A tree is not just for Christmas

Photography

The street photographer’s guide to trees.

I think trees are too much ignored. We take a picture and happen to notice a tree (or trees). We should appreciate them more. For their beauty; for their shade; for their colour; for their age; for their mystery…

Trees can provide shelter and comfort. Shade and firewood. They can be mysterious and frightening in the dark. They can also fall on you. But I have always looked at trees as works of art – in their shape, their colours, their context. Doesn’t always work out that way but I am always looking.

Trees on their own may have beauty in shape, something that draws you into them, humanly appealing, aesthetic. That of course is a human judgement. I doubt if the trees care much.

Trees interact with their surroundings, whether involved by choice or by circumstance. So I like to find that interaction and tell the story of the tree in context.

Leica Q
The trees direct the eye to the rising sun, also framed by the grain silo.
Canon 5DIII EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Two sheep, one tree. Neither interesting without the other.
Leica Q
Trees mixing with a herd of cattle. Maybe the other way around.
Canon 5DIII EF16-35mm f/4L
Street photograph (in Nice) with trees! Or perhaps trees photograph with street.
Canon 5DIII EF16-35mm f/4L
Tree. Walking around Nice, looking down to the city. But it is the tree that seeks the attention with Nice in the background, as an afterthought.
Canon 5DIII EF16-35mm f/4L
Romanesque columns in conversation with trees.

The above examples are not gobsmacking awesome photos. They show (at least to me) that trees add value. If you remove the trees the pictures lose something, if not everything.

You can apply this little rule to many photos with trees in the frame – take away the trees and the picture loses. A bit like street photography – take away the people…

What follows is my continuing journey into trees. Not five-star photos but some samples illustrating my point that trees in and of themselves can be just as interesting as a bird on the wing. To me anyway…

Film c1970
Very early days for me, but one day at the Sheepwash near Barwon Heads this tree grabbed my attention. I have had it in mind ever since. Perhaps if the wisp of cloud wasn’t there I would not see it the same.
Film c1975
And more early days at a farm near Barham in NSW. I am still in love with this tree and how it draws the eye to the old tank and shed.
Pentax Optio 550
Spotted this in Japan, standing out against the darker trunks, swaying with the other in a tango.
Pentax Optio 550
Also in Japan, with storm clouds providing atmosphere to what seems to me to be a very Japanese pose.
Canon 5DIII EF70-200mm f/4L
Storm clouds sneaking up on a tree. Tree not fussed. Seen it all before. And then some!
Leica Q
Stairs with a view, Castle Hill, Townsville.
The tree in itself is, well, just a tree. The stairs lead towards and past the tree, giving an expectation of reward at the end of the climb. The stairs would be boring without the tree and the tree on its own would just be a tree. Together they complement each other.
Leica Q
Sunset, Castle Hill, Townsville.
A beautiful sunset over Townsville being enjoyed by three young people and a tree. Each supports the other, putting one and the other into the story.
Leica Q
The survivor. Under the road to Charters Towers.
The tree is leaning away from the bridge, accepting its greater presence but refusing to concede defeat.
Canon 5DIII EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Social climber.
Canon 5DIII EF16-35mm f/4L
On the road to Melton. Ploughed field respecting the trees. Shared beauty.
Canon 5DIII EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
On the edge of the plantation.
Canon 5DIII EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Three in a row, sort of. No sheep or cows disturbing their space.
Canon 5DIII EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
But this one has company.
Leica Q
Impressionist. An old eucalyptus making its mark on the new building.
Canon 5DIII EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Graceful old age.
Canon 5DIII EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Fallen but not forgotten.
Leica Q
Smoko, Sydney.
Leica Q
Young Pin Oak, old warehouse.
Leica Q
Point Lonsdale pier. Windy day, as usual.
Leica Q
Windswept, Point Lonsdale.
Panasonic Lumix
New Zealand 2009, around Lake Tekapo.
Panasonic Lumix
Christchurch NZ, Botanic Gardens 2009. Hopefully it survived the earthquake, because it has had a very long life, obviously.
Canon 7D EF-S17-55mm f/2.8
All Saints Winery, Corowa
Canon 5DIII EF16-35mm f/4L
Geneva
Photography
I don’t shoot birds any more

I shot my first bird in 1972. I have felt bad about it ever since. Really. Machoism at end of Uni camp. But we all grow up. Continuing my journey in photography I must go where probably everyone goes when they get their first DSLR. Birds. Canon 7D with EF70-200 …

Photography
Can’t see the mono for the trees

Perhaps the title should be “Can’t see the black and white for the colour” but the trees are more relevant to this blog. I mostly shot in colour with some early B&W, until I realised that I have been missing the point. Colour photography has its place and all that …

Photography
Summer en Provence 2016

Spent a week in Seillans and Callian in Provence in the summer of 2016. Photography with Leica Q then processed to B&W using DXO PhotoLab and Lightroom.