Leaf Quilt


30Oct2015

Quilting was a way of life in much of America, but today the southern Appalachians are one of the few places where it is still done. Beyond providing warmth on cold nights, patterns are passed down through families and stitched together in quilting bees that are an amazing example of collaborative art.

I see a parallel in the leaves that change color on cool autumn nights, forming a natural quilt. These patterns are only visible when showing the patches of color rather than the individual trees.

I realized in thinking about how to capture this that my usual wide angle landscape lens would not provide the right view. I chose an extreme telephoto, since this would compress and flatten the scene. I found a colorful ridge and positioned myself slightly above it, waiting until just before sunset when the rich evening light enhanced the color. The angle I chose provided just enough shadow to give the trees a three-dimensional look. This is the forest’s tapestry, a blanket of color with a pattern stitched every year by sun, wind, rain and frost, the abstract art of nature.