It’s starting to feel like Spring and what better way to celebrate than getting out into the fresh air to hug some trees! Nature has a way of persuading us to leave the comfort of a warm sofa and brave the elements – the first sighting of Spring lambs, for example – aahhh!! ,
and the promise of some stunning country views and the trees – there they are again – they just seem to weather anything winter throws at them.
After Spring comes Summer, for some of us a chance to sit under a shady tree and do a spot of fishing,
while others prefer to sit outside and contemplate the trees in the far distance, or silhouetted against a glorious sunset.
Photography makes you more observant – it’s a fact! You start to see everything in a new light (no pun intended!) – new angles, interesting juxtapositions, the way shadows fall, including your own! and how colours interact. Old hands tell you to look carefully, but not just in front of you. No! Look up! Look down! Look around! And this is never more important than when you are photographing a tree. Some have exposed roots at your feet, then there’s the lacework of leaves swaying overhead. Some are laden with nuts and some have nests tucked away in the upper branches. I always feel I should be able to identify more trees. Can you identify a tree from its bark? or its shape in the distance?
Ah, but what if I were a tree? Autumn would be the season I would enjoy most. Bedecked in that stunning autumn foliage – it must be like getting ready to go to the ball – and to choose from that palette of bronzes, gingers, rusts, corals, ochres and russets. I don’t understand those evergreens – they just refuse to get dressed up !
Trees are there for us all – human or not – kids climb them, big cats use them as pantries, small cats stalk along their branches to hunt birds (as if!), people sit under their shady branches, lovers etch their initials in the bark, they provide us humans with food, timber to build a house, firewood to keep us warm – and for the animal kingdom it’s much the same – cover, habitat, stores to see them through hibernation. Quite apart from all that, trees are beautiful to look at at: whether it’s a solitary oak spreading its branches in the middle of a field or a whole forest, dense and mysterious and a bit scary. Dense forests have been the setting for fairy tales and stories with speaking trees, trees with magic powers, trees that walk and scare us to death! Very often you can look at part of a tree and see in it someone or something – and some are just so old and gnarled they seem to have their life story written into the bark for us to read.
What do you see here?
And so to Winter. Trees make an excellent subject to photograph in winter – the images you capture can be really atmospheric – bare branches, stark against the winter sky. Even a fallen tree has a beauty to it – the way it is slowly but inescapably being reclaimed by lichen, forest ferns and fungus and decomposing back into the soil that once nurtured it.
There is such a variety of trees. Gardeners say there is a tree to suit any garden, whatever climate it is subject to and whatever size it is – so no excuse! we could all have one!
And if I were a tree? Maybe an oak but I can’t really be a tree so I’ll do the next best thing and plant one.