I’ve been taking pictures of trees for over fifty years. Now I take photographs of trees.
My education and training is in caring for and preserving trees. I look at a tree different. I understand how a tree works; how a huge oak limb can defy gravity and stretch out eighty feet without falling; how a leaf can take in sunlight and change it into nutrients; why leaves turn color and drop in the fall and how leaves clean the air we breathe. How can I translate that into laymen terms to easily understand?
Trees are user friendly. Everyone has an experience with trees in their lifetime yet take trees for granted. Trees provide lasting memories. Of cool shade on a hot summer day, of a child’s first encounter with a squirrel, a big old tree near their home or the leaves collected for a school project. Trees, in short, are priceless. Trees conserve the soil and protect water supplies. They absorb carbon dioxide and put out oxygen. They cool neighborhoods and shelter homes so we use less energy. They add value to our homes. Forests provide habitat for millions of species that are integral parts of our ecosystem.
I’ve found that taking a photograph of a tree is not easy. They’re so big and often grow in clusters. But I found going under the tree, finding oddities and twists and turns of the limbs can be interesting. The deep furrows of a Live Oak are there for a reason. A hole in a tree can be home to wildlife or a place for a spider to set its trap. An open pine cone with the seeds long gone could be a piece of art.
So while I focus my photographs on trees, the tree may become a supporting player in the photograph. Birds & other wildlife often enter the picture and become the leading character of a photograph. Sunlight, rain, storms and wind provide an interesting and ever changing environment for trees to live in. Trees are contrasts in the morning vs evening, Spring vs Fall and rain vs the heat of the day.
While trees stand for hundreds of years they are not static as they grow and sway with the forces of nature. They stand guard over homes as silhouettes of the night yet can become instant dangers during storms.
If only a three hundred year old tree could talk imagine what would it say?