Looking out my window I can tell there is one subject that stands out amongst all others at the moment, leaves! They are literally everywhere, you can’t get away from them. That really doesn’t bother me for the simple fact that well, I like nature and don’t consider things in nature to be a bother, (yeah the raking part is a different story).

I started carrying my G11 the last few days on my morning walks with Lexi, typically I have just been grabbing my iphone for a quick picture here and there if the urge strikes me but at the moment there are just to many things striking my attention to not have a better camera available. As we walk I am always looking at the fallen leaves, stopping to pick them up and admire the intricate details, colors and lines or each. They are truly masterful creation of beauty when examined closely, and when held up to the light become nothing short of natures own stained glass. I imagine my house with windows made of leaves and what that would be like, well ok maybe I don’t really imagine that but it would be a sight for sure. I took a few pictures of some select leaves lying on the ground the other morning but thought I could create something a little more unique than just a leave lying on the ground, I really wanted to bring out the look when they are held up to the light, so I came up with an idea. First, I gathered up a few leaves of choice and brought them home, held them up to the light above the stove which seemed to work fairly well, I even taped one to the hood hanging down being backlit by the light and took a few pictures with my G11.

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© Brad Mangas

The problem I was having was they don’t lay very flat when dangling from something and even though the G11 takes great macro shots the extreme closeup I was after just weren’t turning out the way I wanted. I needed the leaves to be flatter and I needed more depth of field to keep the entire image in focus.  I really needed to be able to tape them to something like a piece of glass, and with that bright idea out to the garage I went with my leaves and tape. I taped a leaf to the backdoor glass at a good height to setup my 60D and tripod and went to work. Here’s a picture of my simple leaf back-lighting setup, not really even a setup, just taped a leave to a window.

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© Brad Mangas

I knew I wanted to get extremely close to the leaves and try to capture some of the fine details of each so I chose my 24-70mm lens and added an extension tube, in Canon talk it is an EF 25II which is meant to be used on lenses of 70mm and up. I’ve played around with this setup on the 24-70 and have found that at 70mm I need to be roughly 12 inches or closer to obtain focus, reducing the zoom to say around 50mm one can obtain focus but you will have to be very close to your subject as in a matter of inches. For the most part this wouldn’t be a very convenient setup in the field if you had to get that close to something but in this case it was just what I was looking for.

I think I have found a new little past time if I have the urge to do some macro work, leaves are available year round simply by walking out to my yard, from spring to winter the colors and looks could be endless. I have always loved this time of year for the simple fact that Mother Nature can produce such varieties of beauty, the leaves I chose for these images are Sycamore, big bold full of life even after most think they are nothing more than a nuisance. It come down to how you look at things, you can chose to see the beauty or you can chose to not. I prefer the former.

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© Brad Mangas

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© Brad Mangas

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