01.31.16: Leaves in the light

Maple leaves in a sunbeam in the forest, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio. 


Technical information

June 30, 2007,
9:07 a.m.

40°7’10” N,
82°57'35" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 20D

Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 


1/80th second


I spend a lot of time in woods and fields on photo hikes, but most of my trips are in search of wildlife photos. That means I’m carrying a super telephoto lens (my very long and very heavy 600 millimeter with a 1.4x teleconverter for a total effective focal length of 840 millimeters) to capture photographs of small, distant birds.

But occasionally I’ll run across a non-wildlife scene that catches my attention, forcing me to use a super telephoto lens to capture a scene best suited for a different, shorter lens. For example, I have a number of photos of flowers that I’ve taken during wildlife hikes. If I had intended to photograph flowers I would have carried my 100mm macro lens (a close-focusing lens) to get within inches of the flower for a close-up photo. Instead, I stand about 18 feet away from the flower to get a close-up photo. Not optimal, but it works.

This photos of leaves in a beam of sunlight is another example of a long lens close-up. I was walking deep in the forest when I noticed a shaft of sunlight illuminating this cluster of maple leaves. I liked how the leaves stood out against the dark background so I decided to get a shot. But I was much too close to get more than one leaf in the frame with the super telephoto lens I was carrying.

So I stepped back and looked through the viewfinder again. Still too close. I ended up stepping way off the trail and checking a couple of positions before I found a spot with an unobstructed view of the leaves that still provided an uncluttered background for the scene.

This would have been easier to capture from about 10 feet away with a shorter lens instead of from at least 60 feet away with a super telephoto lens. There are a lot of objects in a forest that obstruct a view from 60 feet that aren’t a factor from 10 feet. But I had to work with the equipment I was carrying.

And I got the shot.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.