This picture was taken using my Canon Rebel T5i using my 15-55mm lens while I was on the Alpine Trail and deep into the forest preserve. I was way down in the holler when I came across the tree, and my mind started to wander off about how to describe this tree’s story. I felt that by making this tree the primary subject, I could highlight the cycle of life in the forest. So, with that in mind, I selectively processed the picture to bring out the atmosphere I remembered, and the colors I saw. The end result is clear: the fallen tree’s highlighted well, and its story can now be told.
When I take my stills I try to capture the image in a way that will prompt my memory of that time. The atmosphere, the feelings, the smells. All of that can be conveyed in a picture. A good capture is one that not only prompts your own memory, but is one that your targeted audience can have some sort of understanding about as well. Above all, as a photographer, it is your duty to create an understanding of the scene your are capturing.
There’s a common saying I’ve heard many times. “If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” I believe that although we aren’t around, life still continues. The sounds of the forest, happy and go-lucky, gay and unstrained by the toils of this life, will continue. Life begins, is lived out, and dies on a day-by-day basis, and yet, we humans only get to see this once in a while when we venture into nature.
This tree was once a mighty White Oak tree which is native to this region, and has a life span of over 450 years. The tree was a young one at the time when the trunk was split violently as you observe in the picture. After taking the still, I walked up to inspect the area, and I concluded that I believe lightning had shattered the trunk. There were blackened marks all over the tree.
The tree was quite tall, and it’s trunk stretched a good 15 feet beyond the end of the camera frame where it broke off, and what had remained tumbled down into another holler. There is had laid. The lifeless trunk, no more a tree than a decaying object. Surrounded by abundant life the mighty Oak’s remains laid there; a casualty of life. Who knows how old the beauty was when its life was snuffed. Fifty year old? One hundred and fifty years old? One can only imagine.
However, in death there is life in the forest. The tree brought forth life in its tragedy. Mushrooms had sprouted all along the trunk, and a colony of termites made their home in the once removed root system. I took my knife and cut into the wood, and there inside, were worms and other insects. Life had sprung up below the fallen giant too. The remains of biomaterial had fertilized the forest floor, and new foliage was shooting up from the forest floor.
The Cycle of the forest is a never ending plight. Life begins, and is lived, and dies without a thought; without a word. Resolute in its task it continues its path to thrive; flourishing in the process. There’s room for all kind; obliging the sapling, and the fern, and the insect to live in unison amongst the Oaks. And when death comes, silently, the succession continues, and the forest, remains.
In conclusion, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap, or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them, are you not much more valuable than they?.. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”~ Matthew 6:25-26,34; ESV