Aged by elements

Sunset Ridge Trail. Mount Mansfield, About 3/4 of the way to the top. Underhill State Park. Underhill, Vermont

I really do love these old, gnarled trees as photography subjects. I admire their tenacity in surviving such a harsh environment like this one on the open slope of Vermont’s highest mountain. Their character, texture and color are all amazing but to me they add a certain something when combined with the surrounding environment. This old tree gets blasted by some really harsh weather and yet year after year it is always here, A guard standing watch of sorts.

This particular tree is right about at the end of the treeline on Mount Mansfield about 3/4 of the way to the top. I just happened to turn around to check out the view here and this tree really popped out of the scenery. I was lucky enough to have this bank of clouds rolling through the area to add some interest to the image. From this point you can see all of Mount Mansfield and the Champlain Valley all the way to Lake Champlain and Burlington where I live. I could use some feedback on this one…I really liked the composition here but I wasn’t sure if there was any drama or anything compelling about this image.




7 thoughts on “Aged by elements

  1. I find shots like this really interesting too but they’re always a challenge for me. Finding the right balance between the land, the sky and subject can be tricky given the terrain.

    I love the sky with that huge cloud but the bottom third of the tree seems to disappear a bit into the surrounding scrub. A lower a shooting angle here could help create a more powerful statement but I know that’s not always possible in these areas. On the processing side, a higher key b/w conversion may create additional contrast in the foreground and pull the tree out.

    Hopefully, Aaron B. will stop by and give us both some pointers!

    • Thanks for the comments Curt….I agree with you. I did try a b/w conversion but I just couldn’t get the green areas looking like I wanted so I went with color instead. It just wasn’t working right. If I remember correctly(I shot this over a month ago) I went with the higher angle because a lower one would have made the mountains and lake in the background disappear, I really wanted to try to capture the tree and horizon together. The spot I was shooting in was rather tight, Not much room to move around and I was trying to be careful of the vegetation. The landscape is really fragile up there so I try to be respectful about where and how I place my tripod. Thanks for offering your opinion…I was curious what someone else may think about that image.

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