The majority of the images I share are incredibly vibrant, but the reality and beauty of the Pacific Northwest is that it isn't always sun drenched and vividly colorful. A large chunk of the year the Pacific Northwest is swathed in clouds, leaving the landscapes with a more subdued color palette.
It was a cloudy day in February, a couple of years ago now, that I wandered out to the ocean with my friend Rochelle and found this amazingly gloomy, dramatic scene with the huge yellow buoy adding a dash of color!
I've been told more than once that winter is a terrible time to go to the beach, but it happens to be one of my favorite times of year to go. It's almost never crowded with other people, no one expects you to sunbathe, and it's a complete gamble for what you'll get for weather! To me, it's worth the weather roulette!
The title for this post seems a little misleading, as I happen to know that this tree is no longer standing.
However, when it was there it was found in a field just around the corner from my dad’s workplace in Beaufort, North Carolina. This photograph was from one of the first times I ever intentionally woke up and headed to a location in time to capture the sunrise. This was almost a decade ago, but it is still one of my long-lasting favorite photographs. The dramatic clouds, vibrant colors from the sun rising, and dramatically silhouetted tree all work together to pull your eye into and around the photograph. If you look closely you’ll see a little strip of fog rising from the ground and a sliver of a moon hovering above it all.
These trees seem like they could tell so many stories if we could communicate with them! Something about the curved way that they grew up and then over, standing guard at the entrance makes me think that they would be fun storytellers.
These fantastic trees can be found at the entrance of Ryukyu Mura, which is a park sharing and celebrating traditional culture in Okinawa. If you ever visit Okinawa I would recommend checking it out!
These fantastic trees were found on a trip where my friends and I were ghosted by a ghost town!
As a side note, I'm not really a plant nerd, but I am a photo nerd, and I adore finding unusual and beautiful things and places in this world. When I learned (or maybe re-learned) about larch trees recently I got really excited! You see larch trees look like evergreens through the spring and summer, but then in the fall the needles turn golden yellow and they fall off like leaves. Apparently they are also called tamarack trees.
Anyways, back to the ghost town... we headed over to Montana from Spokane to find Taft, a ghost town that was once referred to as "The Wickedest City in America". As we were driving through the mountains I got really excited to see the larch trees, as I thought you had to do a pretty intense hike into the Enchantments in order to see (and thus photograph) them! We took the exit for Taft, then drove around a bit on the gravel roads in the area, searching for the ghost town. In all of our searching we came up empty handed, then finally headed up one last gravel road to check out an incredibly long bike trail tunnel. While we were at the tunnel there was an information board that included a panel about the ghost town, Taft! Come to find out the few surviving abandoned buildings of Taft were razed for the construction of the interstate in 1962!
So to sum up our adventure, I got really excited about some trees and we were ghosted by a ghost town.
I gasped when I spotted this tree stump, completely in awe of the beauty in the midst of decay. There are the gnarled knots, holding on the longest, while moss still thrives on what is left of what had to be a sizable tree, all offset by the changing autumn leaves reflected on the lake. Beautiful, and decaying.
Decay has so many negative connotations to me, I think of it as a word to describe things haven’t been cared for properly or something that happens after an item is discarded, but this tree stump made me stop for a moment and acknowledge that decay can be beautiful and that it is something that naturally occurs.
This fantastic tree was found at Lake Crescent, Washington, which is part of Olympic National Park.
Arches National Park has so many beautiful and iconic landscapes, but when the sun was setting this tree was what caught my eye.
The red rocks on the horizon were somehow turned to shades of lavender in the setting sun, softer than the desert is known to be. The tree contradicts the softness of the landscape, showing how hard had to toil to survive.
Even though this tree may not still be alive, it is still fantastic.
Are you a big picture person or someone who prefers to focus on the details?
Most days when I'm taking photos I feel like I'm either in big picture mode or small details mode. The location usually dictates what mode I'm in. I was visiting Ecola State Park last winter and it was definitely a big picture kind of day. Ecola State Park looks out over the Oregon coast, with a great vista that overlooks Cannon Beach and the famous Haystack Rock. While climbing around to see the sweeping views of the beach, I looked down and focused on the small details long enough to notice the beauty in the small details of this fantastic tree.
When I visited Hawaii I was able to stay with my aunt on the Big Island of Hawaii, and she was kind enough to be our tour guide throughout our stay! She showed us all sorts of stunning places on the island. One day while hiking to Akaka Falls we walked past this banyan tree. I was completely in awe of the sheer scale of the tree. I kept backing up and backing up to attempt to get the entire tree to fit in the frame of my camera. While photographing it I kept thinking about how long it has been steadily growing, reaching outward and then grounding itself downward.
Banyan trees are not native to Hawaii, but they thrive in the climate there, growing to massive sizes!
Fun fact: Banyans are strangler figs. They grow from seeds that land on other trees. The roots they send down smother their hosts and grow into stout, branch-supporting pillars that resemble new tree trunks.
I'm sure it will come as a complete shock to you that you can find fantastic trees at an arboretum. Especially when the word arboretum means "a botanical garden devoted to trees".
That reminds me of the scene from "The Devil Wears Prada" where Miranda Priestly responds "Florals? For spring? Ground-breaking.". Even if it isn't ground-breaking in the least, Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle does indeed have a plethora of fantastic trees to be found within the 230-acre park.