"A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart." -- Hal Borland
However, trees are more than just color. Think of the myriad of forms and the different times of the year that a deciduous tree can look so different, and the arrangement of branches makes a species identifiable in the field. When I was a forestry student, we had to identify at least 75 species of trees and shrubs by their leaves, fruit, buds, bark, etc., and of course also know their Latin names. That course was a lot of fun, and also quite challenging. I have never regretted any of those hands-on field classes in botany and zoology. All have been a part of my world since, and while I may not always know what a plant or an insect is, I know how to find out. My point is, that you have two eyes, yet many people don't know how to look. As a photographer, you should be seeing more than just the forest -- you also need to pick out the trees. Seeing and understanding what you are seeing makes for a better image. Deciphering the scene before you press the shutter button can result in a more meaningful image. I'm not saying I do that all the time, but when I do, I know that I am more in control of the final result on film or the sensor.
Sometimes, the shapes of the trees just resonate with me, and it's just using my intuition and imagination that propels me through the creative process. I immerse myself in the little world of that place and time, and sometimes, I come away with some great images. But it's not all about the image -- being in the woods -- in the moment -- with nature, is a refreshing connection with the earth. I always felt some connection, and it's taken me years to appreciate just how essential that connection is to well-being and to creativity.
"To really feel a forest canopy one must use different senses, and often the most useful one is the sense of imagination." -- Joan Maloof
Lately, I have been more captivated with trees and their shapes, and here in North Carolina, the trees in the mountains can exhibit some fantastic shapes. I hope to get a portfolio together in the next year or two and see where that obsession goes.
"I often lay on that bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches. It was particularly fine at night with the stars above the tree." -- Georgia O'Keeffe
Here is a small selection of my images that showcase trees. I hope that you enjoy them.