Landscape Photography
of James L. Snyder

The Hills Beyond
Click Image to Close
The Hills Beyond
Linhof Master Technika 2000 camera, 150mm Schneider Symmar-S f/5.6 lens, Fujicolor Pro 160S film, 98 megapixels
All Images ©Copyright 2010 James L. Snyder. All Rights Reserved

The Hills Beyond

CaƱada de Pala Trail by Los Huecos Trail, Joseph D. Grant County Park, Santa Clara County, CA, 3/19/2014

Late one afternoon just before the start of spring I hiked up a remote hill to my favorite oak tree, sat beneath its enormous spreading branches, and watched the sun set. This is a 100 feet tall Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) that has grown undisturbed here for centuries. There's something comforting about the shelter a venerable tree provides, whether it be shade from the hot afternoon sun, or just a peaceful place to rest while admiring the landscape. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described the sanctuary of giant oaks in his Tales Of A Wayside Inn: "A region of repose it seems, a place of slumber and of dreams, remote among the wooded hills! For there no noisy railway speeds, its torch-race scattering smoke and gleeds; but noon and night, the panting teams stop under the great oaks, that throw tangles of light and shade below". In the year 1861, William Henry Brewer, the chief botanist for the first California Geological Survey wrote of the Valley Oaks he encountered: "First I passed through a wild canyon, then over hills covered with oats, with here and there trees -- oaks and pines. Some of these oaks were noble ones indeed. How I wish one stood in our yard at home.... I measured one with wide spreading and cragged branches, that was 26.5 feet in circumference. Another had a diameter of over six feet, and the branches spread over 75 feet each way. I lay beneath its shade a little while before going on". I felt so safe by this grand oak, but the faraway hills beckoned. As I enjoyed the sunset from this idyllic spot I considered parallels with the course of a lifetime. Eventually we are all confronted with a choice between the near and the distant, the familiar and the unknown, certainty and mystery, the actual and the possible. When evening finally descended, I packed my camera gear and walked off into the hills beyond.

The Hills Beyond

Select Print Size:
Select Paper Finish: