Posted: 05/02/2019

This is one of those images that, overall,  I generally like, but not sure it would fall into the 'portfolio worthy' class. I post it here partially because I did think it nice enough to share, but more importantly, it was inspired by one of my favorite Ansel Adams shots...his being one of Aspens in New Mexico (if memory serves). 

While this is not remotely in that class, the Adams shot  was the very first thing that popped into my head when I spotted this group of sycamore trees at the Shaw Nature Reserve in Eureka, MO (USA). While the predominant trees in this area are various varieties of oaks, sycamores are not all that uncommon and  occasional groupings of them can be seen in places. And though sycamores are not, to my taste, generally a very interesting species of tree, they do have one redeeming quality for photographers in that it's not uncommon for them to have something of a whitewashed sort of look to their trunk if/when their bark peels off...which seems to occur with some regularity around these parts. 

I had actually spotted this group last fall prior to the leaves falling off the trees. But even though they stood out just enough to catch my eye at the time, I knew it was a scene that would be most advantageously captured after the leaves fell. And at the time, I'd really hoped for the possibility of being lucky enough to have some whipped cream and a cherry tossed on for good measure if I could capture the image when there was snow on the ground. And I did make a run out to the Reserve a day or so after a 3-4" snow lightly covered the area. But alas, the Reserve chose to close off this portion of its grounds to vehicle traffic with that carpet of white stuff on the ground. Disappointing, it was. But given the 'road' into this part of the reserve barely qualifies as a gravel road, I fully understand why they chose to do so. It gets enough traffic on it when the weather is nice and the ground dry. In the wet snowy conditions, I'm sure it wouldn't take but a couple goofballs to start creating some serious ruts in that road.

So, in the end, I wound up returning a couple weeks later in January and captured what you see here. And the significance of the Adams aspen shot coming immediately to mind was not lost on me...even back last fall when the scene initially caught my attention. I hadn't seen Adams' shot in years, yet it came immediately to mind upon initial sighting.   Clearly it had made a significant impression on me at a point in time that seems a couple lifetimes ago now. I'd say that's some pretty impressive inspiration!  

Should you care to leave a Comment...

  • RJ Wilner

    on May 10, 2019

    Many thanks, Jim. In this instance, the 'instant recall' of Adams' shot seemed a more noteworthy takeaway than the making of my own image. Pretty amazing to me how it had stuck with me all these years!

  • Jim Denham Photo

    on May 10, 2019

    That shot is indeed iconic and I've thought of it a few times in my travels, as well. With that said, I really like this shot RJ. Love the lines and the processing is great! Well done!

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