Thursday, October 15, 2020

Unphotographable Autumn, Number 7


I, like you, thought we were finally done with the endless blogposts about how Autumn is not properly photographable.

Where we last left off I was at a place of deep and humble acceptance. No matter how exquisitely gorgeous Fall is, taking the essential picture of the Season is not possible. And so I shall go out and simply photograph for the joy of photography, and not beat my head against Fall in the quixotic pursuit of an ultimate, perfect Autumn picture.

That done I went out to take some pictures. 

It was really pretty out. 

To be honest is was amazing out! 

And I started to feel a dangerous stirring. 

There were such colors everywhere!

And they were in astonishing layers and in promising, breathtaking, tantalizing vistas.

They just looked so... 



And then suddenly I understood:

All of Fall, as I walk through it, is in 3D. 

Contrasting colors recede in dazzling tapestries away from each other. There is movement, and a fascinating play of depth and layers.

But pictures are still, and they flatten it all into a confusion.


I have pictures.

This was one of the prettiest things I saw, some white fronds I think of as "Heather", framed by dangling willows, and backdropped by scarlet Autumn foliage. But I didn't have a 3D camera. And in a flat picture it just all jams up together on the same plane:

Pretty, but a confusion to the eye that did not exist as I was standing before it.

I tried going around the corner and taking this kind of Country Lane shot, and this might be the sort of picture that would work for me, but I don't live in the country, and so can't really take pictures like this except by hook and crook. They're not really representative of what I see and marvel at this time of year.

This next picture comes a little closer, maybe because the different elements, similar to what was in the first picture, are more neatly layered. But a lot of the complexity in the depth of the colors still gets a little lost. I like it, but it's still missing space and size.

And it's even worse trying to photograph these colors that so grandly tower over my neighborhood streets. So much of the shock of them in real life is lost in the small scale and flatness.

But for all of this discussion, I'm not trying to photograph fall. I'm just explaining the big thing I can't do and how I figured out why I can't do it. 

What I can do is focus on smaller details and contrast. I can use strong, natural lighting, and in the end what I can photograph of the season is similar to what I always could photograph; strange lighting and details, 

Like these pictures of the "heather" whose name I don't know (feel free to let me know in the comments):

 Or trees. I can photograph trees! There are always trees here.

I can't do forests of trees in a way that works, or even, most of the time, whole trees, but I can take pictures that make me happy that are of parts of trees. Maybe the fall foliage is not keen to be photographed directly, but if I sort of take a picture of the trunk, or branches, that same dazzle of leaf color likes to help out. Maybe it's most content as a background.

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