Brooks Jensen Arts

Winter Trees

The rhythm of the seasons is as predictable as, well, sunrise. But, every year we are amazed by spring, find joy in summer, pause in fall, and reflect in winter. Each season has its magical mood, its magical light. For a photographer, winter is wonderful for the angular light and the open candor of the forest and the winter trees.

I suppose it is a rare photographer who has worked in the landscape but not photographed winter trees. They are irresistable! For me, it’s an annual rite of passage, an excuse to get out into the crisp, clean air, to see the essence of the forest before the green returns, and to look forward to the coming changes that will arrive with spring.

The idea for a series of annual folios celebrating winter trees has been with me for a long, long time — since my earliest days in photography. At long last, the series is underway.


Winter Trees Folios VII

The skeletal complexity of winter trees is one of their primary characteristics — one that I could stare at for hours on end. One that I have stared at for hours on end. Tendrils, veins, pathways, neurons, delta patterns, roots. Not one single straight line anywhere.

The Winter Trees VII folio includes five warm-toned images printed on glossy paper.

Winter Trees IV

Winter Trees Folios IV, V, and VI

The idea for a series of folios celebrating winter trees had been with me for a long, long time — since my earliest days in photography. At long last, in 2008, the series commenced. My intention was to produce one folio each year.

This year, Boreas (the Greek God of Winter) must have been feeling particularly spry. These three folios were photographed and produced from a singular and spectacular storm the morning of February 23, 2011.

I awoke at 5am to a dark, heavy rain. An hour later, the cold had descended. Snowflakes started piling up more rapidly than I'd ever seen in my life. For a fellow born in Wyoming, this is saying something. Another hour and dawn arrived. Whatever plans I had for the day were postponed and in just a few minutes I was out in the falling snow, camera in hand.

Causland Memorial Park occupies a one-block square not far from the center of our small town. Its varied and numerous trees gathered the large snowflakes for a brief pause on their way earthbound. Atop each and every limb and twig an outline of white grew, poised, balancing, waiting. Mid-morning arrived with a stiff winter wind. The snow crystals first blew off the twigs, then the branches, then the limbs. Each gust created a burst of cascading snow, driven down in small avalanches.

By late afternoon, it was over and the winter trees were once again black outlines against a grey sky.

The Winter Trees IV folio includes five split-toned, horizontal images

The Winter Trees V folio includes five split-toned, vertical images

The Winter Trees VI folio includes five color images

A single, unified PDF monograph is available for free download here in both Adobe Reader format and iPad format.

 

Winter Trees IV
Winter Trees IV

Winter Trees III

Winter Trees III

For a photographer, winter is wonderful for the angular light and the open candor of the forest and the winter trees. All five images in this folio were photographed in a single day following a heavy winter storm in December of 2008.


Winter Trees II

Winter Trees II

The images in this folio were photographed on a single, glorious day of sun and snow, in March of 2008. A bright, clear sun, perfectly muted by high thin clouds, a sparkling, snow-covered landscape, dry pavement, a warm breeze, and no schedule nor obligations. I poked along down Highway 395 from Pendleton to Burns, Oregon and drank it in, a refreshment that only such light, landscape, and fresh desert and mountain air can provide.


Winter Trees I

Winter Trees I

This first winter trees folio was begun and almost completed in the fall of 2007, but not released until April of 2008. It lay dormant all winter, waiting for me to find the time to finish it — an approprite metaphor, I suppose.