The Project

My friend The Dead Tree

Calling out to me
So this is Death
African Sunrise
Cold and alone
Just Checking
Dark Thoughts and Spiders
Revisiting an Icon
A love affair Blossomed

I rediscovered photography after a very long break about 4 years ago. We were going on a long holiday and I thought I would see what all the fuss was about with "digital cameras". Wow what a revelation, instant results, I could see where I was going wrong straight away rather that wait a couple of weeks for prints to come back before I filed them in the bin. Anyway I now had a new toy (Fuji 7500) and needed to learn as much as possible about it before we ventured away on our hols. The local country park seemed the place to practice, so off I trot, fuji in hand, all keen and eager, except the park is fairly mundane, no exciting vistas, not even a hill to climb just pretty flat grassland, a couple of dead trees and a small lake. I snapped away regardless, slowly getting to grips with all the buttons and dials and realised after a few visits that I ended up a lot of the time passing a dead tree and snapping it.

The thing was, all the shots of this tree were slightly different, I started to become fascinated by it, it became my friend, the different light gave it different moods, seasons passed and the tree stood there unchanging but always slightly different. It had actually become a project without me realising it. Encouraged by friends I continued, riding the fine line between enjoyment and obsession. Most of the shots are taken at or around sunrise, I do have a proper job to get to, and it made me realise just how much the sun moves. Yes I know that it goes from East to West via straight overhead, and I did know that it moved North and South depending on the season, but after a while it really staggered me as to how much it varied during the seasons. Without realising it I had a fixed point where I could gauge the suns movement throughout the year, I even found myself planning weeks in advance where the sun would be in relation to my dead tree so that I could get the shot I was after, only to be foiled by the usual British climate day after day - dull grey cloud covered skies!

4 years have passed now, the tree is still there, I still take the occasional shot of it to add to the hundreds if not thousands that I've got already, possibly this is one of the most photographed trees there are, but what I am grateful for is the amount that this old dead tree has taught me. The way that light changes so fast, how it affects the mood, what compositions work and which just fail miserably, and how an old dead tree can bring so much enjoyment to someone.

These are some of the many shots I have now taken of this dead tree, I don't consider these my best photographs by any means but collectively they are possibly the ones the have given me the most pleasure and certainly the ones that have taught me the most.

If there is one tip I would give here it is this, appreciate what is on your doorstep, look all around you and explore it fully, you may just surprise yourself.

If you're not bored of it yet then I have a full set of this tree on Flickr:

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8 responses

  • Elise Ange

    Elise Ange gave props (27 Nov 2008):

    Great essay, loved the effects of the different lighting on your tree. Very well done!

  • Simon Kossoff

    Simon Kossoff (Deleted) gave props (27 Nov 2008):

    great story and images, my vote.

  • Zerina Phillip

    Zerina Phillip gave props (27 Nov 2008):

    God story and lovely photos too. Voted.

  • Steven Maguire

    Steven Maguire gave props (28 Nov 2008):

    Great story and images!!!

  • Katy Baxter

    Katy Baxter gave props (28 Nov 2008):

    All gorgeous shots. Especially love the first, fourth, and last in the series. Great range.

  • Karolus Naga

    Karolus Naga (Deleted) gave props (29 Nov 2008):

    preety dang cool tree ...

  • Ryan Coleman

    Ryan Coleman said (29 Nov 2008):

    Some great shots in there... I know the feeling of locking on a subject and ending up w/far too many pics of it - but mine is a bit of a nemesis... I know there's a good shot of the statue but no matter what I just can't seem to get it.

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