Minimalism in Nature

Went for a walk in one of my favorite nature areas in New Jersey yesterday morning, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Jefferson.  Optimistically, I had a wildlife lens mounted, and my macro flash unit also ready to go for smaller critters.  However, no opportunities like that materialized for me.

I noticed a bare sapling near the mostly frozen stream’s edge, and originally thought I’d isolate the entire sapling against the simple background.  I shot a few broader frames, but felt they all lacked any prominent shapes or visual guidance.  I zoomed in a bit with my zoom lens and also my tripod to see how this small single branch with a nice diagonal orientation and prominent juttings could possibly fill the frame.

I liked the frame, but the remaining problem was one unsightly rock just barely jutting from the ice’s surface.  Next step was locating a leaf in decent shape, and using a stick to push it into position to mask the rock.  Little did I know, the now juxtaposed leaf would become my favorite part of the shot.  A polarizing filter was also necessary to remove glare, especially since a small layer of melt water was sitting on top of the ice and reflecting sunlight and the surrounding trees.

New Jersey Nature Photo

Branch, Ice, and Leaf

Tamron 18-270mm VC lens @ f/16, 1/20s, ISO 200 on a tripod mounted Canon 50D.  Mirror lock-up and camera timer used to maximize sharpness.