Friday, May 29, 2015


Trees.  I've noticed that the last several years I have taken more photos of them than ever.

I have a series I did while visiting North Carolina.  I love the series.

I have photos of trees from Sacramento Delta (see right), from car windows buzzing along California highways (see below), trees in my neighborhood, trees looking up from my hammock, trees along the agricultural fields in our region.

Photographing trees has been elusive for me.  I try a lot of different shots.  The tree photo I posted two days ago has received rave reviews and while I am happy that people are responding so positively, I have no idea why some pictures grab people and others don't.  The tree photo on the right is one that I love.  It's haunting.  It has never received a response, however.  Go figure.

This photo (left) was shot from the car at 55 mph.  I received positive input.  I think it is haunting as well.  It's taken with my iPhone for crying out loud.  (The best camera is the one you have with you.)

In the midst of our record drought, some farmers are bulldozing entire orchards, while others are planting new almonds and citrus.  Really?  Now?  Seriously?  An enormous new orchard went in quite near us.  It seems insane.  Do they know something the rest of us don't? Maybe, just maybe, they are stupid and reckless.

Here I am last year on the bottom of Folsom Lake             

Last year we went to photograph Folsom Lake, which is a major source of water and recreation in our area.  It was a flippin' moon scape.  That was before news of the drought was a blip on anyone's radar (at least the media didn't cover it nor the state government make a big deal out of it.) 

I worry about our trees.  I think of Lebanon and how it used to be a green forest.  Of course, countless civilizations harvested the prized Cedar.  Did you know that in In 1998, the Cedars of God (remaining forest on Mt. Lebanon) were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites?

Hang in there, Trees of California.  I'm rooting for ya.  And a special tip o' my hat to my giant Cedar in the front yard.


  1. I do love your tree photographs. And the black and white makes them all the more wonderful.

    So curious about the new orchards, especially the almond ones. I know how much water it takes to produce them and that there is such a surplus that most of the crop is sent to China. Using your water. Do they get a government subsidy for growing almonds? If so that should stop.

    We're losing beloved trees here, not from drought but from a little foreign bug which is systematically killing the North Carolina hemlocks. Oh, so tragic and such a negative impact on the environment.

    1. sorry to hear that. I used to live in the Monterey Bay area of California and we lost many evergreens to a mold. it was unstoppable and all we could do was to cut down the sick trees.

  2. Lovely photos!

    In our area, we've lost a lot of native pines to beetles the past decade or so. There were 3 grand old ladies in our yard, probably 80 feet and the stumps about 2 feet across -- but once they start turning brown, it's all over. The native trees at least are adapted to periods of drought; but not so much the beetle infestations.

    It seems crazy to be starting new orchards just now. From a quick search, it doesn't look like almond growers get direct subsidies -- but they do get subsidies for crop insurance, assuming they prove they have undertaken water conservation measures. Which I guess is something; but it is still spending scarce water to irrigate a crop of which there seems to be plenty. I don't think "market forces" are enough to fix the problem of allocating the limited supply of water.

  3. Your tree photos are beautiful, tara. Reminding us to love and protect our forests.

  4. Something on water use:

    1. great article. reminds me of Diet for a Small Planet, in which the author successfully argues that raising meat (especially beef) is an environmental hazard. I went vegetarian for many years after reading that. I eat beef now, and I'm not entirely comfortable with that. I'm slowly weaning myself. Not sustainable, is it?

    2. I'm trying for moderation, meat-wise. A few tasty morsels instead of the slab. (Which is something that ticks me off about restaurants, that in so many instances, there is no "tasty morsels on the side" option.)

  5. Tara, how exciting a photo book. Is it possible to buy one directly from you? So you can inscribe It. Also, I am just about to publish a book of poetry and am interested in taking it to the next level---internet (inspired by you). Still here at: karmanot(at)g(mail)(dot)(com). xxxooo M