Earlier this week, I pulled off Spring Road in Oak Brook (a western suburb of Chicago) to capture this photograph of the woods. My car is parked just outside the left edge of the frame:
It was the color green that attracted my eye to this scene. Whenever I take pictures in a forest, I hope for overcast conditions. The clouds diffuse and soften the light. The soft light brings out the colors. Sunny conditions introduce too much contrast--and the scene is rendered far too harsh.
For this image, I secured my camera to a tripod. Stabilizing the camera allowed me to use a long 1 second exposure. The long exposure made it possible to use the camera's base ISO of 100 for maximum image quality. It also provided the flexibility to use a narrow aperture (f/10) to maximize the depth of field. Without the tripod, I would have had to make sacrifices and compromised image quality.
I also used a cable release to trigger the shutter. The mirror was locked up as well to minimize camera shake.
I attached a circular polarizing filter to my lens. This filter minimizes reflections which helps remove the sheen from the foliage. This in turn deepens the colors throughout the image.
For those wondering if post processing plays much of a role, here's a look at the picture straight out of the camera (SOOC):
From here, I adjusted the white balance, added contrast, a vignette, applied a couple of Nik Color Efex filters and sharpened the image.