Early in my photography days (black and white film, darkrooms, class seminars – happy days!), I took photographs of tree bark, among other things. I found bark fascinating, but difficult to capture effectively. In response to one of those photographs, my professor (Bernie Freemesser) asked me a question that was like a lightning bolt. “Where’s the LIGHT, Nancy?”
Photography is about light. The photograph in question was a mass of flat greys.
I haven’t studied bark closely for a long time, but last week on one of our morning walks, I was struck by the beauty of a madrona tree in our neighborhood. For several years, I’ve walked past this tree and it’s neighbors almost daily. I usually notice them most when their blooms cascade all over the ground. Last week I got an unplanned closer look to this tree’s trunk while avoiding a big truck on the road, and I was struck by it’s complex beauty.
Click on images to enlarge
Certainly, madrona bark is more colorful than doug fir bark, and these images take advantage of that (as well as not being in black and white). And being taken with an iPhone also doesn’t give an image the best chance of high quality. In these, the light is still subtle and a little flat. Nevertheless, this tree stuck me with it’s sensuous beauty, and I took some quick pictures.
And taking quick, casual pictures is something I gave my self permission to do a long time ago. Bernie might not have approved, but they give me a lot of pleasure.