Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I love trees. No, I'm not a "treehugger" (although my friends would probably say I look and smell like one), but I do have a great respect for them. "Respect? Huh?" Yep, you heard me: respect. Didn't your mom ever tell you to respect your elders? Well, if mom was right, then trees deserve oceans of respect. They live a heckuva lot longer than we do, and some of them, like the bristlecone pines in the western US, are the oldest living things in the world, many being well over four thousand years old. (I bet the Vikings still had a crappy quarterback even then.)

But it's not just their long life that deserves respect. Trees do an incredible service to the entire planet by converting carbon dioxide, a harmful greenhouse gas, into life-affirming oxygen. Furthermore, they provide habitat for a plethora of life forms, as well as building material and a heat/fuel source for people the world over since time immemorial. And, who hasn't had fun in a tree house at one time or another? Or swung from a rope tied to a tree limb and leapt into the water?

By now I think you get my point: trees are pretty darn nifty, and I love 'em.

For a photographer though, especially a nature photographer, there is another, even more beloved aspect of trees: they way they look. They are among the most photogenic subjects in nature. Browse through the gallery of just about any nature photographer, and you will see images of trees. Ansel Adams? Yep. Jim Brandenburg? You betcha. Marc Adamus? Naturally. And yours truly? Of course!

So you can be sure that I was tickled pink when I (or rather, my assistant) spotted this tree in the rainforest of St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands. I had driven right past this tree countless times, but never did it look like this. For some reason, its bark displayed colors that I've never seen in any tree. Maybe it's something in the air? Beats me. All I know is that it's probably the most interesting tree trunk I've ever seen. I spent quite awhile trying different compositions and waiting for the lizards to stop in the right spot. This shot is the best of the bunch. I'm not posting a larger version to my main galleries just yet, because I plan on returning and getting an even better shot. I'll post the results when I'm done.

Till then, take care. And go plant a tree. ^_^

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