After a recent day-long very welcome rain, the light was on the gloomy side, with a soft, grey flatness streaming from the overcast sky. But a rain can bring out many subtle autumn colors normally hidden, and it doesn't take much light to see the pop of reds, yellows and greens. However, it didn't look like a promising photo day because it was so grey, but I decided to grab the gear and head off to a favorite spot anyway. Ennis nature preserve just west and south of Mount Vernon, Iowa has an array of interesting places to explore, from a traditional forest to a little prairie to the Cedar River with its fascinating bluffs and changing water levels. Being fairly close to Palisades State Park, much of the same topology is present at Ennis.
When I arrived, the light was still flat and grey, but something about the rain brought out the colors in almost everything. In addition, the trees were soaked and had a wonderful darkness to their bark, which made the yellow/gold leaves really stand out. The challenge was how to capture this beauty without an ounce of direct sunlight.
As I was walking through the forest, leaves carpeted the floor and they all seemed to be unusually bright today. This phenomenon was due to the way light was diffused by the cloud cover, which tends to let the eye catch more of the entire frequency of colors, thus giving the impression of brightness or saturation. After studying different areas of the forest floor, I chose this area where it seemed like a diverse array of leaves and colors had presented themselves.
This image has very little post-processing, with just a bit of color enhancement and contrast. The photo is very close to how it looked in real life, so I was pleased with the outcome. Even in a soft light, there are opportunities to bring out the beauty of nature. In this case, the rain helped immensely by saturating the leaves which really brings out the colors, and using diffused light to your advantage is an important tool. So the next time there's a rainy gloomy day, don't be afraid to explore to see if colors have changed for you to capture the wonder of nature!