My love affair with trees first started about 3 years ago. Devi, my dear young friend and I, were laying on a blanket at the Camden Green as many people do in the summer. We were having an esoteric discussion as usual. I leaned back lying flat on the ground and looked up at the stately maple. The dappled light and gently swaying leaves were mesmerizing. I felt myself ‘becoming one with the trees’ in a way that can only be described as a spiritual experience. It was healing and calming, and exhilarating – all at once. Since then, while hiking or even just walking around my yard, I stop and connect with individual trees, breathing in their majesty and stately beauty. Flowers give me an up close and personal view of the world, trees, a much bigger picture.
Arriving in San Diego for a winter stay, the palms caught my eye immediately. Palm trees remind me of languid vacations and bright sunny beaches, the best of the years spent with my husband in Mexico. They are a strong, righteous bunch, with a free spirit. I made a beeline to Balboa Park and the Palm Gardens first chance I got and stayed gawking and clicking away in what looks to me like a Primeval Forest. A photo shoot in Palm Gardens was later planned with musician Valerie McElroy. (See Primeval Forest on my portfolio site.)
But it was on my way into Balboa Park from 5th Street and Laurel, just before the bridge on El Prado, that I fell head over heels and breathlessly in love. Well … you’ll see what I mean. Anyone who knows me well, knows I have a thing for texture and abstract art. But to find it together in natural sculptural design was completely unexpected and exciting!
Above: Gandalf Australian Tea Tree
Each time I tour around Balboa Park ( I think I have been there at least four times so far ), I find new and fascinating trees to photograph. Like the ones below with roots the are mostly above ground: Moreton Bay Fig.
And the camelias; trees or bushes? No matter, still captivating in all their delicate glory.
Above: The Lily Pond at El Prado and the Botanical Building. One of the most photographed places in the country. At the Botanical Garden, you can see a Loulu Lelo palm. It is one of a species almost extinct in the wild except for a three-acre patch on a small island in Hawaii.
As I continue my stay here on the west coast, I find and connect with amazing specimens, characters in their own right, each with their own personality. These California Pepper trees are actually Peruvian pepper trees, entering California around 1825. It’s where we get the pink pepper berries we love to include in still life imagery.
The stories they could tell, and really, do tell.
“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life”. – Hermann Hesse.
“What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?” ― Pablo Neruda
I could not find the name of the flowering trees I photographed at Lake Murray, pictured at the top of this post. Does anyone know what they are?
Flowering trees were shot with the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I will have more fun with this lens when I get home to Maine and start photographing flowers and still life. It’s a cool lens that is just fun to play with. The random results one gets with the circular light effect is exciting! Manual focus only. It’s relatively easy to find a used one in good condition.