After you have photographed the white spires of New England churches behind the wide-branched sugar maples, and the leaves floating in the bubbling stream, and you feel like you have run up against the cliche wall… it may be time to visit a pond in the woods! A lake with fallen trees, or one dammed up by beavers, may offer interesting shapes and patterns to place in your composition. In this photograph I used a little fill from the built-in flash on my Nikon D200 to bring out the detail in the fallen branch. Later, back in Adobe Lightroom, I bumped up the saturation about 10 points, after boosting the levels of the shadow areas. I also experimented with different shutter speeds to vary the effect of the gentle ripples on the water’s surface. This frame is 1/25 at f9.0, focal length 60mm.
Looking across the lake with the late afternoon sun behind me, I found another reflection shot with a Nikon 70-300, set at 150mm. Here, the line between true image and reflection was nicely divided by granite boulders, while the bright green white pines contrasted nicely with the brilliant red maples. I settled on a relatively cool color temperature of 5700 after some experimentation. The composition was nearly as successful in landscape mode, and I manually bracketed a few frames above and below the camera reading in 1/3 stop increments. A few minutes later the sun had dipped behind the trees and I packed my tripod and camera and headed out of the woods.