IN THE FIELD: Dancing On The Breeze

When I am out on location, I tend to photograph the overall scene that lies before me. I do this for future reference, or because the scene warrants to be shown in full. And then I will break it down into smaller more intimate parts. It’s a methodology I find works well for me.

This image is a perfect example. It’s a maple tree, actually a clump of maples about 15 feet tall. In the autumn, the leaves turn magnificent shades of orange and red. During the springtime, buds open and the seed pods emerge, soon to be followed by young leaves.

From a distance the individual branches are easily defined, yet the seed pods appear as fuzzy pink and red blobs hanging from the branches. In close-up, the blobs become more interesting.

I chose to shoot in late afternoon when the sun was not so high in the sky, and the light would not be so bright. I wanted to capture a warm glow, rather than a harsh glare. The color tones reminded me of the fall season, which was most likely what attracted me in the first place. It was another windy day, and these seed pods appeared as if they were dancing on the breeze.


  1. April 13, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I believe you achieve what you set out to accomplish. And I too would have thought that this photo was captured in the fall until I read the post. Lovely image!

    • April 13, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Thanks Md for the compliment. As Yoda said “try, there is no try. Do, or do not”

  2. April 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

    The colors are captivating!

    • April 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

      The colors were really amazing. Normally the seed pods are green but for some reason this year they look like fall colors!

  3. April 13, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Beautiful shot and great tip to go with it! Scribbling down notes 🙂

    • April 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Thanks Teri, the light was so warm and cozy…the wind was constant…well actually it was windy and then it would subside and just be a strong breeze and then windy again.

  4. April 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

    lovely colours in the maple keys and the background is even without bright spots-great complimentary colours and lighting! Kudos David!

    • April 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Thanks Jane for the kudos!! Those things were dancing all over the place due to the wind/breeze/wind/breeze/wind…I love the light in late afternoon!

  5. April 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I like the colors and warm glow you captured, especially the red! We have a few maple trees in our yard and the seed pods are starting to sprout everywhere including the veggie and flower gardens – moreso than in prior years! They, along with weeds, are challenging to keep under control.

    • April 13, 2012 at 11:53 am

      I know what you mean. I was sitting on the patio yesterday with the pups and noticed several that are about a foot tall growing under the deck. Better go pull them before they become saplings and then trees. Or I could let them grow through the deck and we would have some shade…

  6. April 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    This is good advice – I always get into trouble because I tend to skip the establishing shot and move directl to the details or view that interests me, much to the disgust of people who want to see the whole scene!

    • April 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      I hate when that happens. I started to do the overall shot when traveling on vacation with my wife so that we could remember locations better. It really helps!

  7. April 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Love the warm colors, it does remind you of the fall colors, doesn’t it?
    I love shooting in the afternoon too, but that’s because I’m not a morning person ;P

    • April 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      I hear that!!! Funny how we love all different parts of the day but hate getting out of bed…especially if it’s dark!!!

  8. April 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I don’t know what I can add to all of the great comments above. But a beautiful photo. 🙂

    • April 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks Bob, I do appreciate your comment!

  9. April 14, 2012 at 2:17 am

    They do look like fall colours but with a slight pinkish tinge. I love the deep blue-grey background which really sets it off and makes it sparkle. Lovely image!

    • April 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks Jo, I was able to include just a pinch of sky without it being too dominant in the scene.

  10. April 15, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Oh dear David, I know this maple tree, I mean I heard but never seen before its flowers… So beautiful, so beautiful… Thank you, with my love, nia

  11. April 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Glad you enjoyed this Nia, there are several varieties of maple trees that grow in this area. In the Autumn, they turn yellow, gold, red or orange depending on the variety.

  12. April 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    When I was a kid on Long Island, we’d break the pair of winged maple samaras in the middle, take each of the halves, split apart the end opposite the wing, and stick it on our nose. Free playthings for the picking.

    Steve Schwartzman

    • April 17, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Oh my gosh…we did that too!!! Even a stick was a play toy…no batteries required!

  13. April 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I like the colors and DOF. Can’t hate the little “helicopters,” even though they clog my gutters each spring.

    • April 21, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Thanks John, we have a problem with the oak tree tassels…they are everywhere!

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