Free Fall Foto Friday

I work at Knowledge Park in Erie, on the Penn State Behrend campus. As a hiker and runner, I have explored the many miles of woods trails that are part of this great area. The hike from my office to the bottom and back is a serious lunch break walk!

This week, I decided to capture some “fall colors”, before the leaves fell. Here’s the result!

The shot above included some of my favorite fall maple leaves in the stream.
There are tons of hiking trails up above the campus. I know damn near all of them.
The photo below is the “great view” of Wintergreen Gorge from the PSU campus. It’s starting to get colorful!
All of these were taken with my “backup camera” Canon 50D and my “backup lenses”: Tamron 17-50 2.8 and Tamrom 70-200 2.8. All shots were “hand held” – meaning I didn’t take a monopod or tripod with me. It required some improvisation with the water shots and darker woods shots. I had to adjust the camera’s ISO and f-stop settings to get the right exposure that would not blur the image as I hand-held the camera.
For images that didn’t have sky, I used aperture priority at -1/3 exposure, to pump the colors. In post, I pushed the darks a bit (using Levels) and pumped the saturation a but.
The whole “roll” is on my Face Book page at This Link Here
The image above is one of the paved walking trails at Knowledge Park. It’s amazing in the autumn season, and walkable most of the year.
 I dig the small details too – from weeds to mushrooms. The colors and shapes that emerge before winter are amazing.
I tried to keep my eyes open. I walk these trails often, and wanted to shot both the big picture, as if you were hiking with me, as well as the small details, like the tiny mushroom shown above.
The image above is a campfire setting that is a couple hundred yards from a paved road, but is virtually invisible to someone not looking for this specific trail. It’s very close to a running creek.
The next image shows me trying to use a really slow shutter speed to smoothify the water. Without a tripod, I was using a rotten tree and a couple of rocks for support.
It was overcast but not windy, so I it made for some excellent fall shots.
 The image above and below are shot from the same perspective with my 70-200 f/2.8 lens, at about 1/250 second. There are TONS of tree roots on the downhill portion of the PSU trail that goes from mid-campus to the bottom of the gorge. They take on a personality of their own when you focus on the light and shadow of the trees as they cover the hills of Wintergreen Gorge. They also save your butt when you hike the steep trails.
 I singled out a single tree trunk below, with the fall leaves behind.
I saw perhaps 50 chipmunks and squirrels Thursday. Below, this guy was doing the same as the rest: collecting acorns. I was quiet enough to capture him laying in groceries for the coming winter.
If you like these, contact me. I’ll be selling some of these for a benefit later this month.

Enjoy the fall colors!

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