I enjoy participating in the Photo Friday challenges. Last year I balked at the Self-Portrait 2010 assignment (Ugh!) and ended up not joining in any of the remaining challenges for the rest of the year. This year I plan to participate every week, if possible.
Friday's assignment for this week is Trees. My first thought was Trees? In January? How boring - unless they're covered in ice or snow! I started trying to think of tree pictures I've taken in the past: last year's February snow; spring blossoms; crepe myrtles in full color; reds, golds, and oranges of fall. Then I realized it's called a challenge for a reason. Taking beautiful pictures of trees is easy when they're full and beautiful. It's when they're hanging onto to dead brown leaves or completely bare that they're more difficult to photograph well.
Looking at it that way has changed the way I look at trees now. When I was driving home late Friday afternoon, the sun low in the sky behind me, I noticed the play of light and shadows on the trunks and branches and thought what beautiful black & white photos that would make. Then I noticed how the afternoon sun brought out the different shades of dark green in the cedar trees that are prevalent here. For the entire 25-minute ride to the boys' basketball games Saturday, I looked at the trees along the way instead of reading my book. I noticed how the morning light, like that in the late afternoon, highlighted portions of the trunks and branches and left other parts in deep shadow. I saw reflections of trees in pools of water and small ponds.
Then I realized what I want my representation of Trees for this Photo Friday challenge to be. It will take more effort on my part than just stepping outside and taking pictures in my yard. It will require me to search for just the right tree in just the right location at just the right time - and in just the right conditions. I have a few days left. Stay tuned.