Landscape Photography
of James L. Snyder

Fallen Oak at Sunset
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Fallen Oak at Sunset
Linhof Master Technika 2000 camera, 75mm Rodenstock Grandagon-N f/6.8 lens, center filter, Fujicolor Pro 160S film, 55 megapixels
All Images ©Copyright 2010 James L. Snyder. All Rights Reserved

Fallen Oak at Sunset

Los Huecos Trail, Joseph D. Grant County Park, Santa Clara County, CA, 2/25/2008

This photograph is a testimonial to the benefits of anticipation and preparation. With the slow-moving large format camera equipment I use, I'm much better off when I can predict and wait for a situation, rather than react to one that is already unfolding. On this winter day I had hiked up into the foothills above Halls Valley, east of San Jose, CA, and was now heading back down along Los Huecos (The Hollow) Trail in Joseph D. Grant County Park. I stopped here and noticed this unusual composition at a moment when the lighting was flat and lifeless. The sun was blocked by clouds, but I could see that it might emerge below them in a few minutes before finally setting behind the mountains to the west. Optimistically, I set up my camera for the photograph and waited. Everything cooperated according to plan as the scene became painted in artist's light! Unlike the lighting that preceded this moment, the fallen oak tree is not lifeless at all, but merely dormant; I returned here a few months later to see it covered with new leaves. Apparently the tree fell many years ago when it was young, and has lived like this ever since! Pacific or oak mistletoe (Phoradendron villosum) can be seen growing in the tree's outer branches. Pacific mistletoe is native to western North America from Oregon south into Mexico, where it grows in oak woodland, and is a parasitic plant on host trees, especially oaks.

Fallen Oak at Sunset

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