beech leaf, white pine needles and snow photograph Most Beech leaves do not fall off the tree in the fall. They turn brown, and then get paler and paler over the winter, until they are almost transparent. The new leaves of spring finally push the old leaves off the stem.

One day in April of 2011, I felt like trying to photograph Beech leaves. What I had in mind was something with the pale leaves silhouetted against a dark background of pine needles or tree bark. Walking out my back door with my camera, I noticed the scene in this photograph only a few yards from the door but I thought, “This is not what I’m looking for.” I walked around for two or three hours without exposing a single negative. Finally, I gave up. On my way back home, I walked by this scene again and realized that it was the right photograph that day. It was a pleasantly warm day, and there was a light overcast. When I saw this scene the second time, I realized I had been trying to take a bold photograph on a soft day. What I needed to do that day was take this photograph of winter quietly melting into spring.

I realize that many photographers prefer to work quickly and capture their initial reaction to a scene on film or memory card. I enjoy taking the time to think about and understand the things I am seeing. I like to think that this understanding comes through in my photographs.

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