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Which is more valuable: $3000 wagcares sweepstakes or colorful leaf?

Texture of tiny leaf found on Michigan Ave in Chicago

What if you found a masterpiece painting laying on a busy sidewalk? Certainly you would look at it. Maybe you might even pick it up, or photograph it. During autumn we have millions of such masterpieces laying on our sidewalks. Filled with bright colors and amazing compositions. And you can actually touch them.

They are called autumn leaves. Trees are such fine artists producing these paintings every year. And then they give away their paintings for free. For us to enjoy.

Leaf as artwork

One such amazingly colored leaf lies on one of the busiest sidewalks in Chicago. On Michigan Avenue where the same colors on a designer shirt could cost in the thousands, trees produce their own fashion show for you to take and hold.

Walking on my way to the Wrigley Building Walgreens, this particular leaf really jumped out for its wide palette of color. Greens, yellows, reds, browns. The spotted pattern also created an immense texture on such a tiny leaf.

Wanting to photograph this leaf in macro, I picked it up and carried it with me into the store. While I purchased my bag of chocolate, I placed the leaf on the counter to continue the transaction. The cashier noted the leaf, “look at that!” I proudly picked it up to show her. Yes! This leaf was sitting outside! Wouldn’t it look really cool photographed and made into a really large print? The cashier agreed, “fall is just so beautiful. I love this time of year.”

She handed me my receipt with the wagcares sweepstakes; and I walked out with the leaf and receipt next to each other in one hand. The $3000 cash I could win by filling out the wagcares survey? That pales in comparison to the value this leaf brings.

To capture such detail in the leaf could not be done by an iPhone alone. Instead, I popped on my macro lens from Photojojo. This lens is amazing. Well, maybe you know that already from my photo. 😉

Contact sheet of colorful tiny leaf

Initially the bright red in the leaf demanded my attention. I kept shooting the red section over and over. But the photos weren’t quite capturing the beauty of this leaf. So instead my camera went to the middle of the leaf where the greens and yellows live. That sounds boring, right?

Texture of tiny leaf found on Michigan Ave in ChicagoNope! The center of the leaf brings out the masterful composition created by the tree. The strong brownish-purple line with a network of very thin white lines branching out from the main artery. Certainly this tree knows how to compose a painting! The fine touches of yellow, green, and brown dot the center of the leaf.

Where is this bright red to be found? Only at the perimeters of the photo. Let that be a lesson to all photographers. Often we are tempted by the bright reds on the perimeter of life. However, the standard greens and browns in the center can make for a strong photo.

I really enjoy the result of this photo. Chicagoist really likes it too, because they made it the primary feature on autumn leaves in Chicago.

Has anyone taken any photos of the autumn leaves? If so, leave a link in the comments.

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