We visited friends near Reading at the weekend. They took us to Swinley Forest for a rainy, muddy walk through the trees. Much of the forest seemed to be pine, but there were large swathes of beautifully yellow deciduous trees too. The slight breeze was causing a ceaseless drizzle of yellow leaves to drift to the forest floor. Autumn detritus of leaves and seed pods littered the ground. It was as autumn should be.
Despite the drizzle, I took the camera out for some shots in amongst the trees. I took loads of photos and I’ve not yet processed them all, but this one really jumped out at me.
We found a deep section of gorgeous yellow and orange trees. There was an even light and the whole place seemed to be glowing. Despite my best efforts, Charlotte was not in a modeling mood and was doing her best to avoid me. My luck came in though when she found this spiky seed pod (what is it – do you know? Use the comments and educate me!) She was captivated by it for a few seconds and I managed to compose and get this shot. It is completely unposed and this was her natural reaction to finding the thing on the floor. Half a second later the spell was broken and away she ran, determined not to be photographed.
I was using the lens wide open at f2.8 to get the background as blurred as possible while focussing on her nose. I love how it has turned out. I love the colours and the way her body and arm point through the photo making it look nicely balanced. Her pink hat and blue spotty coat make for a nice contrast against the natural “autumness” of the background.
The background is very bright. If I’d had a Speedlite with me, I would have underexposed the background a little to make the girl really stand out a bit more. Having said that, by the time I’d set up the flash, the moment would have passed and the image would not have been possible.
I’ve done some minor post processing on the image. I’ve added a small S curve to add a little contrast and I corrected the white balance. I boosted the saturation of the yellows and then undid the adjustment on the yellow spots on her coat by using the ‘brush adjustment away’ feature in Aperture. There was a small part of completely blown out sky which I brought back a little in the top right. It’s still blown out, but won’t stick out as pure white if the image is printed. I added a little bit of sharpening too to really emphasise her outline, but that’s only really visible at 100% magnification.