Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Foliage in the Northeast Kingdom

This weekend I traveled to the Northeast Kingdom and joined my friends from the South Shore Camera Club for some fantastic fall foliage! My friend Carol organized and hosted the event. She brought us to many of her favorite places in the NEK. We had a great time with many fantastic views.

This image of a feather on a red maple leaf was one of my favorites. I found the feather and the leaf near each other and realized their potential. So I put them together and had a great time with my macro lens.

Many times, people ask me if I am breaking the rules when I relocate leaves to enhance an image. My answer is it depends. If I were to represent this as a found image, meaning that nature made this, then yes, I am breaking the rules. However, if I am simply creating art, my answer is no.

Photography is an art form. The confusion comes when we think of photography as a representation of reality. If this were a painting, no one would care if I moved the leaf and feather. If the subject was a bowl full of fruit, it would be expected that I had arranged the elements of the subject to be most pleasing. This is a still life of natural subjects, plain and simple.

Some photographers insist that I have committed a gross misrepresentation of nature by rearranging these natural elements. I contend that photography is art and the artist maintains control over what is permissible and what is not. I agree that as photographers, we should admit when we have created a still life. The veracity of an image is important. After that, it is truly up to each artist to decide how they will present their vision and images.

So, in summary, I believe that it is permissible and in fact imperative to create art from nature. However, if we change elements of an image and or rearrange these natural elements, it is critical that we be honest about it. Furthermore, I would strongly argue that we should not harm nature to create these images. Finding a fallen feather and a fallen leaf is a perfect example of creating art from nature without causing any damage. I did crop some grass to improve this image, but considering that we were on a lawn in a state park, I don't think that I did any harm. For full disclosure, I also cloned a part of the feather to cover up a small piece of grass that I found to be distracting. In for a penny in for a pound.

Is this art? Is it beautiful? I think so, but that is for you to decide. Thank you to Carol for opening her house to us and for all of her hard work in preparing for this weekend. She did a fabulous job sharing her corner of Vermont with us! You can check out her blog and many of her images here:


  1. We all watched you down on your hands and knees for quite a while as you made this image Greg. All I can say is "WOW". This is gorgeous and your efforts were well worth it! Love this!
    I'm so glad you joined us this past weekend and look forward to photographing with you again. Thanks for the shout out! :-0)

  2. Thank you for hosting Carol. It was a great weekend!


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