I was going through my image files the other day and came across a photograph I had made, on film – some time ago – that I always liked. It was early in the year – around February, when I was teaching a class in Pt. Reyes National Seashore. I had just given my students an assignment to go find a small area and create 36 different pictures within that area. While I had the ‘break’, I went out on to the porch of the lodge. From there, you looked across the meadow at this stand of alder trees that lined a creek. At that time of year, the catkins were just popping on the branches, which gave the whole scene a warmth. I liked that you could still see the structure of the trees, something you can never really see once the leaves are on the trees.
Writer Barry Lopez talks about seeing the bones of the earth in winter and that’s how I look at trees – you can see their ‘bones’ when the leaves are not present. The soft light of the misty day presented a wonderful opportunity to capture all the detail I saw with my eye. I used a 300mm lens to visually compress the space between them, and an aperture that would render the trees and branches sharp. Seeing this picture again reminded me of just how much I love the shapes of trees, the texture of their bark, the seasonal effects on them. That’s why I continue to look for and photograph trees of all types, shapes and in all locations of the world. They simply fascinate me.
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