Landscape Photography
of James L. Snyder

Majestic Oak at Sunset
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Majestic Oak at Sunset
Linhof Master Technika 2000 camera, 300mm Nikkor-M f/9 lens, polarizer, Fujicolor Pro 160S film, 2 exposures, 133 megapixels
All Images ©Copyright 2010 James L. Snyder. All Rights Reserved

Majestic Oak at Sunset

Yerba Buena Trail, Joseph D. Grant County Park, Santa Clara County, CA, 4/14/2012

I'll never be able to look at this photograph without remembering the wild boar who came galloping down the hill to my left just as I was about to trip the shutter! I heard a strange noise and turned to see what resembled a small black buffalo staring back at me. Those things are powerful and scary looking and I felt an immediate visceral reaction to its unexpected appearance. I waved my arms in the air and made loud growling sounds, just in case the animal mistakenly imagined I wanted it to come closer so I could pet it. My antics worked and it ran away; apparently I looked even uglier to the boar than it did to me! I did my best to regain my composure and made the two exposures that comprise this photograph. I was still shaken, however, and ruined a sheet of film and injured my hand in my haste to get back to the car. Joseph Grant County Park - especially this wildlife sanctuary section - gets a little spooky at nightfall as its nocturnal beasts begin roaming the hills. I don't know where these creatures hole up during the day, but they certainly come out of hiding as the sun sets. Wild boars aren't the only natives to be wary of; mountain lions also live here. From Yerba Buena Trail I spotted this graceful and mostly dormant oak tree situated at the edge of a hilltop, and I was drawn to the elegant simplicity of the composition. Since the sun was just above the mountains to the west, the illumination was perfectly horizontal side-lighting and I needed to move quickly if I were to capture the scene before sunset. Despite my being spooked by the wild boar, the photograph turned out exactly as I hoped for. The landscape here with grasslands and majestic oak trees is characteristic of the east foothills of Santa Clara Valley. The oak-woodland community at Grant Park is typical of California and includes such species as the Blue, Black, Live, and Valley Oaks. Oak trees provide breeding habitat and food for over 32 species of birds and 39 species of mammals. This habitat is so unique and important to wildlife that its protection is essential. In the distance at far right across Halls Valley with an elevation of 2,502 feet above sea level is Mt. Misery.

Majestic Oak at Sunset

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