So here they are leaf's in hands, hands kindly donated by Pete 'the Jester' (bad jokes included) leaf kindly donated by the local council.
I used a Canon 5D MKII with my favorite lens (apart from my 70-200mm f.8) the Canon 50mm f1.8mm, I used this to ensure the same perspective on all the pics were the same.
A bit of back lighting from the sun
this was used to bring out the leaf structure whilst taking the background out of the picture. I use a high shutter speed because of lots of light coming into the lens, this results in loss of detail in the hand.
wanted to capture the sheen and detail of the wet leaf whilst still having the correct exposure of the background but being able to blur because of the large aperture which also added depth to the leaf as well. As it was a large aperture I had to increase the shutter speed which also helps to stop motion blur. As it was direct lighting all detail is kept in all the subject. Highlights were kept to a minimum by slightly underexposing (increase in shutter speed)
wanted to capture detail whist shaded from direct sunlight, you can just see the white shirt reflected from Pete's ample form, full detail is achieved because of the small aperture and even-ish light and as the background is uncluttered
diffused light from positioning under the donor tree this produced an even exposure of the subject lots of detail but fairly flat lighting (there was a bit if side lighting coming from behind the tree)
good contrast and colour. the leaf has good definition between the slightly under exposed background
a bit of both world showing the form of the leaf, some contrast, some highlights. Used a large (not largest) aperture to blur background whilst keeping the whole leaf in focus