Monday, February 2, 2015 Jim Terry

Anyone know who Ansel Adams is?  Over the years, I have been astounded by his presentation and production of several diverse landscapes.  He has taken us on adventures that span from the great El Capitan in Yosemite, to the majestic Grand Tetons, to the vast expanses of an open meadow only to eventually end up next to a simple rock formation enhanced with the silhouette of a dead tree.  Upon further evaluation of his work, I am always surprised by his aptitude to always somehow capture the most amazing highlights and shadows in his photography. 

Just the other day I had the opportunity to take a hike.  I’m not sure how you all feel about hiking, but for me, it’s like catnip is to a cat.  Each and every time I approach a trailhead to head up a mountain, hike along the coast or take a simple stroll through a tree lined path, there is always a feeling of elation and excitement as I place my foot on the path or trail and take my first step towards my new adventure.  Part of my excitement comes not only from my love of being in and experiencing nature but also from my love of photography. Even as a young boy NO ONE, and I do mean NO ONE or NOTHING, was safe from the 110 speed film lens from the great “wanna be” young Ansel...ME!  

One of my favorite trails that I hike on a regular basis is located about two miles up the road from where I work.  It can be found in San Pedro County Park.  As you walk up the path that enters into the park, you will see the small entrance booth that the park rangers frequent and a small visitors center located off in the distance. Walking further into the park and up the path, you become awestruck due to the presence of a huge redwood tree just adjacent to the path.  And while taking in this amazing God given structure while feeling and seeing a gentle breeze move the limbs and the fernlike “leaves” of this 200’ tree, you hear a disturbance just off in the distance.  Upon further examination, you notice that this noise you once thought was a disruption is anything but that…a small stream that gently crawls and babbles its way along the rocks and the edges of a small ravine that holds its course becomes anything but an annoyance.

Looking further up the path you notice a small bridge that leads you to the beginning of the trailhead for the Hazelnut trail.  I would say it’s easily a moderate intensity climb with a total loop length of 4.6 miles and an elevation change of 900’ up and 900’ back down to the bottom of the valley.  And not to give you too many details on this hike so I don’t bore you, but never in my day with all the hikes I have completed have I EVER SEEN an entrance to a path as breathtaking as this one.

Just after you pass over the small bridge you are once again blown away by two of the BIGGEST oak trees I have ever seen.  I have taken several photos of these trees over the years but have never captured their beauty, their grandeur or their majesty…until NOW!  With this picture I am sharing with you today, I couldn’t help but to notice the amazing coloration of the ferns, the poison oak, the small plants that decorate the foreground or the moss that gently rests upon the limbs and the trunk of this remarkable tree.  

I was contemplating and trying to think of “WHY”—this time at least—this photo worked for me?  Upon further inspection of this photo, I believe that what really makes this photo work is the contrast and the shadows contained within it.  They simply define the edges of the trunk, the limbs, the moss, the sky, the individual leaves of each fern and just simply make everything unique and exceptional…Isn’t it interesting how something as simple as a small shadow can make things better or worse? 

So in following the great Ansel’s true form of media, I am providing a color and a black and white photo of today’s picture. Which one do you like better?...Suggestions?...Oh and speaking of shadows and how a SMALL shadow can make or break a setting or a situation and make a BIG difference…what’s Punxsutawney Phil saying where you are at today?  I hope it’s only good news for those of you who are hoping for the beginning of an early spring.   HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!

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