The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

The nice thing about photographing trees is that they’re more cooperative than most other living things. They don’t whine like teens. They don’t move from the perfect pose to sniff at the lens like dogs. They don’t photobomb like idiots. Even when trees do move, or their parts at least, the effect can still be pleasing.   Below: The wind rustles autumn leaves while the photographer -me – uses a too slow shutter speed. It was a mistake but one I was okay with.

Autumn leaves, Drytown, CA

The trees of autumn, like the one above, are among the most popular subjects, for their riotous colors; the different flavors of reds, oranges, yellows and brown.  While I’m not going to pass up a photo of autumn’s arboreal splendor I do find myself particularly taken with the old and gnarled and the dying and the dead trees.

“There were cracked head stones, dead flowers and weeds coming through the ground. Even the trees looked lifeless.” –The Body By the Tree – Author: Yawatta Hosby

What better place to find gnarled trees than at a cemetery.  Below are two views of gnarled trees taken at the Silver Terraces Cemetery in Virginia City.



“The old dead trees are the most fascinating – the countless trees lying in the gullies and up the hills that fell perhaps a century ago, pulling up their roots from the earth as they toppled….As grey as tombstones in a cemetery they lie there, having outlasted generations of farmers, as they’ll outlast me. In their own way they are as beautiful, more beautiful, than living trees.” ~ Phillip Adams, Australian humanist

Trees have a continual battle with the elements. They survive the heat of summer and the chill of winter.
“By the morning the winter trees are iced as thickly as the Christmas cake frosting. Yesterday they were rough twigs, their beauty having fallen to the ground in autumn. Today they capture the eye and raise the spirit; today they are living art, regal in the brilliant sun-rays.” ~ Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari,

Snow on a young tree. Lake Tahoe, NV

In Yellowstone National Park the trees have another more relentless foe, the hot springs.  Below are two images of trees at Cistern Springs in the Norris Geyser Basin.

“In the distance he could see the remnants of a dead forest, the dark trees lining the horizon like foot soldiers ready for battle.” ~ Nicholas Sansbury Smith

At Yellowstone’s Mammoth Geyser Basin, the continual flow of steaming water and buildup of limestone eventually buries the trees. Below the tops of trees peek out from the limestone formations of the basin.   

This post is my contribution to this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.  To view Cee’s contribution and those of other photographers please follow the link to Cee’s site.

7 thoughts on “Trees

  1. Jane Fritz says:

    Simply fabulous, Paulie. As usual!

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Jane!

  2. eden baylee says:

    Great pics, Paul!

    Our trees are covered in snow at the moment, and it may be staying for good. The weather is below zero now.
    Winter is here. FUCK!

    Have a super week,

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Eden. Glad you enjoyed them.
      Hmm, should I take your comment to mean that a few months of snow has lost it’s charm? I spent years trying to cajole my wife into moving to Montana. I suppose I fancied myself to be a latter day Norman Maclean, fly fishing and writing. Sub zero weather and shoveling snow never occurred to me. Thankfully my wife dug in her heels and told me that if I really wanted to go I could and she would visit me during the summer. So here we are, still in the Bay Area. Hell, I don’t even know how to fly fish.
      If it’s any consolation the winter solstice arrives in less than a week and the days will start getting longer again.
      You have a great week also,

      1. eden baylee says:

        Hahah, winter and snow held charm for me until I was ten.That was a looooong time ago.

        I despise the cold, so I’m with your wife!


  3. Teresa says:


    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you so much Teresa.

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