Simply Tree

Tree & Grass 1b
Simply Tree

I loved this photo even before I took it. What caught my eye were the strong lines in the mown grass and the minimalism of the lone tree on a hillside.

But this photo is all about framing the shot. The photo hasn’t been overly photoshopped, and yet the photo doesn’t reflect reality.

From this angle, the massive shopping center that sits all around this tree magically disappears. The photo was taken at a busy intersection in a built-up area of the city not far from Ferguson. I’m actually standing in a parking lot for an auto body shop shooting through a chain link fence. But this photo looks for all the world like it was taken on one of my country drives.

I simply framed the photo with the business of the city out of shot.

Photography is about seeing possibilities in the world that no one else sees. Most people drive by this tree on the way somewhere, not really looking at the shopping center’s landscaping. Gardeners may notice the heavy ridges in the mown grass and might not be too impressed. This tree is nothing special, there are 100s around.

I’ve discovered a love of trees that I didn’t know I had before I started photographing landscapes and nature. But tree photography is tricky. Most of us are surrounded by trees, it seems that the photographic possibilities would be endless – and yet not every tree photographs well. I’ve driven far and wide to visit and  re-visit photogenic trees.

The tree must have something special: something in it’s shape or in this case, it’s context (isolated on a grassy hill). Sometimes other trees get in the way or there is no separation between the tree as subject and the other trees as background. This is why autumn can be such a great time to photograph trees, the color provides separation.

I returned to this tree throughout the year and discovered it again in the fall and the winter.


Photo taken in Jennings, Missouri (St. Louis). Taken with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V.

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