A couple weeks ago, on November 19, I photographed 9 plants in my garden that had orange fall foliage. Nine; one day; orange (not the yellows, not reds or greens); in my garden. I was thrilled. After years of planning my garden for fall color, I needed to get to work with my camera.
I decided to make a very special composite photograph of all nine leaves silhouetted on white background. I’ll take you through the rather involved process, but for those who are the real plant nuts, we will have a quiz. Can you identify all nine ? As correct guesses come in, I will let you know which are correct and you can add additional comments.
The first to get all nine will get an original 12×18 signed print of one with all the silhouettes at the bottom of the post. It is a limited edition of 10. This first composite is nice but not so hard to do:
Acer palmatum #1
Cornus ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’
Vitis ‘Roger’s Red’
As much as I love the native California flora, there are few plants that have strong fall color and none of these 9 here in my garden are native. I don’t know why there is so little autumn color in the CA natives but since I love the warm glow of fall, I long ago turned to other plants for my front yard where I irrigate.
In order for the composite photo to mean something special to me, I wanted to photograph each leaf on the plant itself and not take it into the studio or put it under a flatbed scanner. It is a much harder challenge on many levels, as wind, depth of field, and criss-crossing leaves make it hard to isolate a single good specimen leaf.
Here is the Japanese Maple tree leaf in the opening photo to this post.
The first steps were to correct the color and fix the defects. There was big glob of dirt on my camera sensor (look at the window area) and several crossed leaf tips that had to be rebuilt in PhotoShop. In order to create the silhouettes I use a PhotoShop plug in from Topaz Labs and then cloned in color from other parts of the leaf to fill it out to the tips.
Now I had the silhouetted leaf and added type into a new layer of the cleaned up file.
Without getting too techno geek on the rest of the images, I will simply say I created a template for all nine cleaned up photos and dropped them in once they were cleaned up. Note each leaf is in the exact same place as the original composite at the top.
For those of you who want to know the ID on all nine but don’t want to wait for me to fill in the post with the reader comments, if you click on the final image it will go to my PhotoBotanic Archive where you can order (Add to Cart) a personal license download for $0 with all nomenclature. No one would peek there first before commenting on a guess would they?