“Looking Into the Oak Grove” Yakima Arboretum, Washington
This image of oak trees in the Yakima Arboretum found me this spring before the Covid-19 restrictions. Luckily the Arboretum was allowed to remain open during this period. I was able to make several other visits to see the cherry tree bloom, the magnolia bloom, and the crabapple bloom. Several times I felt that I had the Arboretum to myself. It was a great time to just wander and let images come to me.
My walks through the Arboretum help me visualize what our little place in Selah could be in 15-20 years. This spring we planted five oak trees. We have spaced them out to create a grove where we will be able to watch them grow. It will take several years for them to be tall enough to support an understory of smaller trees and shrubs. In the meantime the grove will look bare, but I will be able to squint my eyes and imagine what it will be like when they mature.
Over the years, I have taken multiple courses and attended many workshops to help me improve my photography skills. I have practiced, practiced, and practiced. I have experimented with many different techniques and processing methods. Many times my images are only examples of different techniques and processes. Many lack feeling or meaning.
This year, my focus will be to purposefully attempt to create the feeling/story that I am experiencing when I click the shutter. I will attempt to use the different techniques and processes that I have learned in the past to achieve the desired end result. I will think hard each time I click the shutter on what I am trying to accomplish. I will continue to play and experiment in order to see what works and what doesn’t for a specific image. I will continue to create sketch images to explore and find interesting ways to portray what is in front of my eyes. The difference will be that I will attempt to do the above in a much more purposeful way than I have previously.
The above image is from a walk I took on a brisk winter day in the Yakima Arboretum. My friend and I had the arboretum almost to ourselves. Walking along the oak alley, I wanted to record an image depicting the strength, shape, character and size of the oak trees. I took images of the grove from a distance. I took images of individual oak trees showing their overall size and shape. I took close ups of the sun shining on the bark and leaves. Then I looked directly above me and saw everything come together into a single image: a strong trunk, the remnant leaves on the lower branches, the delicate branches extending upward to the sky. I snuggled up to the trunk and shot upward with a wide angle lens setting. I was thinking black and white to match the brisk cool temperature of a winter afternoon.