What is amazing is to see a ring of huge redwoods that started out as sprouts around the 'parent' tree. The parent tree has completely disappeared...and it takes a long time for a standing redwood to rot away. So the sprouts are somewhere around 1000 years old (give or take 500), and the parent tree might have lived that long, or longer. The sprouts are genetically the same tree as the parent tree, so it could be argued that they are 2000+ years old.
This photo is from 1986 and the redwood had fallen within about ten years of this photo. Now the trunk is an elevated forest -- no space to walk (or lay) on it anymore (The wood imp might still be there, but I never saw her again...;) )
PS -- thanks, Bill. I have been photographing along this section of creek for over 30 years...never tire of it...always something new.
That's wonderful, Vaughn. I absolutely worship trees and would be happy to spend the rest of my life underneath one. They are indeed magical, and many people must think so, because it seems the main subject of interest in many circles. (I think).
Aside from what Cindy Sherman said, I will never tire from looking at pictures of trees. Nev-Ver!
And, right now I'm a hapless urban dweller that longs for the forests again. So, I have to get mine by proxy. :)
I do have my favorite trees that I enjoy visiting during the 35 or so years I have been photographing there. I have seen some of my favorite maples die and fall...the big-leaf maple in the first image of the five I posted has lost one of the two trunks, but the vine maples in the last image still dance around the redwood each Fall. Redwoods have fallen to open up large areas to the light, and I have seen areas of light slowly fill in. As Cliveh seemed to ask, does spending that much time studying the light and the landscape in a particular place allow one to make more meaningful images of that place? Could anyone see any difference with a photo(s) taken by someone just 'passing through'? My ego would like to think so, but it would depend on the skills and insight (and luck) of the visitor, too.
But I also enjoy photographing in the desert, and this is a different approach to photographing a tree, it has created its own 'ecosystem' that I thought it was important to represent:
(Death Valley, 8x10 platinum print)
Somehow, I seem to always take pictures of things in their shadows. Perhaps I'm always looking down at my feet (I have a walking problem).
RE: imperiled trees - I just finished reading The Man Who Planted Trees by Jim Robbins. It's about an eccentric gentleman who believes his calling in life is to clone "Champion Trees", i.e., the biggest, broadest exemplars of their species. Not a real page turner, but it's good to know some of the wackos in the world are doing positive things.
I treat trees as if they were people. If an old, fat tree can stand its own in the middle of an empty field, then no need to add any more. If a skinny sapling is better off in the company of friends, then let it be so. However, in the end if a tree or group of trees fail to add anything to the composition or leave your shot a mess of confusing twigs, then I'll either move to a better spot or forget it altogether.