"I was experimenting with backlighting in this image as the combination of sunlight and spring colours made the leaves glow." Simon Cobb
Initial Thoughts from the Reviewer
I have mixed feelings about this photo. Overall it’s a nice photo and I like how you captured the light and colours. But what I miss is a creative point of view. The frame is completely filled with leaves and different colours and that’s totally fine however, shooting from another angle or concentrating on one detail, one leaf or just the upper part of the current image would make this photo really stand out as shown below.
Another thing that confuses me is the strange focus. Your focus is on one small spot - the bright leaf in the background (within the blue box below) and because of that most of the image is slightly blurred. Wider focus and deeper DOF (bigger f-stop number means deeper depth of field and wider focus. Ie, f/8) would work much better.
Such a large amount of light on this leaf is not leaving any space for textures and when you’re photographing leaves textures and colours are everything. I understand it is complicated to get a blurred background without messing up focus when you have so many layers of leaves but there are some tricks you can use to make sure you don’t miss any details and I would advise you, and others, to give them a go next time you're out in nature.
Leaf Photography Tips First, use manual focus. That’s the safest way to get a clear and sharp image with focus on everything that’s important to you.
Manual focus is something that can be used on DSLR's and there's usually a button somewhere on the camera/lens to quickly enable/disable it. Once you enable it, look through the camera and adjust focus until the part of image you want focused is crystal clear. Once that's done you don't have to worry if the leaf moves slightly as it will stay focused. ISO is another thing you should care about. Your ISO (400) is rather high for this environment and it looks like you used ISO as a main tool to achieve a shallow depth of field. ISO 100 would be much more appropriate for the amount of light you have and you could then use exposure to get the amount of light and DOF you want without losing the sharpness.