Autumn Dance of Oak and Elm

Autumns in PA can be just as spectacular as anywhere. This scene caught my attention not only because of the rich colors of the oak and elm leaves but also for the texture of both the tree bark and the leaves themselves. The leaves are just a few days past peak yet still saturated in vivid red and yellow hues.  But a closer look shows dark patches have begun to appear on each individual leaf. A reminder that the beauty of Autumn is transitory and this exceptional display will give way to winter. The placement of the tree and the grey bark is another reminder that this cycle will repeat itself over and over again, year after year. While the striking colors of Fall are destined to fade, there is the longevity and strength of the tree to tells us that it will be back. Enjoy it while it’s here.

As with many of my autumn images, I often photograph in early morning and/or in overcast conditions to avoid the harsh contrast strong lighting can produce. This image was taken early in the day before the sun burned off the morning mist. Another trick is that I find that a recent rain or the dampness from the fog tends to saturate the colors. Sometime, in direct sun a polarizing filter can enhance the saturation but for this photograph, there wasn’t any direct sunlight to speak of for a polarizing filter to do it magic.

The entire landscape was a profusion of color and had I photographed the wider scene the dark spots would have been lost and the essence of what drew me to this intimate landscape would have been lost as well. I composed the image from what nature offered and found a deeper meaning than a simple autumn scene. The title seemed a natural fit to both the beauty of the scene and the meaning of it all, at least what it represented to me, an Autumn Dance of Oak and Elm.