The Simple Things

Often times it’s just the simple things in life that give us joy. Just a couple hours and less than mile from my previous ICM post, I spied this. As the title suggests, some times it’s just the simple things that grab our attention and make us happy. I had pulled over at a very popular pullout in Yosemite valley that affords a view across the Merced River of Bridal Veil Falls. There’s room for may 8-10 vehicles at the most. I had stopped - because I always do - to check out the winter view and look for any photo potential.

Upon returning to the car I looked down and saw this leaf. Picture a road side pullout, wet pavement, strewn about with dirty sand from road crews maintaining the winter roads… This little leaf had either been stepped on or driven over - and probably both… but it caught my eye.

In full disclosure, I cloned out a few light-colored pieces of sand, pebbles, a broken pine needled and processed this in an attempt to make something beaten upon, trampled and discarded - in to something pretty. The leaf still has remnants of the black sand… so I didn’t alter the leaf (other than color/sat)

Anyway… some times the simple and discarded items can bring us happiness.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Processing of course

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any, all comments and feedback welcome

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

Nikon D800E, 28-300mm @300mm, f/16 1/15th iso 200, tripod shooting straight down to the ground - single frame


There can be a lot of power in simple scenes. This is a photographic skill I need to work on; my eye tends to miss these little jewels.

I love the single leaf and its placement in the photo. The background is fascinating; it has a little bit of a primordial ooze feel.

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Lon, I love your image. When walking the trails with camera in hand I’m always looking at the ground for this kind of shot. Anyway, great image and I like your work.

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This leaf tells a story to me of surrender, and succumbing to the passage of time. The black sand on the leaf, and the oozing grime on the ground reinforce that story for me. The ground is actually quite ugly, but that’s part of what makes this image work for me. Sometimes death and decay can tell powerful stories, and I think you have succeeded in doing that here. I love the melancholy feel of this image.

I love these intimate landscapes. The contrast in color and shape and texture between fore and backgrounds. The sharpness of the leaf. Scenes like this, especially in busy locations, are so easy to miss. Sometimes we need scenes like to show that nature’s beauty exists at a much smaller scale than grand mountain ranges and vast, ocean surf. Very well done!

Great title Lon. The simple things often get overlooked for the grand landscapes. I like this a lot especially the contrast between the leaf and black / gray background. Great find. Glad you looked down.

Wow. This stands out right away, Lon. Composition is strong and I really like the texture in the BG. But the best part of this image to me is the color combination. The brown in the rock, the brown/red in the leaf, and the overall (very) slight tint of green/cyan. I am not extremely familiar with color theory but this combination is very very appealing.

I agree on the colour combination here. The leaf certainly pops off of the ground and drew me in

Thank you @John_Williams, @Ralph_Yakaboski, @Ed_McGuirk, @Marc_McCann, @Eva_McDermott, @Adhika_Lie and @Nathan_Klein for your comments and observations.

Yeah, the background, the dirt, the dirty, ugly oozing background is just that. It’s dirty pavement! But it cleaned up pretty well… I too really like the color combo.

Thanks again!

Lon, the leaf stands out very well here. It’s also nicely inviting. The “ground” looks good with its textures and gentle blue reflections. I wouldn’t have recognized it as asphalt without your comment. :grinning:

A small scene. Beautifully seen and realized. It is an image that holds my attention and, for its textures and colours alone, bears looking at over and over.

No… you ‘guys’ are all wrong. The story of this is not in the the leaf on the pavement, but the tree that is caught in the tiny reflections that warp it in and around the peaks of the pavement above the little water that fills the crevices. If you look carefully you can see that tree reflected over and and over. The leaf is just a sign of where it came from and the water indicates that in the reflection.

Lon, a wonderful closeup of this “simple” scene. It was an immediate draw for me as I have a similar closeup of a Western Sycamore leaf that I really like. More importantly is a very long story behind my image that always returns when seeing it or similar photos. I see no need for change here at all. Well photographed and processed too… :+1: :+1: