Two Survivors

While hiking the Indian Creek/Filaree Flats loop up at Laguna Mountains I noticed these two trees. They are Live Oaks, and both are regrowing after being severely burned by wildfire. They survived. They also survived my culling when I imported my photos from that hike, despite the fact that they were made in the most horrible light (clear blue sky, early afternoon) that one can imagine (as a photographer).

I’ve kept them and I’m showing them here because I think it is important to preserve our sense of wonder and curiosity, our astonishment and fascination with the subjects we’re photographing. These two trees are remarkable because they’re still alive, and you can see that they were really totally burned by their pale white and ghostish, bone-like old limbs. I found the incredible power of nature worth documenting.

We cannot always find the subjects that we wish to photograph in the best conditions – and if we don’t, we should not stop from making our photo(s), just because they won’t match the expectations of the general public or a specific audience (that expects landscape photos to have some kind of “look” to them from the time of day, conditions, and whatnot).

We cannot develop true vision if we decide to follow and abide by what we think has been inflicted upon us. And I think especially with landscape photography, it is all to easy to get lost in the highly stylistic, idealized look that the genre often bears.

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All images and content © by Alexander S. Kunz, unless otherwise noted. No re-use without express written permission. Most images are available as prints and for commercial licensing. Please contact me if you’re interested. Prints and licensed images are NOT watermarked, of course.

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