Sunday afternoon I spotted a few interesting leaves among the many strewn along a median lawn between the street and the sidewalk. The nearest house was a stone's toss away; behind me was an empty lot and a billboard.
I got down on my knees and started to take close-up shots. At one point I noticed a man watching me, standing in front of the house down the street. I just kept concentrating on my photography.
After a while the man approached me. He asked what I was doing on “his property.” I didn't say this to him but my understanding is that the sidewalk and the median are city/public property.
Instead of getting into details about who owned what, I just explained my interest in the backlit leaves, showing him one shot on my camera's preview screen. Obviously I placed a different value on his property. To him what I was photographing was just leaves. To me it was art.
He was satisfied that I wasn't in distress or up to no good. He was just curious, not confrontational. Before the homeowner walked away, he commented that the leaves had blown over from the trees from his neighbor's yard across the street.
So it all worked out. The neighbor's leaves on his property became my images.