12 November 2008

Red beech leaf in the Pohangina

Nothofagus fusca leaf in river
Red beech (Nothofagus fusca) leaf in the Pohangina River below Ngamoko hut. November 2007.

All content © 2008 Pete McGregor

7 comments:

Lesley said...

Pete, I love it. It has a slightly surreal quality. Did you get your knees wet kneeling in the river? Those beech leaves are tiny.

Greg Brave said...

In this photo I don't quite understand what you tried to express... the leaf color looks too vivid, and the close-up is too close for my taste... it seems out of context. One nice thing though - the water looks like smoke around the leaf.

pohanginapete said...

Lesley, with a bit of spontaneous found yoga I was able to perch on dry boulders for the photo. The smokey appearance of the water certainly appeals to me, too. I had a feeling the water might look a little like this, but I couldn't be sure until I'd seen the results. I guess it's the result of a combination of intuition, educated guesswork, deliberate technical decisions, and luck.

Greg, thanks for the thoughts. I can say for sure that the leaf colour is accurate. I've often been startled by how bright some fallen red beech leaves can be. They vary, of course; many aren't as vivid and others are yellow rather than orange-red, but some are certainly as striking as this. Also, I'm not sure I was consciously trying to express anything in particular; like many of my photos, intuition played the primary part. Cheers!

Emma said...

I felt compelled to say something about this one. Its sense of abstractness is very powerful; the objects in the composition could each be any number of things. The rock could be an elephant's foot; the water could be smoke/fog; the leaf, a feather. Despite the vagueness, it contains the nearly tangible idea that I could wrap the scene around myself and be cloaked in nature itself.

(So yeah, I liked it a little.) =)

pohanginapete said...

Emma, I must say I like the idea that the photo has that vagueness for you. I guess Lesley's recognition of "a slightly surreal quality" is along similar lines. As you know, possibility (which inheres in the concept of vagueness), fascinates me; I hold it in high regard. It's good to hear the differing responses to this photo.

Michael said...

I love the idea, but (the dreaded but) I wish there was some sharpness for me to focus on. The grain of the stone, part of the leaf, ...

Seems like it wouldn't be too hard to go back and retry with a pocket full of leaves, some sticky tack, and a day of sparkling light.

pohanginapete said...

Michael, it's often a problem with these kinds of photos — anything under the running water is necessarily softened. In this case it doesn't bother me unduly; the lower right edge of the leaf and adjacent stone, while still slightly soft, are sharp enough for me, although that's just a personal preference. Some stronger selective sharpening might help, though. I was conservative with the sharpening because I felt the smokey light on the water could easily be ruined by oversharpening.

Somehow I can't get enthused about trying to set up a similar photo deliberately. On the few occasions I've tried rearranging what I've seen, the results have been dismal. I guess sculpture's not my strong point.

Thanks for the thoughts, Michael.