Sunday, July 22, 2012

Exploring point of view

The assignment is to pick a subject and go beyond the usual point of view. It's true in photography (as in life) that we do have al habitual point of view.  Mine does vary depending on the subject but often I'm looking straight at something or else close up to it at eye level.

For this exercise I chose the huge arbutus tree in my front yard as my subject.  It's an old giant of a tree, probably well over 100 feet in height and I see it every morning from my bedroom window.  In fact I've taken a good many photographs of this tree over the years as I'm often drawn to the gorgeous colour of sunlight on its branches.  Here's the standard POV; it's pretty much what I see out the window. (Yes it's just one tree.)

But this time I was looking for some other ways to capture the tree.  The light wasn't exceptional but I headed out and took about 100 photos trying to push the point-of-view envelope.

The first thing I did was cross the road to shoot from a new angle. I found this point of view somewhat alarming, as it shows just how huge this tree is compared to our little house.  Occasionally we wonder what it would be like to have this tree come down across our roof or driveway.  You can see that we wouldn't stand a chance!

Looking up into the branches from this side gave some nice results with a cedar tree in the background.  

This one shows the  beautiful orange and green undertones of the smooth bark and the one below shows the contrast with rough shagginess of the peeling bark.  

Then I went in closer, leaning up against the trunk and looking straight up into the branches.  I like the way this shows both the ivy on the trunk and leafy branch far above.

And this misty shot really shows that is it a forest giant.

Finally I did some macros of the bark and other details.  I'm not sure why I've never thought to do this before.

I thought I'd finished my exploration of the points of view yesterday but just after I pulled this post together this morning we took the dogs out and on the way back I took another look at the tree.... and had to run in to get my camera.  The sun was showing more of the gorgeous red and yellow tones and I was seeing it in an entirely new way, yet again.

This time I took fifty shots and I really feel that I got into the spirit of this incredible tree.
Here are my favourites:  Two looking way up...

Two quite sharp macros showing the peeling bark....

And this one showing the lovely shading and colours in the smooth bark with the bonus leaf shadows.

I think that this morning's discoveries wouldn't have happened without my spending an hour with the tree yesterday.  Amazing how it builds and builds.


  1. What an amazing tree. It has such variation of textures, colors, and moods with the different light. A great discovery for a person who loved the tree anyway and found new ways to appreciate her. It looks like it comes from a prehistoric savannah. Are you in Australia?

    1. Not in Australia. I live on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada. The arbutus tree is native to this area and coastal Washington and Oregon.

  2. Wow, firstly, how big is that tree??????
    You house is certainly dwarfed by it. I like the composition of pic 3, I love the detail and texture of pic 5 and the perspective and angle of pic 12. The macro peeling paint bark is just lovely. Thanks for sharing your view. What a beautiful and powerful tree to befriend.

  3. The hour you spent learning to see the tree will result in many more images in the future, I have no doubt. Now that you "see" it, you'll see all sorts of variations. Just think, whenever you are in need of some inspiration, you can just walk out your front door! It's a gorgeous tree - the colors and textures - and I love how you found so many interesting points of view. A great result to this exercise. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  4. Your pictures are amazing! It just goes to show how often we look but don't really see. It's fascinating how an exercise such as this gets you to focus in on the details that you've previously been unaware of. Wonderful!

  5. It boggles my mind that you have such a majestic giant tree right outside your house! How wondrous! Your series really captures so many aspects of its beauty and strength. What a symbol of longevity. I particularly like the third, the 5th, the 12th and the last pics, but they are all wonderful to look at and appreciate.


  6. I like your topic very well and be so close to home. super. Here you will often beautiful images follow, autumn, winter, spring, near, far, because what makes light a big difference, that the seasons have to do much more. Or do you not have such pronounced seasons? I like the pictures in any case very beautiful, especially the close-ups of the bark. Thank you for making this little piece of your garden shared with us.