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I travelled to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming to photograph the Fall foliage last year. The park can be an amazing place to photograph the incredible color if you time it right and on this trip my timing was quite good as the color really started coming in fully by the second day I spent in the park.
There are particular areas in the park that are known for good color and on one day I was driving from Jackson Lake back towards the main highway to head south to another location. There is one particular location along this road that I know well from shooting it many times in the winter because of beautiful trees clumped together. I was on the lookout as I drove for this particular location and before I got there, I spotted this grove of trees well off of the road that I hadn't noticed on previous visits. The minute I saw it I had an idea for what kind of image I could create. I parked the car and grabbed my camera and tripod and hiked off through the brush to get a closer look at the possible shot.
My initial vision for the shot was to contrast the yellow leaves against the dark shadows deeper in the forest, highlighting the directional lines of the tree trunks. I wanted to capture enough of the vertical lines of the trunks to create a repeating pattern in the shot, yet I didn't want too much of the rest of the scene, so I put on a medium telephoto lens and then slowly worked back and forth looking for just the right combination of yellow, trunks and deep shadows to achieve what I had envisioned. There was a slight cloud layer overhead which created wonderful diffuse lighting for the scene. After 30 minutes and several frames, I felt I had captured the scene and put the camera away.
I was with a couple of other photographers and since we were parked alongside the road and out in the brush, we had a huge audience when we returned to the car with everyone asking what animal we saw that we were photographing! When we told folks we were just photographing the trees we got many confused and disgruntled looks as folks were expecting a wildlife encounter.