|One of many shapes of a red mangrove.|
And we nature photographers clamor to capture the lone tree image. Lone tree photos are so popular that there is at least one lone tree in the world that has reached star fame and that is the willow tree on Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.
|Lake Wanaka's famous willow tree, by Justin Black.|
|Everglades Z tree, by Q T Luong|
I mostly photograph red mangrove trees, because, well they are everywhere. When out there photographing, I often notice floating in the water the seedlings that one day take root and grow, both vertically and horizontally. I have observed over time a tiny knee-high mangrove grow to eye level. I have photographed the remains of 50-ft tall mangroves killed by a hurricane storm surge. I have watched the survivors make a come back. And I have watched survivors deteriorate from repeated storm attacks until they finally succumb, and we are left with only a paltry reminder of what once was. The trees are the essence of the Everglades and to me, they are the most beautiful trees in the world. I guess that is why I photograph them. And I go for those lone trees as much as the next photographer.
|This little red mangrove will grow by reaching out its roots.|
|A clinical psychologist purchased my print to hang in her office thinking it would benefit her patients' recovery.|
|An independent red mangrove stands out from the crowd.|
But from an artistic view, there may be something else going on. I asked a photojournalist friend why lone trees are so appealing as art. She thinks its because it represents simplicity and beauty, and many people crave that in their busy lives. This makes sense to me as it becomes increasingly difficult to live simple lives. So we go to nature to relieve our stress and to simplify our life, if only for a short period of time. And for so many of us it seems, art is the only accessible means of capturing a glimpse of nature's simplicity. And the lone tree does not disappoint. The lone tree illustrates beauty in form surrounded by negative space. It stands alone, stalwart and as a true testament to the passage of time. It represents something that was there long before we discovered it and will be there long after we leave. I think our minds (or hearts) crave that comforting connection.
|Much evidence that this tree survives the continual onslaught of tides and storms.|
The lone tree, no matter what condition it is in reminds us that strength carries us through weathered storms and with the right amount of resolve we are always left standing, sometimes beaten down but still supported by our roots.
On second thought, maybe it isn't about us at all. Maybe a lone tree is just a gentle reminder of nature's existence somewhere out there in the world. Period. Whatever it is, it works.
|A hurricane survivor stands alone.|