Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Trees

This week, Ann-Christine asks us to share our favorite images of trees. Truly I have some favorite shots and a favorite tree (that I will likely never see in real life again.) That’s a story I will share in a bit. Before wintering in Arizona, I’d only known mesquite as a product available in wood chips that are burned in a smoker for a delightfully flavorful cut of meat. This fast growing drought-tolerant species is quite at home in the Sonoran Desert. I love how it’s branches take numerous “jags” as they grow. In the opening photo, an old Chilean Mesquite tree is silhouetted by the setting sun.

I even planted one of these in our front yard in Arizona, but due to my lack of knowledge, I didn’t realize how quickly they grow and how it soon overshadowed our small front yard and started impinging upon our neighbor’s roof line. I decided, sadly, to remove it. I’ve replaced it with a much slower growing oak.

This giant sycamore tree planted itself under a rock ledge that got in its way as it grew skyward. No matter, she simply bent her trunk outward and upward past the ledge that might have stunted her growth. You can just see the tip of the ledge in the top right of the photo.In northern Minnesota, there are as many forests as there are lakes, probably more. This road in the Tamarack Wildlife Refuge is shielded by rows of trees. I found it interesting how the trees leaned toward the road making the beginnings of a forest canopy. My last two images feature an isolated tree just off a public beach in Hawaii. It’s time for the story I promised at the beginning of this post.

In 2013, while visiting Kealia Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, I spotted an unusual tree. Something about the old and weathered nature of this elderly beauty spoke to me. What caused its spine to bend and twist almost to falling over? How many trade winds permanently bent its branches away from the prevailing breezes? The photo isn’t perfect by any means, I’m especially not happy that I cut off the branches at the far right. I confess to being in a hurry to frame those two walkers on the beach inside the natural “window” frame. Nonetheless, I decided that this image would look nice above our fireplace in Fargo and I had a 40×60 inch (1.06 x 1.52 m) canvas print made that now resides in our living room.

In 2018, my daughter and her family visited Kauai and before they left, I mentioned that the tree that is the subject of the photo over the fireplace was taken near where they would be staying. They made it a point to find that tree and brought home a photo that framed my daughter and grandson in the tree just as I’d done with those beach walkers some five years earlier. i noticed from their photo that one of the small branches on the right had been cut off at some point. That old tree endures and is the embodiment of those words that Alfred Joyce Kilmer wrote over a century ago, “…I think I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”

John Steiner

6 thoughts on “Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Trees

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