For some reason, trees captivate people in a way that most other subjects cannot. Trees are full of history and life; they represent wisdom, faith, and divinity. Ever since I started my career in photography, I have been completely captivated with capturing the beauty and simplicity of the amazing trees that we have found along our adventures. Here is a list of some of the most interesting trees I have had the pleasure of photographing over the last 10 years:
"Where Angels Rest"
The Angel Oak tree is located just outside of Charleston South Carolina. It is believed to be one of the oldest oak trees in the world, and some estimate it to be upwards of 1500 years old. For a sense of scale, the canopy of this massive oak tree stretches out and covers an acre of land. The 'Angel Oak' is a southern live oak tree in species. Live oaks get their name because they consistently grow new green leaves all throughout the year and continuously drop the changed leaves throughout the year. This gives the tree a fresh lime green canopy and a beautiful bed of fallen orange leaves no matter what time of year it is.
This Lacey-Leaf Japanese Maple is located in the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon. Japanese Maples vary in color throughout the year from dark burgundy to lime green, until they briefly burst into vibrant oranges and red in the autumn. I lived in Portland most of my life and have photographed this tree a dozen times. This tree reaches it peak autumn majesty for only a few days each year, so timing is everything. If you are able to time it correctly, you are treated to one of the most beautiful displays of fall color I have ever seen. The autumn color, combined with the thick moss covering the trunk of the tree, created one of the most striking color contrasts I have had the pleasure of photographing.
The Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan is in my opinion one of the most mesmerizing forests on the planet. The dense bamboo towers 30 meters up above you into the sky, and its narrow leafy tops form an arch overtop of the pathway, creating a magical tunnel of silvery lime green. The bamboo in Kyoto is unlike any bamboo that I had experienced in the United States. Unlike the emerald green, rather skinny, bamboo I'm used to in Hawaii and the rest of the U.S., the bamboo here were as wide as mature aspen trees, and had a beautiful, almost aqua coloration to their bark. My wife and I went back to this spot several times waiting for the perfect sunrise light to capture this truly amazing forest. On our final morning shooting, the golden light came intensely streaming in, giving the whole forest a golden glow. Immediately after capturing this image, a small gust of wind came through the forest, gently knocking all the bamboo together creating a giant wind chime out of the different stalks.
Aspen Forests are unique to any other kind of forest. Each tree is a clone of another, sharing identical characteristics and all connected by an incredible web of intertwining roots under the surface. We spent this past autumn out in Park City Utah to photograph these amazing trees. We were amazed at how many of them were not the familiar yellow, but rather orange or even red in color. We spent a week getting lost in the mountains, searching for the perfect grouping of trees. I loved the contrast of the intense fiery leaves against the crisp white of the bark.
The White Mountains in California are home to the oldest trees in the world. This ancient grove of Bristlecone Pines are roughly 5,000 years old. Take a minute to let that amount of time sink in. These very Bristlecones were alive and growing before the construction of the Great Pyramids in ancient Egypt. Almost every major event that one can think of does not surpass the age of this very tree, how incredible is that?
"Into the Woods"
This forest is made up of perfect rows of Poplar trees in eastern Oregon, covering over 25,000 acres. Poplars are very closely related to aspen trees, and are often mistaken for them. My wife and I woke up well before sunrise to capture this autumn forest as the morning light started to rise above the horizon.