happened upon a buck in a daze. He was just standing there as I headed back to the car. I did not risk changing out lenses to the telephoto, so I moved forward slowly.
The best I did was this rear view as he looked backward. Lack of flexibility is a draw back of a fixed-focus lens.
In 2004 my day concluded with Robert Treman State Park. In 2005 the 50 mm fixed focus with a ND filter and tripod was in its element. The sun is higher and overcast, one background tree is a peak foliage. The moderate water flow and stair complete the effect. This was my best work of that day. I need to get this up on the “Finger Lakes Memories” gallery.
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