One of the hardest things about photography is learning what to leave out. It is easy to concentrate so much on your main subject that you don’t look around to see all the distractions surrounding it. So I constantly ask myself how I can simplify the image so that only what I want in the frame is actually in the frame.

And let me assure you, it can take a LOT of work!

Here is a quick example of a lovely oak tree in its finest coat of autumn red. I kind of like it (in an “I gotta be me” + cue the “jazz hands” sort of way).  But it is definitely “busy” and there are a lot of visual distractions around our heroic tree.

Fall Color

How about zooming in a bit.  Does that work better?  . . . No not really  . . . (see image below)

Fall Color

It wasn’t until I walked up and and around the tree that I finally saw “simpler” images.  First this one, showing the background a bit. Definitely better. (If I zoomed a tiny bit wider, all I saw was dead tree limbs around me).

Fall Color

After awhile, I finally explored underneath the tree and saw this image (below), which I really like. Nice curvy tree limbs, nothing too distracting, color filling the frame – now I am finally happy.

Fall Color

And eventually, I moved in for the dreamy, isolated leaves.

Fall ColorFall color, Block Creek Natural Area, Hill Country region, Texas, USA. Last two images: Canon 1Dx. ISO 1000. f/7.1 @ 1/100 second. Polarized.