June 02, 2009

Photo of the Week: June 2, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: The giant Mt. Tavor Oaks at Horshat Tal (grove of dew) in the Galilee are about as close as I can come in Israel to the towering Redwood trees of my youth in Northern California. As straight and strong as are the Redwoods, the Oaks are wild and gnarled, unpredictable in their growth patterns and a continuous maze of photographic discovery. A friend of mine remarked to me after a recent visit to Muir Woods near San Francisco, that he found the Redwoods, among the most revered trees on the planet, boring in their uniformity, despite their enormity. He told me he prefers Israeli trees like the Olive and these Oaks, each of which seems to possess its own individual character, perhaps like Israelis.

The photographer can represent trees in their multitude, such as in last week's photo, or as nearly unidentifiable abstractions. This image appeals to me because the more abstract approach invites the viewer to let his or her imagination journey into the vast web of thought and emotion that the natural world evokes. The composition is built around the thick, curling branches, which bend and twist with a graceful asymmetry. Because my camera was pointed nearly straight up at the sky, the trunks curl inward as a result of parallax distortion and create the feeling of a spiraling funnel pulling the eye into the depth of the photo and the mind, perhaps, toward some forgotten memory.