Close up of peeling white bark
England,  Squares,  Themed galleries,  Wildlife and nature

Gallery: barking up the wrong tree?

Photographing a tree, a complete tree, can be a challenge. Stand back to get it all in the frame and perhaps other trees may block your view, or the drama of the tree’s size be lost within the bigger picture. Sometimes you can capture its strength best by stepping closer and focusing on the details.

On a recent visit to Shropshire I decided to do just that, looking for pleasing shapes within the contours of the bark. And on my return home I trawled through my archives to find more such images, some from near home and some from further afield. Squared, they make the ideal offering for Becky’s July Squares theme.

Mainly in these shots I am exploring the texture of the bark and the way that the light falling on it creates patterns and even images within the image. But I’ve also thrown in a few oddities for fun!

I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.

Edward Steichen
Twisted tree root against bark

The roots of one tree are entwined with the trunk of another in Cardingmill Valley, Shropshire

Moss on a tree trunk

A fallen tree in Cardingmill Valley, Shropshire

Gnarled tree trunk

An eye in the bark? Shropshire woodland

Close up of peeling white bark

Silver birch – an Ealing street tree

Flaking tree bark grey, yellow and red

The bark of another Ealing street tree after rain

Bright yellow lichen on a tree trunk

Lichen glowing yellow on a tree in Walpole Park, Ealing

Pale green lichen on a tree trunk

Elsewhere in the park the lichen is a soft green

Ridged tree bark

The bark of this tree reminds me of rock formations in the dry canyon country of the US southwest, but it’s just around the corner in the same Ealing park

Battered tree trunk with sparkling water behind

A tree washed up on the shore of Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula, WA

Large tree trunks on a beach

And more huge tree trunks at Rialto Beach, also on the Olympic Peninsula

Close up of bark with small white resin dots

White spots of resin oozing from a frankincense tree in Oman

Large green bamboo trunks

Does bamboo count as a tree when it’s as tall as this? Taken in Arashiyama, Kyoto

And I promised you a few oddities:

Tree trunk carved into a bearded face

A face in the trees – a wood carving in a Shropshire wood

Small plastic dinosaur on a fallen tree trunk

Strange beasts appeared on Ealing Common during lockdown, spring 2020

The Ealing photos were taken between 2017 and 2020, and the Shropshire ones in 2021; I travelled to Japan in 2013, Washington State in 2017 and Oman in 2019

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