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Picture of the Day - October 8, 2009

"A simple leaf"

Photo of a colorful autumn leaf resting on a bed of moss.
Photo and narrative by Winston "Rocky" Rockwell.             (Click on the photo for a larger view)

I spend a lot of time outdoors shooting landscapes, and I love capturing the majesty and splendor of a mountain scene or the misty moods of the sea. But sometimes I enjoy photographing "microscapes" - small snippets of the world around us, vignettes of nature on a smaller, more intimate scale that we so often miss in our hurried, harried lives. This afternoon, I took a walk in the woods looking for just that kind of scene... the small things most people never even see as they walk their dog, or jog along a forest path listening to their MP3 player.

One of the things about photography for which I'm most thankful is that it has opened my eyes and taught me to look at the world just a little differently, and see what others often miss. While walking along a path, I noticed a spot where the light was filtered and soft, and took a few steps off the main trail to have a closer look. My reward, a few paces from the edge of the path, was this fallen leaf resting on a moss-covered rock. A simple thing that few would even notice, much less pause to admire, yet it drew my attention with its soft light and rich colors.

Images such as this always have a calming effect on me, much like the serenity of a Japanese rock garden. Focusing on something so small and seemingly insignificant helps me keep my perspective, and reminds me that beauty is not a function of size or splendor, and wealth does not consist only of monetary treasure. I do not drive a fancy car, nor live in a grand mansion, yet as long as I can enjoy the simple wonder of light playing softly on a fallen leaf, I count myself rich beyond measure.

Here are the camera and settings used to capture this image:
    Camera: Canon EOS 5D
    Lens: Tamron SP24-135 zoom
    Focal length: 118mm
    Shutter speed: 1/20 second
    Aperture: f/5.6
    ISO: 400
You can see more of my photographs at
Visitor Comments...
    Name: Rick Rouse
    Town: Abingdon, VA

    Simple, yet elegant. Wonderful as always Rocky.
    Name: Janice Woolsey
    Town: Duluth, MN

    I love images like this Mr. Rockwell. Your landscapes are among the best I have ever seen but these simple subjects are fabulous as well. Nice work!
    Name: Gordon Brugman
    Town: Gatlinburg, TN

    Rocky, the Zen-like simplicity of this image underscores the importance of always being aware of the “macro in the micro.” I’ve always been amazed at how a minute portion of a larger scene can capture the “essence” of the whole. I’ve shared your experience of re-learning how to “see” the world around me, and it is one of the things photography has taught me for which I will be eternally thankful.
    Name: Phyllis Helton
    Town: Bristol, VA

    Name: Ron Trees
    Town: Spokane, WA

    Simply beautiful Rocky. Your ability to take something very simple, often missed altogether and make it a work of art is truly amazing!! This is very nice. And so much truth in your words, “I do not drive a fancy car, nor live in a grand mansion, yet as long as I can enjoy the simple wonder of light playing softly on a fallen leaf, I count myself rich beyond measure”. Your work is inspiring!
    Name: Robert Schwarztrauber
    Town: Buffalo, NY

    This wonderful photograph and story by Mr. Rockwell reminds me that focus is not merely a camera setting, but something that happens first in our mind. One of the great benefits of photography is that it can change your view of the world, and take you to places, and show you wonderful things that others never get to see. Unless, like Mr. Rockwell, we take that photo.
    Name: Juanita L. Ruffner
    Town: Negley, OH

    I feel the same way - you captured the simple beauty of a big part of our world!

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