Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Autumn colors in Garfield Park

Autumn is my favorite season of the year. Like many people, I'm taken by the fall colors, and for many years, I've tried to get out at least once -- somewhere -- to photograph the annual spectacle.

Timing the change of colors isn't as precise or dependable as it used to be. Unlike the early 2000s, the colors "show" in recent years seems to have been delayed by as much as a week or two, and I've read that summer dry weather had a lot to do with it. Until about five years ago, I could usually predict when the leaves on trees in nearby Garfield Park would be in peak autumn colors. For instance, I remember that in 2005 or thereabouts, mid-October was prime time for the show. But that isn't the case anymore, and the change of colors seems to be a much more staggered process than it used to be.

Which is why I found some success Tuesday, Nov. 1, when I went to Garfield Park and looked for new change of colors compositions. I was particularly pleased to come upon the scene depicted in the lead photo of this post. The leaf-splattered steps are in front of the Garfield Park Arts Center.

As always, click on a photo to view a larger, sharper, version. To see a full gallery of images from this shoot, visit my online site at

Photo geek stuff: I did the whole shoot using my Canon 6D equipped with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens. Each photo was bracketed for three exposures that I melded into one in post-processing using Photomatix high-dynamic range (HDR) software. My ISOs varied from 250 to 400 depending on the light for a scene. I set my camera to aperture priority mode, using f/8 as my aperture the shutter speed as the exposure variable.

Above: A park bench integrated into a fall colors composition. 

Above: I started this composition zeroing in on the notches in the tree. While framing the shot, I noticed the side door to the amphitheater in the background and decided to see what I would get if I included the door.

Above: A tree that already lost its leaves -- seen all over the grass below it -- near the amphitheater. 

Above and below: A couple shots of the arts center showing the full tree seen in the image leading off the post. 

Above and below: Two perspectives of a tree and its branches.

Above: The back side of the arts center, partially framed by a tree with red leaves.

Above: Backlighting of a tree.

Above and below: A couple closeups of leaves on branches. 

Above and next two below: Shots of leaves on the ground, including one (below) on a patch of dirt outside the arts center just the way I found it, and another (second below) for which I lay prone on the grass to photograph a leaf turned up just as I found it.  

Undulating landscape (above) featuring a tree with orange leaves in the background. The same tree is below, approached from the path just beyond the bridge over Bean Creek on Conservatory Drive.  

Above: One of the widest trees of the park is this one along Pagoda Drive near the aquatics center.  

Above and below: Two more closeups of leaves on branches. 

Above, the view of a multi-trunk tree in the southwest corner of the park near the railroad tracks as I approached it from Pagoda Drive. Below is a closeup of the tree. 

Above: A tree east of the one above, not far from Southern Avenue. 

Above: A shot of what I dubbed "The Tree" in a winter 2011 post. 

Above and next two below: As I approached MacAllister Amphitheater from the front late in my swing through the park, I saw how I could frame the structure flanked by trees in fall colors (above), then re-compose to slide the facility to both the right (first below) and left (second below). If you look closely in the bottom right corner of the second photo below, you can see another photographer, using a tripod. He was at the position for quite a while, sort of overlooking yet another photographer (not pictured) who seemed to be shooting someone's portrait on a pathway about 30 yards to the right of the tripod guy.

Above: Looking down one of the pathways toward Conservatory Drive in the far background, where a white car can be seen. 

Above: Ending this post with a shot of a woman walking her dogs along the path flanking the east side of MacAllister Amphitheater. 

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