The end is a beginning

Leaves collect and process the sun’s energy. I find immense beauty in all aspects of their lives including the end. It is, of course, just a beginning for next year’s growth. This grape leaf has not only help produce the grapes I eat but has fed many insects who, in turn, have fed the birds. On and on it goes.

Specific Feedback Requested

any and all

Technical Details

Sony 6000, 1/320, f/7.1, 180mm w/closeup ring, ISO200, with adjustments to tone curves and sharpening in LR


I love the story, John. And as an image, this is really a meditation on death and decay, which as you say, is the flip side of life, an ongoing unfolding. I think the composition and the colours are wonderful. My only complaint would be around focus and here, I mean literally and technically. This kind of image could be out of focus or in focus but doesn’t work so well when it’s both. I’m not much of a macro guy so I’m not sure how you could best do this - focus stacking? - or even if the way it is was your intention from the start. It appears as though your lens was not exactly parallel to the plane of the leaf and so, the upper part of the leaf is in focus while the bottom part is not.

I appreciate your comments and point of view. Honestly, I’m often lazy about getting all of the object in focus. While I know many feel strongly about sharp focus, I never have; this is an example of where shapes are more what I’m working with. I actually find the mix of in focus and not in focus to be part of what keeps my eye moving around. Posting on this site has caused me to accept that paying attention to sharp focus is something I need to work on, however, and at least be at choice about it. In this case the leaf was slightly curved. I don’t do stacking but could have gotten more with greater f-stop or locating the primary focal point more carefully. Again, I appreciate your thoughts and will keep them in mind going forward.

Just to be clear, John. From my point of view it isn’t a question of whether it is in focus or not in focus but rather a question of intention - what the meaning of the photograph is for you and how you choose to deliver that message. One of my favourite photographers is Keith Carter. Almost none of his photographs are in focus - not because he is “lazy” but because that is a choice he is consciously making. People berated him for years about “not getting it in focus” but he kept doing what was meaningful to him because it was meaningful to him. The man is a poet, pure and simple. Here’s an absolutely wonderful interview with him just sharing stories in that beautiful Texas drawl of his. Specific to this conversation, check out minute 3:03 called “Fireflies” where not getting it in focus changed his life as a photographer.

Many thanks for this delight.