East Bay Redwood Park, a photo essay
I enjoyed a brief walk on the main trail which circumnavigates East Bay Redwood Park, Oakland, California, from the Skyline drive staging lot to the Chabot Space & Science Center.

Along the path I stopped to take a few photos (above). In the following I share some of my thoughts for why I captured these, and how they affect me. All were shot on a Nikon D50 with a Nikon 18-55 lens.

In general, the overcast sky between 3 and 5 pm was ideal, presenting limited shadows and an even, ambient light which encouraged the colors to pop. All photos were altered in post, mostly to remove some blue in order to present the photos more as they appeared to me.

moss-2 and 3: I never tire of photographing moss. It doesn’t try to run away. Moss presents a rich texture often wrapped around a surface, offering a dynamic color gradient. The right-most of the two shots is turned -90 degrees as I really like how the dark background sits heavy over the green, as though the two are in battle for the light.

cone: I found this still-life composition along the trail. I knelt in the wet needles and mud and shot this for nearly ten minutes until I felt I had found the right distance and angle. I enjoy the contrast of the texture of the three media: lichen, needles, and pine cone. The color was enhanced a bit beyond that which I perceived on the trail, my effort to reveal the hidden reds which are otherwise lost in what we too readily refer to as a green arena.

bear: Hey, it looks like a bear’s face. I couldn’t help myself :)

flowering: These flowers are just now popping, maybe one in twenty. Very complex structures up close, which work to remind me how much of high school life sciences I have forgotten. To say I recall more than the word “stamen” would be a lie. But what I intended, and did capture, is a very limited amount of material in focus against a backdrop of artifacts created by a short focal length (4.5fs, 30/s, ISO 800).

exposed, fallen-1 … 3: In these three shots I found varying degrees of tree “flesh”. The left-most “exposed” is a healthy, living tree whose bark has peeled back, revealing the hard wood beneath. But it appears to have oosed from some incredible pressure, and if it were not wood, should be soft and gooey.

The middle two are a portion of a massive tree which fell quite recently. Both of these reveal a very vulnerable yet living tissue, the meat of the monster which seems too large, too strong to have toppled. While I have walked passed, climbed on, even climbed into many fallen trees, it never quite feels right. I am reminded that we will all fall, and could fall any day–young, healthy, and vibrant.

“fallen-2” is the most interesting to me for had I simply shown this to you, without explanation, would you know it was wood?

The right-most (fallen-3) is from a place just below and to the left of where the trunk snapped and split, the bark nearly meeting the exposed flesh. It is rich in color and contrast, the overlapping plates of bark a barrier to so many potential attacks, but not against gravity. Gravity always prevails victorious.

leaves and leaf: Two very different kind of leaf structures. One nearly silver and flat; the other dynamic, flawed, and in a state of change. It seemed that if I held the leaf for just a few minutes more I would witness its further decay or spontaneous combustion into brilliant flame.