Friday, June 14, 2013

"The Giving Tree" -- photo from Russian Ridge Open Space, California

"The Giving Tree"

This is the first photograph I've presented that was taken with my brand new camera (Canon 6D). When deciding where to go for the inaugural photoshoot, there was really no choice at all.  Russian Ridge Open Space has been my favorite place to photograph for almost the entirety of my time in California.  I never grow tired of it.  In particular, this specific trail and this specific group of trees.  This tree, or those around it, have been featured in many of my photographs. They have given me an immeasurable amount of joy over the years.  That, more than anything, has motivated the title of this photograph.
Russian Ridge is much like other patches of chaparral in Northern California in that when summer rolls around, the gentle hillsides dry and turn bright gold. The sight of it feels like something out of an afterlife – pure paradise. The reality, however, is not so kind. The grass is nearly knee high, and not soft at all. The spikelets have spent the last 10,000 years evolving into perfect jean-penetrating, ankle-scraping machines. And sometimes, they also hide lustful ticks hoping for a free ride.

But under this precious California Buckeye tree, the friendly grass of spring had lingered longer. Once I got under, the way the soft blades caressed my raw ankles the way a welcomed change. The shade this tree offered from the piercing summer sun was another welcomed respite , and the flora seemed to agree. Look closely and you may even find a few wildflowers persisting way past their due.

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