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I have a friend who is a co-author with me of the SOV Blog, and perhaps the most enthusiastic of all participants on Foliage Vermont’s SOV Foliage Forums.  Prominently on the Foliage Vermont Homepage is her “Finding The Elusive Peak – Does It Really Matter?” narrative, the gist of which is that you may not find that magical “peak” color at the place and time you expect it — but you can always find color of some description.  It has stimulated a fair amount of discussion on the SOV forum (and has occasionally been “borrowed” for discussion on other blogs and forums).  One person–and I agree with him– went so far as to say there really is no such thing as “peak” color.

Indeed, if you asked 5 different observers of fall foliage to define “peak” color, you would get 5 different views.  In my own view, I don’t really think “peak” matters.  What really matters is color.  On my last blog, I posted two of my favorite shots of “fall color,” (the shot from the escarpment trail in the Porcupine Mountain State Park in Michigan’s U.P.; and the shot of the leaves floating on the water, taken in a little swampy area just a couple miles from my home in Saginaw, Michigan).

Neither would necessarily pass as a “classic” fall foliage shot.  But maybe that is o.k.  There are hundreds of them already taken.  And hundreds more will be taken.

Sunday, I went looking for some fall color here in mid-Michigan.  Following a “hunch” I developed while on a golf course in September, I found a spot on the Shiawassee River.  I would estimate that the color–nearly in the exact center of Michigan’s “mitten” (lower peninsula)–was between 25-30% developed.  While there were some trees showing nice color, most of the foliage was still green, to a dull green.  Not necessarily what I was looking for.  I wandered along the river bank for a ways, shooting some trees, and their reflection in the slow moving river.  I wasn’t really “feeling” anything.  I was considering packing it in as the light was beginning to deteriorate as mid-morning came along.

But something kept me moving along the river and suddenly, through some dead branches and tall grass, saw some intense color in the water.  As I drew closer, I knew this was the shot I had been looking for.  It was not of leaves, or trees, but of a reflection of colors, mixed by the moving water.  Glad that I had not given up minutes earlier, I spent the next 20 minutes working this subject.

Recently, I bought, on the suggestion of one of the most talented photographers I know, my friend, Dan Denardo, the new book by Joe McNally: “The Moment It Clicks.”  Early in the book, Joe comments something to the effect that he cannot count the number of times he has almost trampled upon the shot, trying to get what he thought was the shot.  If I take nothing else from his book, It will be that thought!

I found these images while looking for the images I thought were the shot.  This time of year, there is always color.  You just have to find it.

3 Responses

  1. That is a magnificent shot, Andy. Hats off to you for your persistence. I cannot help but think I may have given up a few steps before you. I'll think of you the next time I am waiting for a photo to reveal itself.Thanks for your kind and generous comment about my work. I appreciate that more than you know.D

  2. Good post Andy. I am certainly hoping to get out more locally. Colors are getting pretty good right now, but it is getting cold really, really quick as well! I certainly will be looking at those reflections.

  3. Since much of photography elicits emotions in me, I find myself liking the color in odd circumstances. The most consistent is the special light of a slightly foggy day. Just as I'm sometimes in the mood for listening to the Blues, I appreciate the special beauty in the different weather conditions. I love the vibrant color on a crisp sunny morning (or evening) like everyone else.Fall colors bring out a bit of regret for me. I spent six autumns in Vermont and basically took them all for granted. During those years, I hadn't yet discovered that photography was my passion and my major outlet for creativity. The killer phrase I told others (and myself) was that there was always next year – to seriously go out and shoot foliage. Most of my good shots were circumstantial.I'm now in that corny photography state of "being there". I attribute many of my current, decent sports shots to "being there". I wish I had been there and gotten more foliage shots in Vermont while I was there.I can't complain. I live an hour or so from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. But I wasted years in Vermont.

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