Yesterday’s post of papery dried hydrangeas were a study in the delicate graces of nature. In today’s post we will gravitate to the other extreme for a closer look at thick, strong texture – namely tree bark. I’m no stranger to photographing tree bark – I do it all the time because I am fascinated by the grooves and knots that give a tree its individual character. Examining tree trunks in black and white allows the eye to travel easily through the woven texture of bark – the curves, waves, bits of lichen all create a masterpiece. I’ve collected pictures of tree trunks from my travels and when I become adept at designing knit patterns, I think it would be fabulously fun to design a collection of cabled, textured pieces inspired by the tree bark of my favorite trees. That will be a way down the road, but in the meantime, here are some shots from the trees that share home with me that I took over the weekend.
The squirrels love to sit on this protruding knot of the big walnut tree. I believe the squirrels are under the impression that this “chair” was created just for them. They’ll perch there while shelling walnuts, or scratching, or enjoying a bit of sunbathing.
An exposed tree root has a weathered, smooth surface with a multitude of cracks giving it interest. Note the way the root curls back on itself – it looks like the back of a crocodile.
In contrast, a close up of the tree’s trunk reveals rough wavy bark. The left side has a loose, shaggy appearance, but the right side is composed of more dense, narrow ridges.
This tree knot captured my imagination because when I transposed it to black and white, you can kind of imagine a face in the knot, like a barn owl. (It works best if you stand at some distance, squint, and use your imagination).
The next time you’re outside on a hike, shut your eyes and experience the environment with your other senses. Feel the roughness of tree bark, the smooth rock, the heat of sun, the delicate beauty of flower petals. Listen to what’s around you – bird and insect song, rustling grasses in the wind, water gurgling. Smell the landscape – do you smell the metallic zing of wet rock or the soft scent of wildflowers? Can you detect the nearby stream by the water’s smell? You’ll soon find each place you visit feels entirely unique and special beyond what you can see with your eyes. And don’t forget to take pictures to remember your experience in color …. and in black and white for an entirely different perspective!
Be sure to visit Woodland Gnome’s blog Forest Garden for her beautiful photos of the challenge.
Blessings to you,
Beautiful prose and your photos are so expressive, too. I saw the barn owl right away before I even read your description. The power of B/W!
What a wonderful owl’s face you have captured! An all around beautiful post, Sarah 😉 B&W really brings out the interesting shapes and forms hiding in the trees.