The Cottonwood Tree at Lake Henshaw is a well-known subject to the followers of this site and my photography. And while I do feel right now that I’ve somewhat exhausted the subject, there are certain sides to it, and photography in general, that are very well worth mentioning and showing.

Photography is said to be “the art of leaving things away” – because unlike a painter, who only adds to the image whatever she or he wants to add, photographers have to remove everything from the frame that should not be part of the photograph. Which leads to one of the most fundamental rules of photographic composition: everything that is in the frame becomes part of the photograph. I wish I would have learned and absorbed that one sooner.

Here is a “behind the scenes” photo which shows a reality that is not visible in my “typical” photographs of the tree and scenery:

Unseen -- Lake Henshaw, Warner Springs, California, United States
Unseen — Cottonwood at Lake Henshaw, Warner Springs, CA. July 2014.

The tree is right along Highway 76, close to its eastern terminus, where it meets Highway 79. You see that there’s a fence that blocks access to the pasture from the road for humans, and access to the road from the pasture for the cows. It’s a single lane road and cars are passing by that tree all the time. It can be busy. In the winter, countless RVs head out to the desert that way on Thursday or Friday, and return on Sunday afternoon.

Yet you see none of that in my photos of that tree. And whenever you look at a photograph, any photograph, just remember this: most things remain unseen.

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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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