“Fall in Monochrome” by Simon Hucko
A few weeks ago, when we spotlighted Russ Hermanson’s photo, I admitted that traditional autumn photography is a pet peeve of mine. Well, you all have kept me on my toes by pointing me towards some great fall photos or by sharing your works with the group. You all are hard at work to show me the better side of fall photography. One of the best that I ran across was this photograph by Simon Hucko titled Fall in Monochrome.
Here's an interesting concept: A photograph in autumn, one of the most colorful times of the year, completely devoid of color. It's a concept that escapes many. Now I will admit, there is not much in this photo that hints at the season (besides the name). But that does little to diminish the strength of the concept. What Simon has done is he's focused the viewers eye on another beauty of the autumn woodland: The delicate bark of a paper barked tree.
The blurry edges are not a post-processing effect or filter. The effect is done in-camera using a special variable focus lens called a Lensbaby. It's a lens I've been experimenting with lately. If used well, it can create wonderful images such as in the case of Simon's photograph. It's a tricky lens to use and finding the right aperture for the effect you desire can be tedious. Having used the lens myself, I have more admiration for Fall in Monochrome. But with technicalities aside – because we're only reviewing the final product, not the process – the effect continues to direct the viewers eye. It is another tool to persuade the viewer to enjoy the beauty of the tree trunk. In this context, I really love the use of the Lensbaby effect. It creates a bit of a dreamy feel, or it makes the photo seem like a distant memory. It ads a fantastic texture to the image that plays well off of the textures of the leaves in the background.
All in all, I think Simon's photograph, Fall in Monochrome, is a fantastic example of great autumn photography, a great black & white photograph and a wonderful use of a special effects lens. For all of these reasons, I feel that this is an inspiring photograph to be shared.