Landscape Photography
of James L. Snyder

The Grandest Oak, Late Afternoon
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The Grandest Oak, Late Afternoon
Linhof Master Technika 2000 camera, 75mm Rodenstock Grandagon-N f/6.8 lens, center filter, Fujicolor Pro 160S film, 54 megapixels
All Images ©Copyright 2010 James L. Snyder. All Rights Reserved

The Grandest Oak, Late Afternoon

CaƱada de Pala Trail by Los Huecos Trail, Joseph D. Grant County Park, Santa Clara County, CA, 2/20/2008

This is the largest and grandest oak tree known to me. Its trunk is six feet wide near the base and its height is about 90 feet. Looking north northwest in mid winter we see the oak dormant in all its gnarled intricate glory! For centuries the tree has thrived atop a tall remote hill, which is now part of Joseph D. Grant County Park near San Jose, CA. Few visitors venture this high (2,610 feet above sea level) and far from the park's entrance, and so the tree continues to safely enjoy its solitude. I had admired this grand old oak on several occasions but waited until this beautiful winter afternoon to make photographic portraits of the tree under my favorite kind of sky. Grant Park is home to both grassland and oak-woodland communities, typical of much of California. The oak community here includes such species as the Blue, Black, Live, and Valley Oaks. This grandest oak is likely Quercus lobata, commonly called a Valley Oak. The sturdy trunk of a Valley Oak may exceed six to nine feet in diameter and its stature may surpass 98 feet in height. The branches have an irregular, spreading, and arching appearance that produces a profound leafless silhouette against the winter sky.

The Grandest Oak, Late Afternoon

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