Hazel leaves, in our back garden; 25 June 2013.

This was captured with a definite visual plan – the eye enters the frame from the left, very soon hits the brightest component, and then moves rightwards and upwards along the “tail” of darker objects leading to the upper right corner of the frame.  The eye might then exit the frame in the upper right corner: having the final element of the “tail” there might stop it, or it might have been better to have this corner dark.

I never cease to marvel at the beauty of Nature.  What am I looking at here, what is my camera recording?  Well, light that has travelled 93 million miles from Our Star, to partially shine through a small component of one of Earth’s myriad lifeforms.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 250 ISO.

UPDATE: I rather casually mention here that viewers’ eyes will be entering the image from the left – you can find more on this very real phenomenon here.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Sallyann says:

    My eyes and brain, as is often the case are not playing the game.
    My eyes go straight to the leaf before my brain has a chance to register which way they came in. Then they move upwards following the lighter colours until they leaf the page. 🙂
    Then my brain, fearing it’s missed something, sends them darting back to the bottom right to peer into the darkness. 🙂


  2. Meanderer says:

    Lovely, Adrian.


  3. paula graham says:

    Ha, ha…what do I have to ‘do’ with mid tones? Show us please!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hahaha, OMG, I had my qualms about mentioning mid tones … ok, significant snifter … straight gin seems apposite … and lots of it … then deep breath … and …

      Well you’ve had more to do with mid tones than you know, because they are what good old fashioned light meters calculate when an exposure reading is made. I can’t speak for modern marvels like Nikon’s 3D Colour Matrix Metering, but for but for things like the selenium and cadmium sulphide meters that we used to use, and for centre-weighted and averaging meters now, these meters look at a scene and give us a light reading for the tone that is mid-way between the darkest and lightest tones in the image. This is the mid tone – and it carries the hope that our photos will be correctly exposed.

      Of course they may not be correctly exposed as the tonal range in the image may be beyond the range that the camera’s film or sensor can record – or we may skew things by deliberately under or overexposing.

      Everything is simpler now because Matrix metering is so good. But I tend to use centre-weighted for portraits, and I still use spot metering whenever exposure looks iffy (and if I’ve got the time to use it) to get an idea of the tone I want to expose for.

      But my point about grass was this – in times of difficult metering, metering from grass usually gave something around the mid tone, and so was useful.

      Well, have to get back into my display case at the museum now … which will doubtless cause a great surge of indifference in the crowd … 😉 ….


      • paula graham says:

        Ah..that explains it all very well…I do mostly manual metering and spot metering at that..But now I know I can use grass too. All very complicated and most of the time I just measure the brightest bit and meter to make sure that is not over exposed…but..half the time I just spot meter on the thingy I want to emphasise and go from there. Sure there are many ways that lead to Rome..Lovely city!!


        • paula graham says:

          Thank you also for your explanation.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Adrian Lewis says:

          Yes, for mid tones, grass – and I seem to remember pavements were good too – especially it they weren’t sun-bathed. But two other things to think about.

          First, your metering of brightest bits sounds like what I used to do with colour slides – I’d spot meter for the highlight(s) and add +2/3 of a stop (or EV) and that used to work well – and as I’m sure you remember, slides had to have precise exposure. You see, the spot meter would render the highlight as a mid tone, and my adding 2/3 to that would lift it more towards a highlight. By spot metering the brightest bits you’re ensuring that no highlights get clipped to pure, detail-less white.

          But these days I often just use Nikon’s Matrix metering, and check that the histogram doesn’t reach to the lowest (detail-less black) or highest (detail-less white) values. Your D3 may have a really handy customisation that my D700 and D800 have >>> after I’ve taken a picture and the picture is on the camera’s screen, if set the camera up to do this, I can press the button in the middle of the directional pad, and a large, red and yellow and very easy to see histogram appears on the screen, which makes it very easy to see if the low- or highlights have been clipped – I wouldn’t be without this, its so handy. A


  4. paula graham says:

    Beautiful..not as easy to do as it looks…wonderfully well shot and processed.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you, my friend. You’ve said before that my pictures are well processed, and that encourages me a lot. One thing that helped greatly here is of course spot metering – wouldn’t be without it in high contrast scenes like this. A critique of an image that I read this morning said that, in most photography, grass should look like grass, i.e. not like an oversaturated Technicolor version >>> which made me remember that grass is a great source of mid tones >> which brought the thought, does anyone do mid tones anymore??? A


  5. LensScaper says:

    The beauty of a single leaf – can’t beat it!


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