Stormy Red Oak
Virginia

Stormy Red Oak

20×24 prints are $1,250
30×40 prints are $2,500

The hardwood forests of the Eastern forests are probably my favorite subject to photograph. There are hundreds of species of trees situated in some of the most mountainous terrain. In the autumn, no two moments are alike, as the trees constantly change colors and the light changes.

We encountered this huge Oak tree in the midst of a stormy day. While the wind posed a significant problem, I could see that the colors and shapes of the tree and the surrounding forest had real photographic potential. We set up the 8x10” camera, using a 48” lens with two extended camera bodies and two tripods. After carefully composing the image and focusing, we waited for a break in the gusting wind.

Since the tree was some distance from the camera, I had Ruth examine the crucial branches of the tree with the binoculars we take with us on these photo trips (for just this purpose). We waited and waited and after several false starts (with the darkslide pulled, then reinserted) I was able to make this single exposure after an hour’s wait. While it was only a two second exposure, the Oak tree itself was calm (a testimony to Ruth’s eagle eye!) but you can see the wild movement of an orange tree behind it at the top of the image.

I titled the image “Stormy Red Oak” not only because it was a stormy day but because the shapes of the tree and branches reminded me of a thunderhead and forked lightning. While the colors are somewhat subdued, the shapes and feeling of the image is quite powerful to me, reminding me of the times I’ve stood in awe at the power of the forces and storms of nature.

Format: Large (horizontal)
Location: Virginia
Reference key: sro