Light From Behind
Some days the best shot comes from first impressions and I was struck by these orange leaves set against dark trees, as soon as I saw them. I liked how the stem leans over to the right and the dark trunk behind curves left. I opened the aperture to give separation from the background, yet the resulting bright bokeh balls provide some connection to the subject.
I did get another shot against a more abstract background, but from that perspective the leaf stem was vertical and not so interesting. However, the straight vertical trunk directly behind the leaves in this shot provides a contrasting direction as well as a dark backdrop.
It was a challenge to select the light areas only at the top of the frame in order to reduce contrast, without impacting the leaves. I felt it important to deter the eye from exiting in that direction.