Traveling always opens my eyes up to new ways of seeing, and an East Coast spring was glorious. I was able to photograph at Winterthur as the spring trees were unfolding.
At first glance now, you might think this Japanese maple tree was in fall color, with the rich red leaves, but it is Acer palmatum dissectum ‘atropurpureum’ – a red foliage variety of the cut leaf maple. Set on the path right at the Magnolia Bend (Garden Map) there is no mistaking it for spring.
This is not the kind of spring we see in California ! I began to work the scene, first taking a wide view from behind a Beech tree to help give the photo some framing, with a point of view of approaching the maple and magnolias.
But a newly planted sapling cut across the path, interrupting the lines of the composition. PhotoShop to the rescue with some simple retouching.
Before and After Slider
Retouching – Sapling removed, scene brightened.
I moved tighter to fill the frame with just the maple tree, as seen in the opening photo. Glorious, with just enough of the Magnolia flowers to get sense of the setting.
But as I studied the tree the more I kept noticing the branch structure. The best way to accent that was to get underneath the tree and silhouette the branches against the sky, which I knew would go completely white when I exposed the camera for the shade under the tree.
This became one of those wonderful moments when a photograph comes together. The branch structure created a complex pattern of leading lines that gave the composition both flow and balance.
I have used this photo to illustrate leading lines in a spring photo contest for garden bloggers at Gardening Gone Wild, with links to the PhotoBotanic lesson on Leading Lines available as a mini-book in the bookstore for $1.99.