I talk a lot about keeping it simple and making sure that a photo is focused on a subject. This photo seems to break those rules. The background is busy and can be distracting. But the perfectly shaped leaf lying on top of the mess seems to grab your attention and draw your eye to it.

Autumn leaf on busy background of other dried leaves.

 

What makes it stand out?

When I was framing the photo, I realized the confusion in the background could enhance the main subject because it was pretty much one color with a lot of texture. So I allowed it to form an elaborate frame within a frame. I took advantage of a ray of sunlight through the trees above that created a spotlight on the foremost leaf. Then, I let nature take its course. The distinctive color and the shape of the leaf seem to emerge from the background and attract attention, thus catching your eye despite the confusion in the background.