Ode To An Elm Tree

Sunrise Over The Boulder Flatirons from Doudy Draw
A great sunrise illuminates over the Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado. Winter skies over Colorado's Front Range can bring some impressive color. Combining these colors with an image of a lone Ponderosa Pine tree goes hand and hand for me and my photography. I've had a long running obsession with both photography, and imagery of tree's. Technical Details: Canon Eos 1DsIII, 24mm TS-E F3.5 II L
My never ending obsession with capturing images of tree’s continues onward. I cant exactly tell you why I enjoy photographing the shapes, forms and textures associated with trees, but it’s a never ending quest for me. In fact, my first ever published photo in my High Schools arts publication the ‘Soupstone’ was of a very large American Elm tree that resided in my front yard. This Elm tree was a giant and was located right in the center of my front yard, just 30 yards or so from my bedroom window. The tree framed my bedroom view looking west over the Hudson Valley of New York, a place where I spent many hours of my childhood staring out my window into the world. Other than the fall, when my brother and me would be tasked to rake the Elm’s tree’s leaves for weekends at a time, I held great respect for this tree. The coarse, cork like texture of the bark, the way the trunk split into two large distinct sections, or the way Winter winds howled through the swaying leafless grey branches at sunset all left very distinct memories for me.

The photograph, I had taken that day in 1990 of this tree with my Dad’s 35mm Minolta 5000i and 35-70mm lens still follows a formula I use today when photographing trees. With Kodak Tri-X black and white film loaded in the camera, I laid down at the base of the tree, opened the zoom lens as wide as it could go to 35mm, and photographed the trunk of the Elm tree rising straight towards the sky, it’s branches moving outward’s from the two distinct sections of the tree. There was something about the synergy of all those branches moving and spiraling outward, and the massive trunk of anchoring the branches that garnered my attention. Again, I had spent many days admiring this tree, but this was one of my first steps in successfully using photography to convey the feeling and reverence I had for this tree.

The recognition of this by my High School photography teacher, the publishing of the photo helped to light an insatiable desire to continue to document and photograph tree’s. Today those tree’s are much more likely to be Ponderosa Pines, Cottonwood’s or Aspen tree’s as opposed to American Elm’s, but the desire to photograph tree’s is still just as strong now as it was that day I wandered out in my front yard with Dad’s camera.